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"Usually when you are doing a specific job some place, your war is limited to what you see and you don’t really get into the big debates about what’s going on at the United Nations." (Audio interview, 1:24:26)

   Frank Jeannin Tomlinson
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Frank Tomlinson, Hawaii [1954]
War: Korean War, 1950-1953; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Cold War
Branch: Air Force; Air Force; Air Force
Unit: 16th Fighter Squadron; 56th Special Operations Wing (SOW); 326th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS), 317th FIS
Service Location: Suwon, Korea; also: Nakhon Phanom, Thailand; also: Grandview Air Force Base and Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri; Tyndall AFB, Florida; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; USAF Inspector General, Norton AFB, California; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Oslo, Norway; Andrews AFB, Maryland (Base Commander)
Rank: Colonel
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For Colonel Frank Tomlinson, joining the Air Force was what he terms a “watershed moment.” Leaving his small hometown of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he discovered a passion and aptitude for flying planes, which he decided to make his career. Following service in the Korean War, and stints at stateside bases, he volunteered for a combat tour in Southeast Asia and was sent to Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand in November 1968, where he spent most of his time performing search and rescue ("Sandy") missions, looking for downed American aviators. Interviewed here by his daughter, he also comments on what his career military service meant to his family.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (89 min.)
»Photo Album  (18 photos)
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»Vietnam War: Looking Back
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Training on the Skyraider planes; assignment to Kakhon Phanom Royal Air Base (NKP) in Thailand; armed reconnaissance training; status of his family during this time. (04:32) Arriving in Thailand in November 1968; first assignment to 22nd Special Operations Zorro Squadron; different types of operations going on there. (07:07) Going on search and rescue (Sandy) missions; radioing with downed pilots; how these missions were conducted; two particularly exciting missions. (09:13)
Scary bombing run during which he was hit; keeping the plane going and not having to bail out. (03:55) Tactics used by North Vietnamese to confuse search and rescue pilots; survival items that he carried. (02:45) 

Home » Frank Jeannin Tomlinson
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  October 26, 2011
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