Name: Thomas John Beyer
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, Chu Lai AB SV
Date of Birth: 01 March 1941
Home City of Record: Fargo ND
Date of Loss: 30 July 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 152800N 1075800E (ZC195125)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident:
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
All tactical strike aircraft operating in Southeast Asia had to be under the control of a Forward Air Control (FAC), who was intimately familiar with the locale, the populous, and the tactical situation. The FAC would find the target, order up U.S. fighter/bombers from an airborne command and control center or ground based station, mark the target accurately with white phosphorus (Willy Pete) rockets, and control the operation throughout the time the planes remained on station. After the fighters had departed, the FAC stayed over the target to make a bomb damage assessment (BDA).
The FAC also had to ensure that there were no attacks on civilians, a complex problem in a war where there were no front lines and any hamlet could suddenly become part of the combat zone. A FAC needed a fighter pilot's mentality, but but was obliged to fly slow and low in such unarmed and vulnerable aircraft as the Cessna O1 Bird Dog, and the Cessna O2.
Captain Thomas J. Beyer was an O2A pilot stationed at Chu Lai Air Base, Republic of Vietnam with the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron. At 1220 hours on July 30, 1968, Beyer was assigned a visual reconnaissance/forward air controller mission over South Vietnam.
A routine radio transmission was received from Beyer at 1345 hours at which time his position was about 40 miles WNW of Chu Lai. He gave no indication that he was experiencing any difficulty and advised that he was proceeding to a point 20 miles west of Kham Duc. Beyer was scheduled to return to Chu Lai at 1500 hours. When he had not arrived by 1540 hours, and no further calls were received from him, a communications check was initiated. This check was to no avail, and search and rescue forces were alerted.
Search and rescue operations were continued for five days over the dense jungle area where Beyer was to operate, as well as his intended flight path to and from that area. No sightings were made nor signals received which would indicate Beyer's whereabouts. Beyer was declared Missing in Action.
Nearly 2500 Americans did not return from the war in Vietnam. Thousands of reports have been received convincing many authorities that some hundreds remain alive in captivity. Whether Beyer is alive is not known. What is certain, however, is that Vietnam and her communist allies can tell us what happened to most of our men. And we have a legal and moral responsibility to do everything possible to bring home any who are still alive