Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Jim's History

Gone But Not Forgotten

JeffersonSm.jpg Lieutenant Colonel James M. Jefferson, United States Air Force Academy Class of 1964, was declared in Missing In Action status following an aircraft mishap over North Vietnam on 12 May 1967. Colonel Jefferson was the copilot of an F-4C Phantom II on a strike mission against North Vietnam's Hoa Loc Airfield when the left engine exploded into flames due to enemy Strategic Air Missile fire. Colonel Jefferson, a seasoned F-4 fighter pilot, was lost with only a few more missions to fly on his combat tour.

He was declared Killed In Action on 3 March 1982. Thirty three years after he disappeared, Colonel Jefferson's remains were positively identified by precise DNA analysis at the U.S. Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii.

Colonel Jefferson's name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall with a diamond beside it to designate his Killed in Action status.

Colonel Jefferson was laid to rest in his hometown of Gainesville, Fl. on 21 October 2000.

Prior to arriving at the Academy, Jim attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. While at the Academy, he was consistently on the Superintendent's List and served as a squadron commander in his senior year.

Upon graduation, Jim attended pilot training and F-4 replacement training, followed by his assignment as an F-4 combat aircrew in Southeast Asia. For his gallantry in combat, he received the Silver Star, two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, nine Air Medals, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Jim was survived by his sisters Laura Platter and Patty Foxx; and brother Major General Wayne 0. Jefferson, ‘59.

(Gone But Not Forgotten, Checkpoints, December 2000)
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