Miles T TanimotoCaptain
DET 1, 603RD ACS, 634TH CBT SPT GRP, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
20 July 1936 - 25 July 1966
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The database page for Miles T Tanimoto
Miles was an A-26 Douglas Invader Navigator with the First Air Commando Group, Bien Hoa in 1963. He flew the recon bird which was the only A-26 with the plexiglass nose. While flying in the Delta a round came through the plexiglass and ricocheted off of the Norden Bomb Sight which was still in place. If the round had not hit the bomb site it would have hit Miles. We were all pleased with how lucky he was. Miles had a great sense of humor. He jokingly told his pilot that if they were forced down he would just blend in with the local Asian population and the pilot would be on his own.
We served together in the First Air Commando Group. I wish that his luck had held ... he was a fine guy and he is missed.
From a comrade-in-arms,
I remember Captain Tanimoto from the Cherokee Trail exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the spring of 1966. I was just a young airman assigned to the training unit at Hurlburt Field, Fla., sent TDY as a journalist for the exercise right after my arrival there. I remember how impressed I was with his demeanor - every inch a warrior - a classic tough young Air Commando captain in fatigues and bush hat!
The Army colonel commanding the exercise complained at his staff briefing one afternoon about people stealing the toilet paper from the officers' latrine to wipe off their grease pencil charts. Bright and early the next morning, we were roused from our tents at Candor Army Airfield, the exercise headquarters, by a pair of A-26 aircraft flying over low enough the propeller blast almost knocked our tents over.
We rushed outside to watch them pull up. One A-26 did a half-roll, then started back down towards the camp area. The bomb bay doors opened, and as the aircraft levelled out, two streaks of white shot down towards the officers' latrine! We discovered later the objects were rolls of toilet paper, one which buried itself in the ground next to an officer using the facilities, the other smashing through a sheet of plywood used to elevate the "thrones" above the mud. The two A-26s then flew off to the Air Commando airfield at Camp Mackall, N.C.
We were never officially certain who the perpetrators were, but Captain Tanimoto had a really big grin on his face when he came to Candor for the afternoon briefing...
Although I knew him for less than a week, I was totally shocked a few months later when I was helping prepare the Special Air Warfare Center historical report. There was a report from the A-26 unit deployed in Thailand about the fatal accident, and it named Captain Tanimoto as one of those killed. I prayed for him then, as I pray for him now, that the Lord brought him into heaven, and handed him a new Aussie bush hat to show he was one of the best of the best...
TSgt (Ret) Paul Zimmerli
Notes from The Virtual WallAt the time of his death, Captain Tanimoto was assigned to the 603rd Air Commando Squadron, 1st Air Commando Wing, England AFB, Louisiana. The 603rd ACS was equipped with rebuilt B-26 Invaders, designated as B-26Ks. In May 1966 they were redesignated as A-26As in order to comply with Thailand's at-the-time requirement that bombers could not be based in Thailand ... which is where Detachment 1, 603rd ACS, was headed.
Det 1 arrived at Nakon Phanom RTAFB in late spring, 1966, where it was attached to the 606th ACS, and promptly began operations along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. On the night of 24/25 July 1966, Major George G. Duke and Captain Tanimoto conducted a lengthy mission along the Trail in A-26A tail number 64-17643. As they approached NKP for landing, they crashed ... probably due to fuel starvation, since the aircraft didn't burn after crashing. Both men died in the accident.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 14 Feb 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009