Richard Cobb Thum

Lieutenant (junior grade)
United States Navy
02 June 1942 - 25 November 1968
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Panel 38W Line 062



Naval Flight Officer

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

The database page for Richard Cobb Thum

17 Nov 2004

LTJG Richard Thum was my Division Officer. He was the RAN for CDR Ernest Stamm. On November 25, 1968, I was on duty in the Squadron Ready Room. We were informed that CDR Stamm and LTJG Thum had been shot down. We all stared in silence at the Flight Deck monitors hoping that this report was in error. Their loss had a tremendous impact on the entire Squadron. These were two exceptional men. I live in the Washington, D.C. area and when family and friends visit, I show them the names of CDR Stamm and LTJG Thum on the Wall. I will always remember them!

From a squadronmate,
David A. Munson

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 25 Nov 1968 an RA-5C (BuNo 149293) of RVAH-5 embarked in USS CONSTELLATION was conducting a photo recon flight along the 19th parallel in North Vietnam. The aircraft was flying at about 5500 feet and 550 knots when it was targeted by an anti-aircraft artillery site located near Van Tap, some 20 miles northwest of Vinh. The pilot jinked his aircraft to break the gunners' aim, but his F-4 escorts watched helplessly as the Vigilante exploded in flight, breaking up into four major pieces. Although two parachutes were sighted, there was no contact with the crew.

The pilot, Commander Ernest A. Stamm, was captured and reported to have died on 16 Jan 1969 of injuries received during the shoot-down. His remains were repatriated on 13 March 1974 and positively identified on 17 April 1974.

The RAN, LTJG Richard C. Thum of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, apparently did not survive the incident. His remains were repatriated on 30 Sep 1977 and positively identified on 25 Oct 1977.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009