Robert James Thomas

United States Air Force
19 December 1948 - 18 December 1972
Miami, Florida
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USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert James Thomas

07 June 2005

Father of one of the GREATEST football players and men of all time.
Welcome Home, Captain Thomas!

Placed by a fan of his son Derrick,
Joseph Palmer

From The Virtual Wall:
Captain Thomas's son Derrick Vincent Thomas, born 01 Jan 1967, played college football at the University of Alabama and professional football with the Kansas City Chiefs. Injured in an automobile accident on 18 Jan 2000, Derrick Thomas died of complications on 08 Feb 2000.

20 Mar 2007


by his wife and daughter,
Earlyne McCalister Thomas
Carmen Doryce Thomas
1221 Locust Street Suite 800, Saint Louis, Mo 63103

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The "Christmas bombing" of North Vietnam began on the night of 18/19 Dec 1972 with a total of 129 B-52 bombers directed against a number of high-value targets in and around Hanoi. The operation consisted of three waves of heavy bombers spaced several hours apart. B-52G tail number 58-0201 (340th Bomb Sqd, 72nd Strat Wing) was in the first wave and was targeted against the Yen Vien railway yard 2 miles north of Hanoi but was struck by two SA-2 surface-to-air missiles before bomb release. Three of the crewmen were able to escape the burning aircraft, but three were not:
  • LtCol Donald L. Rissi, Collinsville, IL
  • Capt Robert J. Thomas, Miami, FL
  • SMSgt Walter L. Ferguson, Detroit, MI
Their remains were repatriated on 23 August 1978.

The remaining three crewman were captured and released with the other American POWs in early 1973. They were Major Richard E. Johnson, Captain Robert G. Certain, and Captain Richard T. Simpson.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 17 Jul 2005
Last updated 08/10/2009