Arthur Thomas Finney
Colonel
435TH TAC FTR SQDN, 8TH TAC FTR WING, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
Miami, Florida
June 26, 1928 to January 22, 1974
(Incident Date August 01, 1966)
ARTHUR T FINNEY is on the Wall at Panel 9E, Line 93

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Arthur T Finney
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Silver Star

From A. Thomas Finney II on August 25, 2012 - When persons contact me regarding returning their POW/MIA bracelets, I presently have a total of 21 emails I send them with information regarding my Dad. One of those 21 emails is the information contained at the Berea College web site, which I provided to them. I also sent them that official Air Force photo of him, and the bracelet.

I provide information, photos, etc. about my Dad often as my way of honoring him, and to ensure his legacy. You have my permission to use his information and photos.

Any other questions you may have or information you would like, feel free to ask.

I happen to have the original Silver Star Citation, original Orders, and a Citation letter to me that accompanied the Citation It's here at home along with a lot of his memorabilia.

Photos and Information provided by A. Thomas Finney, II

Biography -

Colonel Finney graduated from Berea College in 1948 with a B.S. in Business Administration. He was also a volunteer fireman on campus. Born in Canmer, Kentucky, he joined the Air Force after graduating from Berea College.

Arthur Thomas Finney was born 26 June 1928 to A.C. Finney and Elizabeth Pearl Finney. He was from Canmer, Hart County, Kentucky. He had attended Memorial High School in Hardyville, Kentucky. He came to Berea at the age of 15 in 1944. He went through the Lower Division and took Summer School until he entered the Upper Division in 1946. He graduated in 1948 with a B.S. in Business Administration. While at Berea he was a member of the Berea Players, the YMCA Cabinet, the Economics and Business Club, the "B" Club, and did Cross Country, Varsity Tennis and Track .

ID photo, Berea College

According to the Berea Citizen newspaper, schoolmates of Finney's remembered him for his talent on the piano, which he often played, as well as working for the Chimes as a labor position while at Berea. He also served as student chief of the Berea College Fire Department.

After he graduated, he joined the Air Force and took his pilot training in Texas and Nevada. He learned to fly the P-51 Mustang, T-33 jet trainer, F-80 Shooting Star, and the F-86 Sabre, which he flew in 101 missions in the Korean War. At the time he and his family were living at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

After that, in Texas he was an exchange officer with the US Navy working from the USS Kearsage, flying Navy Cougar and Panther jets. In 1961 he moved to Virginia, where he was working in the Pentagon. From 1962 through 1965 he was stationed in Australia, as the Assistant Air Attache at the US Embassy. There, as an Air Force Major and a diplomat, he met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. From that assignment, he returned to the US to George Air Force Base in Victorville, California, where he was the Squadron Commander of the 476th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) and flew the F-104 Starfighter. In July of 1966 he left for Vietnam for assignment to Udorn Air Base in Thailand.

On his third mission over Vietnam, on August 1 1966, he was hit by a SAM missile. His wingman said that he saw him eject, and that he had a good parachute. That was the last time he was seen, and he was listed as MIA. When the POW's were released in 1973, he was not among them, and no POW recalled him.

MIA Bracelet

His wife Peggy had his status changed to KIA in 1974 and she and her two children moved to Las Vegas. She passed away in 1981, without knowledge of what happened to him.

In 1985, the Air Force contacted his oldest son, informing him that the North Vietnamese were releasing 26 sets of remains, and his was among them; the US Army Central Identification Lab in Hawaii confirmed his remains were among the 26 sets on October 24, 1985 . His family held services for him in Las Vegas where he was buried next to his wife.
Headstone in Las Vegas

Note from son A. Thomas Finney II: "My Dad is buried in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Palm Memorial Park on Eastern Avenue. He is right next to my Mom, his wife Peg [Nancy M Finney]. That statue in the photo [below] is about 50 feet northeast of their headstones. It signifies the section they're buried in, Garden of Resurrection."

