Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Further Details

Name: James Milton Jefferson
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 391st TFS
Date of Birth: 11 July 1941 (FL)
Home City of Record: San Diego CA
Date of Loss: 12 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 205856N 1053022E (WJ526201) (USG Records)
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Other Personnel In Incident: Norman C. Gaddis (released POW)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.

SYNOPSIS: James M. Jefferson left sunny Florida to attend the United States Air Force Academy, where his brother had graduated in 1959. In 1964, Jefferson graduated and embarked on what seemed to be a promising career with the Air Force. After being trained on the F4 Phantom fighter jet, he was sent to Vietnam.

On 12 May 1967, Col. Normal C. Gaddis, with 1Lt. Jefferson serving as his bombardier/navigator, were sent on a mission over North Vietnam. When the flight was near the border of Ha Tay and Hoa Binh Provinces, North Vietnam, it was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Jefferson, as backseater, ejected first. Gaddis ejected second and was immediately captured by the North Vietnamese.

While Gaddis was a prisoner, he was shown a name tag and other items belonging to his crewman, which were in good condition. He believed that Jefferson had also been captured, although he never found him in the prison system in which he was being held. As the years passed, he began to lose hope of finding Jefferson alive. In 1973, Gaddis was released with 590 other Americans. James M. Jefferson was not released.

Eleanor Jefferson, mother of Major James Jefferson, USAF, and Wayne Jefferson, passed away 13 August 1999. The funeral was held in Gainesville, Florida. In peace, may she find the answers she sought for so long.

Jefferson's remains were positively identified 5 June 2000.
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