Scope and Contents
Documents, photographs, and an audio cassette recording depict Captain Thomas Norris, USAF being shot down over Hanoi on 12 August 1967 then held as a prisoner of war and his subsequent return visit to Vietnam in 1998.
Biographical / Historical
Thomas Norris was born at Godfrey Illinois in 1937. He went to college at Southern Illinois University and went through Air Force ROTC, and obtained a Bachelor's Degree to be able to qualify for Pilot Training in the USAF in 1961. He began training at Laredo First Base in T-37s and T-33s and got his wings in 1962. Norris intended to fly helicopters, but was not able to so he became an instructor in the Air Training Command. He spent 3 years with the ATC at Moody AFB, before orders to 105 training and Southeast Asia. In May 1967, Norris went to Southeast Asia and began flying combat missions. He was flying his 47th mission on 12 August 1967 in the F-105D Thunderchief out of Korat, Thailand, and his target was bombing the Canal de Rapides Bridge in Hanoi, when he was shot down. He was held as a POW at Moa Lo Prision and Camp Faith in North Vietnam until 14 March 1973 when he was released as a part of Operation Homecoming. Norris was a Captain at the time he was shot down. Following his return to the U.S. he went through recurrency training to fly T-38s, then went to the T-41 program, and attended the Air War College at Maxler AFB. Once he quit flying in 1980, Norris worked in the comptroller field, serving as director of accounting and finance for ATC, then for Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii, and finally he retired as a Colonel at Lackland AFB as comptroller in 1987. Following retirement, he flew for Braniff Airlines, TWA, and UPS. Norris received 2 Silver Stars, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with V Device, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V Device and Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Prisoner of War Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.