Memorial in Las Vegas

Full military honors were given, with an Honor Guard, a Three-Volley salute (3 volleys of 7 rifles for a total of 21 shots), and a "Missing Man" flyover. His eldest son delivered his eulogy. He was an excellent pilot who had 4,900 hours of flying time on 36 Air Force and Navy aircraft.

He has a plaque at his High School, a plaque on a tree in Victorville, a cross in Berea Baptist Church, and he received many medals and awards including the Silver Star. Peggy had a marker placed where he first learned to fly in Nevada. He was promoted to full Colonel after his death, and his family received a letter from Ronald Reagan. The US flag also flew over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. for a day in his honor.

The following information was published when the remains of Colonel Finney were returned to the United States in 1985 from North Vietnam.


August 13 1985 News Clip

The Department of Defense (DoD) confirmed his remains were among the 26 sets on October 24, 1985 and they were returned for burial by the family. Colonel Finney is buried in Las Vegas alongside his wife.

NOTE from A. Thomas Finney, II: "When his remains were returned, the Air Force gave me a choice to bury him wherever I wanted. My first thought was Arlington. Then after mulling it over for awhile, I chose Las Vegas instead because I wanted him next to my Mom. I still think I did the right thing. The one tribute [below] is correct; there WAS a marker for him at Arlington. The government places one there automatically in cases like his. I remember my Mom mentioning that, and I had forgotten it was there until a friend visited there just a few years ago and stumbled across it, right near their own loved one's marker [See Colonel Finney tribute below from USMC SGT Carl A. Rasmussen's daughter]. When I heard (again) that he had a marker there, and it was just a marker with no body, I contacted the Superintendant at Arlington and requested they remove the marker/headstone. They did.

The reason I did that was although it was a nice gesture on the part of the government, it's a fact that Arlington is actually running out of room. I wanted to free up that plot to make room for another soldier's remains. By now that has likely already happened. Although a few friends didn't agree with my decision I still think it was the right and unselfish thing to do. And I think my Mom and Dad would agree. There was no point in having two headstones/two gravesites 3,000 miles apart with one empty, when another soldier and his or her family could be honored with a burial at Arlington."

Titusville Herald Article, August 15, 1985

The following information was transcribed from a faded newspaper clipping in the Herald a few days after another article appeared (above). CANMER Kentucky Associated Press (AP) - Nineteen years after Cof Arthur Thomas Finney was shot down on a secret mission over North Vietnam the 175 residents of his hometown to honor his memory with the heros welcome they could not give him in life.

"Tommy was the finest and we've never forgotten him" said Frances Moss who taught Finneys 12th grade class at Memorial High School and still keeps a file on her favorite pupil.

"At least we really know what happened to him now" said Lizzie Craddock, the towns postmaster whose eyes brim with tears when she talks of her childhood friend.

Finneys name was on a list given last week by Hanoi to the US government of 26 American military men whose bodies were returned on Wednesday Relatives were notified but the names will not be made public until the bodies are positively identified by US medical experts in Honolulu

Finney was 38 and a veteran of more than 100 missions in Korea and Vietnam when he flew his last sortie Aug 1 1966 He was last seen by American eyes as he parachuted from his burning plane after it was hit by enemy ground fire.

During the years of uncertainty that followed his wife and parents died and his two sons moved away leaving few people in Canmer who remember his days here But those who do kept his memory alive holding him as their best example of what young people might aspire to become.

- The Virtual Wall

A remembrance found on the internet from 1998 from Mike Monti, retired from the Air Force, living in South Carolina, and who served under Lt Col Finney. He said he was taking on "adopting" three POW MIA people... Colonel Arthur T. Finney, USAF who was shot down on 1 Aug 66 and whose remains have been returned to the United States; Lt Col Norman Schmidt who was shot down on 1 Sep 66, captured and taken to Hanoi where he died as a POW....beaten to death by a guard called "The BUG"; and Lt Col Hubert C. Nichols, Jr. who was assisting in the rescue attempt of Lt Col Schmidt and died during said attempt!

