Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Tom 's History

TomAFAsm.jpg Tom was born in Nashville, TN and raised in the mountains of North Carolina. He had one year of freedom at NC State College before reporting to USAFA and “taking the veil” on 27 June 1960. Following BCT, he became a member of CS09. He spent his upperclass years in CS12. He spent his four years at the academy trying to outwit the Dean and keep one step ahead of the Commandant. His constant companion on weekends (when the AOC didn’t have the keys) was a certain blue GTO convertible. Tom graduated on 3 June 1964. After a summer of showing his GTO to the country, he headed for Williams AFB, AZ.

In 1964 and 1965, Tom was in undergraduate pilot training at Williams, flying the T-37 and T-38. He did well enough to successfully compete for his dream assignment to fighters. In the fall of 1965, he was assigned to F-105 combat crew training with the 4523rd CCTS, Nellis AFB, NV.

Upon completion of F-105 training in early 1966, Tom went directly to Southeast Asia, where he was assigned to the 354th TFS at Takhli AB, Thailand flying the F-105D in June 1966. He flew 45 combat missions over North Vietnam until his aircraft was shot down on 4 September 1966.

Tom was incarcerated as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from 4 September 1966 to 4 March 1973, where he served his nation in the most wretched of conditions with unparalleled heroism. Please see Tom’s story of his captivity at the link below entitled “Christmases in the Dungeons of North Vietnam.”

From 1974 to 1978, Tom was a student at the Emory University School of Medicine. He performed his residency in Family Practice at the University of Texas in 1978. In 1981 and 1982, he earned his masters degree in Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health. Following his dream of becoming a flight surgeon, he performed his residency in Aerospace Medicine at Brooks AFB, TX in 1982 and 1983.

DrTom.jpg From 1983 to 1986, Doctor Tom was wearing several hats. He was Chief of Aeromedical Services, Commander of the 354th Tactical Hospital and a pilot with the 354 TFW at Myrtle Beach AFB, SC.

From 1986 to 1988, Dr. Tom served as Commander of the 833rd Medical Group, Holloman AFB, NM.

In 1988, Dr. Tom then relocated to Washington, DC, where he served as Chief of Flight Medicine in the USAF Surgeon General’s Office until 1991, then as Command Surgeon in the Office of the Air Force Reserve until 1994.

Following a brilliant military career, Dr. Tom McNish retired from the USAF Medical Corps as a Colonel on 30 June 1994, the recipient of 3 Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, 3 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts, 5 Air Medals, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

His service continued in civilian life. Tom has served for the last 20 years as a Principal Consultant to Biodynamic Research Corporation in Texas, where he resides with his wife Yona. Tom is the proud father of 3 children and the grandfather of 8.

(Compiled from multiple sources by Doug Jenkins '64)
[ Christmases in the Dungeons of North Vietnam ]
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