CM/Sgt. Thomas Moore
Dad was also Veteran of:
- U.S. Army Air Forces 1947
- U.S. Air Force 1947-1965
- Korean War 1952-1953
- Vietnam War 1965 (POW, Presumed Died in Captivity), Listed as Missing in Action
My Dad, Thomas Moore was born on December 9, 1930, in McClenny, Florida, and grew up in Lake Butler, Florida. Everywhere officially his birth year is listed as 1929; he actually fudged on his birth year to be able to enlist a year earlier. My husband and I found this out after my Mom passed away and found his real birth certificate in her personal papers.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces on August 21, 1947, shortly before it became the U.S. Air Force. After completing basic training, Dad became an aircraft mechanic, serving in California, Japan, and Florida before going through Air Conditioning Refrigeration School in 1951.
He next served in Missouri before completing a tour during the Korean War and afterwards served as a Refrigeration Specialist at Keesler AFB, Mississippi from March 8, 1955 to March 7, 1961, and then at Stewart AFB, New York, from March 8, 1961, to October 29, 1961. He served at Larson AFB, Washington, from October 30, 1961, to August 4, 1963, and Tyndall AFB, Florida, from August 5, 1963 to April 15, 1965.
When he went to Southeast Asia. Daddy was stationed at Tan Son Nhut AB in the Republic of Vietnam, and was captured on October 31, 1965, while traveling in a truck with three other service members from Vung Tau to Saigon, SSgt. Samuel Adams, SSgt. Charles Dusing, TSgt. Thomas Moore, and TSgt, Jasper Page. On November 2, 1965, while being taken to a detention camp, Jasper Page, managed to escape and return to U.S. control. It was reported that Samuel Adams had been shot during the same escape that freed Page, but a defector identified Adams' photo as a prisoner at a later date. CIA's analysis of this identification has been inconclusive. The names of all three appeared on the died in captivity list furnished by the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) in 1973 at the Paris Peace Accords.
Dad was carried as Prisoner of War for years, then his status was changed to Missing in Action and later he was listed as having died in captivity by the Viet Cong on December 31, 1965; and was one of the individuals on the Priority Last Known Alive (LKA) List for years until July 1993, when the mannerisms for the listing changed. It was at this point that we were told that Dad’s case would not be closed until he was found Alive and returned or, his remains were received and identified or they have obtained information on why neither is possible.
My Mom later appealed the Presumptive date of death and it was changed by the Department of the Air Force to coincide with the other service members with my Dad when they went Missing, the “Presumed Killed in Action” was changed to May 9th 1974.
My Dad married my Mom, Lucy M. Harper in February 1952, and they together had 4 children-Nora Diane Moore, Teresa M. Ambrose, Larry Moore, and Debra J. Nelson; seven grandchildren -Thomas M. Skinner, Leahney A. Mcglohorn, Apryl Nelson, Thomas Nelson, Billie Moore Ambrose, Brandy Ambrose-Baker, and Sherry Ambrose-Hollingsworth; and 12 great grandchildren.
It breaks my heart everyday that I missed out on growing up with my Dad, but even more so that He missed out on living his life with his wife, his children and knowing his wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
His remains have never been returned to the United States.
His Soldier's Medal Citation reads:
Staff Sergeant Thomas Moore distinguished himself by heroism involving voluntary risk of life on 23 August 1955 at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. On that date, when the arm of an electrician, who was making emergency repairs, touched a live circuit, Sergeant Moore, without thought for his own preservation, immediately responded to the aid of the stricken man. When his first attempt to free the victim failed, Sergeant Moore continued in his efforts until he succeeded. Although shocked himself, he administered artificial respiration until the victim regained consciousness and medical aid arrived. The exemplary courage and decisive actions of Sergeant Moore reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
His Purple Hearts and POW/MIA medal are from Vietnam.
I was only 8 when he went missing, but I can remember exciting trips to the flight line and seeing all of the jets and planes on days I was too sick for school, and of him treating me to a coke while I watched him gather up his work.
I can remember sitting on the carport while he worked on our car smoking his cigarettes and the awe I felt when his cigarette ash grew to almost the entire length of the cigarette - I thought he was a magician!
He wasn’t perfect, nor a God, he disciplined us- he told us we couldn’t have friends knock on the door at dinner, or sass him or Momma, but he lit up my day with a hug and kept me from getting a spanking by creating a wonderful story of how I would conquer my wrong doings in the future.
He was my protector, my hero and to me he was fearless. In my mind, he was strong and so brave, and when he said he had to go to a place I didn’t understand – a foreign land I was absolutely sure that he would come home.
Because, to me if he said he was coming back, that made it fact. He always told the truth. But unfortunately, we do not always control our own destiny; if he could have came home to me and my family he would have. He always kept his Word.
He was my Dad, he was sweet, polite, kind, dedicated, to Family, Service and to Country. I know I will never stop loving him, honoring him and respecting him – and though I only knew him for almost 8 years he helped in shaping my path, I served in the military because of him, and many decisions along my path the last 55 years have been because of the time I shared with him so long ago that at times feels like yesterday and others a lifetime ago.
Family at time of Loss: Wife and 4 children (3 daughters and 1 son), my Mom never remarried, nor dated; she passed away at home with Ken and I, 30 years after Daddy went Missing – December 1995. It wasn’t until after I was married for a long time that I truly understood just how lonely she must have been for him and how unbelievably how much she loved him.
We still wait and hope even as the years have gone through 5 decades.
You have Grandchildren and Great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, all of whom have been told of your story about being a Hero. Our love will never fade. I love and have missed you so much.