Every one of these men were and remain AMERICAN HERO'S.

I had forgotten all about them until I surfed the web and found their names. I had the pleasure to serve and know both Col Finney and Lt Col Schmidt. We all were in the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn RTAFB, Thailand and had come over together from George AFB, CA in a unit move during 1965. This was unique because the 435th TFS was the ONLY F-104 squadron assigned to SEA during the war and was only there for about a year.

The F-104's were never used as they were designed to be used....that of being a Fighter Interceptor!! The 435th TFS was attached to the 8th TFW and used as very small Bombers that flew close air support until so many were lost in such a short period of time...they were then used to provide cover for COLLEGE BIG EYE! We lost two planes the first day we set-up as a unit at Udorn!!!

My memory of Col Finney. When we were leaving George AFB...the planes and a select group of pilots had to fly them over to Thailand. The rest of us were to go in C-141's and some of us went early but the majority of us went after the F-104's departed. I can still see Colonel Finney's son...probably around 6 or 7 years old...saluting his dad before his dad left...to never return! The son had a little uniform complete with flight cap and that picture... along with that of "John John" saluting good-bye to JFK will forever be engraved in my mind!

Does anyone know the circumstances of Col Finney's death? I can't find anything on him!!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008.

Tribute for Col. Arthur Thomas Finney (George AFB California, KY)

Tribute left by: Kjirstin Youngberg (Mapleton, UT)

"I never knew Colonel Finney, but he has affected my life incomprehensibly. I dated his son all through high school. I knew his wife. I baby-sat Brian, his youngest. I wore a silver bracelet bearing his name many years, later discovered by my own daughter, who asked about it, resulting in a music video "A Silver Bracelet" used by the BSA to promote patriotism."

"While visiting the memorial marker of my father, USMC Sgt. Carl A. Rasmussen at Arlington, we found Colonel Finney's marker just seven headstones away."

There WAS a marker for Colonel Finney at Arlington but is has been removed and may already have been filled with another soldier per son Tom Finney.

March Air Reserve Base (ARB) Air Museum, Riverside California (August 26, 2012)

A product of the American experience in the Korean War, the F-104 Starfighter was designed to provide the United States Air Force with a high-speed point-defense interceptor capable of taking on the era's nimble Soviet block MiG fighters. The F-104's small wing span of only 21 feet, and exceptional thrust-to-weight ratio combined to create an impressive rate of climb comparable to today's most advanced fighters.

The museum's F-104 is on loan from a private party. The aircraft is painted in the colors of "Smoke II" F-104C #57-0925 assigned to the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Udorn Air Base, Thailand.

Photo taken on 24 February 2010 after restoration was complete.

Restored F-104 as 'Smoke II'

Info and Photo above used with permission (J. Houlihan, March ARB Museum)

F-104C #56-0928 (435th TFS, 8th TFW, Udorn Air Base, Thailand) After Action Report - 1 August 1966, while flying with three other Starfighters as MiG CAP for Iron Hand missions (Wild Weasel Surface-To-Air-Missle (SAM) suppression), the F-104s were orbiting a SAM site 30 miles NW of the iron and steel producing town of Thai Nguyen, North Vietnam. Aircraft #56-0928 was hit by a SAM and immediately burst into flames and broke up. Captain John Charles Kwortnik was killed in action.

It was reported that a good ejection and parachute had been seen, but intense ground fire prevented any further investigation, and no beeper signals were heard. If Capt Kwortnik did eject safely, he did not survive as he never appeared in the North Vietnamese POW system, although a Hanoi newspaper reported the capture of a pilot on this date. Kwortnik's remains were returned to the USA, 14 August 1985.

