|On the night of
February 4, 1967, Thompson and Collamore launched in their F4B Phantom fighter aircraft on
an armed reconnaissance mission along the coast of North Vietnam. They were wingman for a
two plane section. The flight leader crossed the beach and executed a level flare dropping
run. Thompson's aircraft was briefed to fly in a six to seven mile radar trail behind the
Approximately one minute after the flare drop, the flight leader observed a large
explosion behind him. He immediately initiated a turn back and attempted to contact his
wingman with no results. He then arrived at the scene of the explosion and observed a
large fire in the area. He radioed for search and rescue efforts to be initiated. No
electronic or visual signals were identified from the area. Headlights of trucks were seen
along with small arms fire and a red flare. The search was discontinued due to darkness
and enemy ground fire. Searches the next day yielded no new information.
In September 1974 intelligence information possibly relating to the aircrash told of the
downing of a jet where the two pilots were killed and their bodies buried near the crash
site. This information was not positively confirmed.
Thompson and Collamore were classified Missing in Action, and were carried in this status
for the next eight years. At this time, based on no information that they were alive, the
two were declared administratively dead.
Thompson and Collamore are among nearly 2300 Americans still prisoner, missing, or
unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. Unlike "MIA's" from other wars, the large
majority of these missing men can be accounted for -- alive or dead.
Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating to
Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in Indochina have been received
by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having examined this largely classified
information, have reluctantly concluded that many Americans are still alive today, held
captive by our long-ago enemy.
It is not known if Thompson and Collamore could be among those thought to be still alive
today. What is certain, however, is that as long as even one American remains alive, held
against his will, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him to freedom.
Worcester pilot killed in Vietnam finally home
by Doug Hanchett
Wednesday, June 4, 2003
More than three decades after his U.S. Navy warplane inexplicably crashed in
North Vietnam, Allan P. ``Skip'' Collamore Jr. is finally coming home to
After his remains were identified via DNA testing just weeks ago, Collamore
will be given a full military burial this afternoon at Hope Cemetery before
his mother and two brothers. What little was found of Collamore's body will
be lowered into the ground next to his father, who died in 1978 - three
years after his namesake was pronounced ``presumed killed in action'' by the
``We're glad that it's come to this, finally, after 36 years,'' said older
brother Jerry Collamore, now of Dallas. ``I think it's going to be some sort
of relief, but I'm sure it will have its tough moments.''
Skip Collamore was a 28-year-old radar intercept officer flying in the rear
seat of a fighter plane looking for ``targets of opportunity'' over North
Vietnam on Feb. 4, 1967 when the plane suddenly vanished. A search crew went
looking for Collamore's plane the next day, but encountered heavy enemy
fire. For years afterward, the Collamore family could only wonder what
happened to Skip - and pray that perhaps he had ejected from the plane.
``I assumed he died in the aircraft right from the beginning,'' said Jerry
Collamore, who is a pilot himself. ``But my mother had the hope (he had
somehow survived), and I couldn't take that away from her.''
In 1975, the military changed Collamore's status from missing in action to
presumed killed, but it wasn't until about three years ago officials began
to hone in on the crash scene.
Last year, searchers found the remnants of a flight suit and the dogtags of
Collamore and a pilot from Watkins Glen, N.Y., at the crash scene. DNA
testing confirmed Collamore's identity a few weeks ago.
This summer, the co-mingled remains of the two men will be buried at
Arlington National Cemetery.