Veterans' Memorial Project

Kenneth Deane Thomas Jr.

Mt. Auburn, IL

Vietnam War

College: Liberal Arts & Sciences

Graduation Year: 1963

Service Branch: Air Force

Rank: Major

Date of Birth: 09/25/1940

Date of Death: 09/02/1975

Affiliations: ROTC

Kenneth Deane Thomas, Jr. was shot down in his F-105 over North Vietnam on May 5, 1966. His status was MIA (Missing in Action) until 1975 when he was officially declared KIA (Killed in Action). His remains were repatriated in 1985, and he was laid to rest October 25, 1985 in his home town of Mt. Auburn, Illinois. This was the second time he had been shot down. The first time was in March, 1966, and after spending 27 hours “in country” he was rescued by Major Louis Cowell and his team in the “Jolly Green Giant” rescue helicopter. He was rescued on his son’s birthday, March 26, 1966. He passed on the opportunity to come home at that time in order to be home in July for the birth of his third child. Unfortunately, that was not to be. When he was rescued in March, 1966, he was interviewed for Armed Forces Radio.

– submitted by Noelle Thomas-Patton, daughter

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