F-104C Aircraft #57-0925 (435th TFS, 8th TFW, Udorn Air Base, Thailand) After Action Report - 1 August 1966, at the same time that Capt Kwortnik's flight was encountering intense ground fire, another flight of Starfighters was escorting F-105 Wild Weasels over Thai Nguyen. Approximately 40 miles from Hanoi, Smoke II suffered a direct hit from a SA-2 Surface to Air Missile and suddenly turned into a ball of flame. The pilot Lt. Colonel Arthur Thomas Finney safely ejected and was spotted descending by parachute into enemy territory and was posted as missing, and later as KIA (his remains were returned to the USA 14 August 1985).

Silver Star

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTH AIR FORCE (PACAF)
APO SAN FRANCISCO 96307

SPECIAL ORDER
G-777                                                                                                              27 September 1966




1. DP, LIEUTENANT COLONEL ARTHUR T FINNEY, FR 41887 is awarded the Silver Star for gallantry while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force on 1 August 1966

... LTC Finney's name appears in paragraph 1 of a 23 paragraph Special Order by 7th Air Force. There were 22 other individuals who received medals, mostly Silver Stars, on that order. 11 of the men were Prisoner's of War and returned home while 12 were killed or missing, later to be declared dead, and some who's remains were discovered years after the war ended, like Colonel Finney who was returned to the United States in 1985.

Each paragraph was almost identical to Colonel Finney's after name and serial number. except for the date of action and depending on the medal. The paragraph number, name, date of incident, and medal (If not a Silver Star) for those who's names appear on The Virtual Wall are:

2. MAJOR JOSEPH WILLIAM BRAND, FV842484 17 AUGUST 1966.
4. MAJOR CURTIS ABBOT EATON, FV2073835 14 AUGUST 1966.
6. MAJOR HUBERT CAMPBEL NICHOLS JR, FR44853 3 JUNE 1966.
7. CAPTAIN DAVID JAY ALLINSON, FV3038260 19 JULY 1966.
9. CAPTAIN CHARLES EDWARD FRANKLIN, FV3057881 14 AUGUST 1966.
10 CAPTAiN JOHN CHARLES KWORTNIK, FV3064640 1 AUGUST 1966.
   (In the same air space, same day, and near same time at Finney)
17 CAPTAIN WILLIAM WARD SMITH FV3036593 (Posthumously) 15 JULY 1966 TO 23 JULY 1966.
18 MAJOR DONALD MAURICE SINGER FV2220822 DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS) 17 AUGUST 1966.
20 CAPTAIN CHARLES JOSEPH SCHARF FR47305 (AIR MEDAL, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster) 1 OCTOBER 1965.
21 FIRST LIEUTENANT MARTIN JOHN MASSUCCI, FV3137129 (Air Medal) 1 OCTOBER 1965.
22 FIRST LIEUTENANT JOHN PETER SKORO JR FR70292 (Posthumously) (AIR MEDAL, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster) 20 AUGUST 1966 TO 13 SEPTEMBER 1966.



FOR THE COMMANDER


HARROLD H MILLER, Captain             DISTRIBUTION
Administrative Officer                              G

CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF

THE SILVER STAR

TO

ARTHUR T. FINNEY


     Lieutenant Colonel Arthur T. Finney distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force over North Vietnam on 1 August 1966. On that date, Colonel Finney was leading a flight of F-104 aircraft providing close escort MIG cover for accompanying strike aircraft. On arrival in the target area, Colonel Finney began the extremely hazardous task of providing top cover in the deadly missile environment. On repeated occasions, he was forced to evade the deadly rockets backed by heavy flak. After each occasion, Colonel Finney would again regain his vulnerable position, although at high risk to his own life, in order to maintain the fighter cover and provide vital support to the strike aircraft. It was largely through his heroic efforts that the strike aircraft were unmolested by hostile fighter aircraft throughout the entire flight. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Colonel Finney has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.




  Official Seal
FinneyAT01j.jpg

FinneyAT01j.jpg

Certificate & Orders provided by A. Thomas Finney, II



 

Silver Star

From A. Thomas Finney II on August 25, 2012 - When persons contact me regarding returning their POW/MIA bracelets, I presently have a total of 21 emails I send them with information regarding my Dad. One of those 21 emails is the information contained at the Berea College web site, which I provided to them. I also sent them that official Air Force photo of him, and the bracelet.

I provide information, photos, etc. about my Dad often as my way of honoring him, and to ensure his legacy. You have my permission to use his information and photos.

Any other questions you may have or information you would like, feel free to ask.

I happen to have the original Silver Star Citation, original Orders, and a Citation letter to me that accompanied the Citation It's here at home along with a lot of his memorabilia.

Photos and Information provided by A. Thomas Finney, II

Biography -

Colonel Finney graduated from Berea College in 1948 with a B.S. in Business Administration. He was also a volunteer fireman on campus. Born in Canmer, Kentucky, he joined the Air Force after graduating from Berea College.

Arthur Thomas Finney was born 26 June 1928 to A.C. Finney and Elizabeth Pearl Finney. He was from Canmer, Hart County, Kentucky. He had attended Memorial High School in Hardyville, Kentucky. He came to Berea at the age of 15 in 1944. He went through the Lower Division and took Summer School until he entered the Upper Division in 1946. He graduated in 1948 with a B.S. in Business Administration. While at Berea he was a member of the Berea Players, the YMCA Cabinet, the Economics and Business Club, the "B" Club, and did Cross Country, Varsity Tennis and Track .

ID photo, Berea College

According to the Berea Citizen newspaper, schoolmates of Finney's remembered him for his talent on the piano, which he often played, as well as working for the Chimes as a labor position while at Berea. He also served as student chief of the Berea College Fire Department.

After he graduated, he joined the Air Force and took his pilot training in Texas and Nevada. He learned to fly the P-51 Mustang, T-33 jet trainer, F-80 Shooting Star, and the F-86 Sabre, which he flew in 101 missions in the Korean War. At the time he and his family were living at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

After that, in Texas he was an exchange officer with the US Navy working from the USS Kearsage, flying Navy Cougar and Panther jets. In 1961 he moved to Virginia, where he was working in the Pentagon. From 1962 through 1965 he was stationed in Australia, as the Assistant Air Attache at the US Embassy. There, as an Air Force Major and a diplomat, he met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. From that assignment, he returned to the US to George Air Force Base in Victorville, California, where he was the Squadron Commander of the 476th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) and flew the F-104 Starfighter. In July of 1966 he left for Vietnam for assignment to Udorn Air Base in Thailand.

On his third mission over Vietnam, on August 1 1966, he was hit by a SAM missile. His wingman said that he saw him eject, and that he had a good parachute. That was the last time he was seen, and he was listed as MIA. When the POW's were released in 1973, he was not among them, and no POW recalled him.

MIA Bracelet

His wife Peggy had his status changed to KIA in 1974 and she and her two children moved to Las Vegas. She passed away in 1981, without knowledge of what happened to him.

In 1985, the Air Force contacted his oldest son, informing him that the North Vietnamese were releasing 26 sets of remains, and his was among them; the US Army Central Identification Lab in Hawaii confirmed his remains were among the 26 sets on October 24, 1985 . His family held services for him in Las Vegas where he was buried next to his wife.
Headstone in Las Vegas

Note from son A. Thomas Finney II: "My Dad is buried in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Palm Memorial Park on Eastern Avenue. He is right next to my Mom, his wife Peg [Nancy M Finney]. That statue in the photo [below] is about 50 feet northeast of their headstones. It signifies the section they're buried in, Garden of Resurrection."

Memorial in Las Vegas

Full military honors were given, with an Honor Guard, a Three-Volley salute (3 volleys of 7 rifles for a total of 21 shots), and a "Missing Man" flyover. His eldest son delivered his eulogy. He was an excellent pilot who had 4,900 hours of flying time on 36 Air Force and Navy aircraft.

He has a plaque at his High School, a plaque on a tree in Victorville, a cross in Berea Baptist Church, and he received many medals and awards including the Silver Star. Peggy had a marker placed where he first learned to fly in Nevada. He was promoted to full Colonel after his death, and his family received a letter from Ronald Reagan. The US flag also flew over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. for a day in his honor.

The following information was published when the remains of Colonel Finney were returned to the United States in 1985 from North Vietnam.


August 13 1985 News Clip

The Department of Defense (DoD) confirmed his remains were among the 26 sets on October 24, 1985 and they were returned for burial by the family. Colonel Finney is buried in Las Vegas alongside his wife.

NOTE from A. Thomas Finney, II: "When his remains were returned, the Air Force gave me a choice to bury him wherever I wanted. My first thought was Arlington. Then after mulling it over for awhile, I chose Las Vegas instead because I wanted him next to my Mom. I still think I did the right thing. The one tribute [below] is correct; there WAS a marker for him at Arlington. The government places one there automatically in cases like his. I remember my Mom mentioning that, and I had forgotten it was there until a friend visited there just a few years ago and stumbled across it, right near their own loved one's marker [See Colonel Finney tribute below from USMC SGT Carl A. Rasmussen's daughter]. When I heard (again) that he had a marker there, and it was just a marker with no body, I contacted the Superintendant at Arlington and requested they remove the marker/headstone. They did.

The reason I did that was although it was a nice gesture on the part of the government, it's a fact that Arlington is actually running out of room. I wanted to free up that plot to make room for another soldier's remains. By now that has likely already happened. Although a few friends didn't agree with my decision I still think it was the right and unselfish thing to do. And I think my Mom and Dad would agree. There was no point in having two headstones/two gravesites 3,000 miles apart with one empty, when another soldier and his or her family could be honored with a burial at Arlington."

Titusville Herald Article, August 15, 1985

The following information was transcribed from a faded newspaper clipping in the Herald a few days after another article appeared (above). CANMER Kentucky Associated Press (AP) - Nineteen years after Cof Arthur Thomas Finney was shot down on a secret mission over North Vietnam the 175 residents of his hometown to honor his memory with the heros welcome they could not give him in life.

"Tommy was the finest and we've never forgotten him" said Frances Moss who taught Finneys 12th grade class at Memorial High School and still keeps a file on her favorite pupil.

"At least we really know what happened to him now" said Lizzie Craddock, the towns postmaster whose eyes brim with tears when she talks of her childhood friend.

Finneys name was on a list given last week by Hanoi to the US government of 26 American military men whose bodies were returned on Wednesday Relatives were notified but the names will not be made public until the bodies are positively identified by US medical experts in Honolulu

Finney was 38 and a veteran of more than 100 missions in Korea and Vietnam when he flew his last sortie Aug 1 1966 He was last seen by American eyes as he parachuted from his burning plane after it was hit by enemy ground fire.

During the years of uncertainty that followed his wife and parents died and his two sons moved away leaving few people in Canmer who remember his days here But those who do kept his memory alive holding him as their best example of what young people might aspire to become.

- The Virtual Wall

A remembrance found on the internet from 1998 from Mike Monti, retired from the Air Force, living in South Carolina, and who served under Lt Col Finney. He said he was taking on "adopting" three POW MIA people... Colonel Arthur T. Finney, USAF who was shot down on 1 Aug 66 and whose remains have been returned to the United States; Lt Col Norman Schmidt who was shot down on 1 Sep 66, captured and taken to Hanoi where he died as a POW....beaten to death by a guard called "The BUG"; and Lt Col Hubert C. Nichols, Jr. who was assisting in the rescue attempt of Lt Col Schmidt and died during said attempt!

Every one of these men were and remain AMERICAN HERO'S.

I had forgotten all about them until I surfed the web and found their names. I had the pleasure to serve and know both Col Finney and Lt Col Schmidt. We all were in the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn RTAFB, Thailand and had come over together from George AFB, CA in a unit move during 1965. This was unique because the 435th TFS was the ONLY F-104 squadron assigned to SEA during the war and was only there for about a year.

The F-104's were never used as they were designed to be used....that of being a Fighter Interceptor!! The 435th TFS was attached to the 8th TFW and used as very small Bombers that flew close air support until so many were lost in such a short period of time...they were then used to provide cover for COLLEGE BIG EYE! We lost two planes the first day we set-up as a unit at Udorn!!!

My memory of Col Finney. When we were leaving George AFB...the planes and a select group of pilots had to fly them over to Thailand. The rest of us were to go in C-141's and some of us went early but the majority of us went after the F-104's departed. I can still see Colonel Finney's son...probably around 6 or 7 years old...saluting his dad before his dad left...to never return! The son had a little uniform complete with flight cap and that picture... along with that of "John John" saluting good-bye to JFK will forever be engraved in my mind!

Does anyone know the circumstances of Col Finney's death? I can't find anything on him!!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008.

Tribute for Col. Arthur Thomas Finney (George AFB California, KY)

Tribute left by: Kjirstin Youngberg (Mapleton, UT)

"I never knew Colonel Finney, but he has affected my life incomprehensibly. I dated his son all through high school. I knew his wife. I baby-sat Brian, his youngest. I wore a silver bracelet bearing his name many years, later discovered by my own daughter, who asked about it, resulting in a music video "A Silver Bracelet" used by the BSA to promote patriotism."

"While visiting the memorial marker of my father, USMC Sgt. Carl A. Rasmussen at Arlington, we found Colonel Finney's marker just seven headstones away."

There WAS a marker for Colonel Finney at Arlington but is has been removed and may already have been filled with another soldier per son Tom Finney.

March Air Reserve Base (ARB) Air Museum, Riverside California (August 26, 2012)

A product of the American experience in the Korean War, the F-104 Starfighter was designed to provide the United States Air Force with a high-speed point-defense interceptor capable of taking on the era's nimble Soviet block MiG fighters. The F-104's small wing span of only 21 feet, and exceptional thrust-to-weight ratio combined to create an impressive rate of climb comparable to today's most advanced fighters.

The museum's F-104 is on loan from a private party. The aircraft is painted in the colors of "Smoke II" F-104C #57-0925 assigned to the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Udorn Air Base, Thailand.

Photo taken on 24 February 2010 after restoration was complete.

Restored F-104 as 'Smoke II'

Info and Photo above used with permission (J. Houlihan, March ARB Museum)

F-104C #56-0928 (435th TFS, 8th TFW, Udorn Air Base, Thailand) After Action Report - 1 August 1966, while flying with three other Starfighters as MiG CAP for Iron Hand missions (Wild Weasel Surface-To-Air-Missle (SAM) suppression), the F-104s were orbiting a SAM site 30 miles NW of the iron and steel producing town of Thai Nguyen, North Vietnam. Aircraft #56-0928 was hit by a SAM and immediately burst into flames and broke up. Captain John Charles Kwortnik was killed in action.

It was reported that a good ejection and parachute had been seen, but intense ground fire prevented any further investigation, and no beeper signals were heard. If Capt Kwortnik did eject safely, he did not survive as he never appeared in the North Vietnamese POW system, although a Hanoi newspaper reported the capture of a pilot on this date. Kwortnik's remains were returned to the USA, 14 August 1985.

F-104C Aircraft #57-0925 (435th TFS, 8th TFW, Udorn Air Base, Thailand) After Action Report - 1 August 1966, at the same time that Capt Kwortnik's flight was encountering intense ground fire, another flight of Starfighters was escorting F-105 Wild Weasels over Thai Nguyen. Approximately 40 miles from Hanoi, Smoke II suffered a direct hit from a SA-2 Surface to Air Missile and suddenly turned into a ball of flame. The pilot Lt. Colonel Arthur Thomas Finney safely ejected and was spotted descending by parachute into enemy territory and was posted as missing, and later as KIA (his remains were returned to the USA 14 August 1985).

Silver Star

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTH AIR FORCE (PACAF)
APO SAN FRANCISCO 96307

SPECIAL ORDER
G-777                                                                                                              27 September 1966




1. DP, LIEUTENANT COLONEL ARTHUR T FINNEY, FR 41887 is awarded the Silver Star for gallantry while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force on 1 August 1966

... LTC Finney's name appears in paragraph 1 of a 23 paragraph Special Order by 7th Air Force. There were 22 other individuals who received medals, mostly Silver Stars, on that order. 11 of the men were Prisoner's of War and returned home while 12 were killed or missing, later to be declared dead, and some who's remains were discovered years after the war ended, like Colonel Finney who was returned to the United States in 1985.

Each paragraph was almost identical to Colonel Finney's after name and serial number. except for the date of action and depending on the medal. The paragraph number, name, date of incident, and medal (If not a Silver Star) for those who's names appear on The Virtual Wall are:

2. MAJOR JOSEPH WILLIAM BRAND, FV842484 17 AUGUST 1966.
4. MAJOR CURTIS ABBOT EATON, FV2073835 14 AUGUST 1966.
6. MAJOR HUBERT CAMPBEL NICHOLS JR, FR44853 3 JUNE 1966.
7. CAPTAIN DAVID JAY ALLINSON, FV3038260 19 JULY 1966.
9. CAPTAIN CHARLES EDWARD FRANKLIN, FV3057881 14 AUGUST 1966.
10 CAPTAiN JOHN CHARLES KWORTNIK, FV3064640 1 AUGUST 1966.
   (In the same air space, same day, and near same time at Finney)
17 CAPTAIN WILLIAM WARD SMITH, FV3036593 (Posthumously) 15 JULY 1966 TO 23 JULY 1966.
18 MAJOR DONALD MAURICE SINGER, FV2220822 DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS) 17 AUGUST 1966.
20 CAPTAIN CHARLES JOSEPH SCHARF, FR47305 (AIR MEDAL, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster) 1 OCTOBER 1965.
21 FIRST LIEUTENANT MARTIN JOHN MASSUCCI, FV3137129 (Air Medal) 1 OCTOBER 1965.
22 FIRST LIEUTENANT JOHN PETER SKORO JR, FR70292 (Posthumously) (AIR MEDAL, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster) 20 AUGUST 1966 TO 13 SEPTEMBER 1966.



FOR THE COMMANDER


HARROLD H MILLER, Captain             DISTRIBUTION
Administrative Officer                              G

CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF

THE SILVER STAR

TO

ARTHUR T. FINNEY


     Lieutenant Colonel Arthur T. Finney distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force over North Vietnam on 1 August 1966. On that date, Colonel Finney was leading a flight of F-104 aircraft providing close escort MIG cover for accompanying strike aircraft. On arrival in the target area, Colonel Finney began the extremely hazardous task of providing top cover in the deadly missile environment. On repeated occasions, he was forced to evade the deadly rockets backed by heavy flak. After each occasion, Colonel Finney would again regain his vulnerable position, although at high risk to his own life, in order to maintain the fighter cover and provide vital support to the strike aircraft. It was largely through his heroic efforts that the strike aircraft were unmolested by hostile fighter aircraft throughout the entire flight. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Colonel Finney has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.




  Official Seal
FinneyAT01j.jpg

FinneyAT01j.jpg

Certificate & Orders provided by A. Thomas Finney, II



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