James Thomas Ruffin

Lieutenant Commander
United States Navy
16 January 1941 - 20 August 1974
Deatsville, Alabama
Panel 05E Line 049

Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Thomas Ruffin

14 Nov 2001


by a friend,
Jeff Waites

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 18 February 1966 LTJG James T. Ruffin, pilot, and LTJG Larry H. Spencer, Radar Intercept Officer, launched from the USS ENTERPRISE in F-4B 152297. While just off the coastline near Thanh Hoa their aircraft was hit by enemy fire and the two men ejected. Although two parachutes were sighted, only LTJG Spencer eventually was identified as a prisoner of war. He was returned to US custody on 12 Feb 1973 during Operation Homecoming. LT Ruffin was not released in 1973 and none of the returning POWs had any knowledge of him.

On 20 August 1974 the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death, and now-LCDR Ruffin's status was changed to Died while Missing, Body not Recovered.

On 03 June 1983, the Vietnamese returned eight sets of human remains. On 27 June 1983, the US goverment announced that James T. Ruffin's remains had been identified. Burial was at Arlington National Cemetery on 09 July 1983.

Wanda Ruffin, wife of LCDR James T. Ruffin,
places roses beside her husband's coffin during
funeral ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

Additional photographs of LCDR Ruffin's
funeral service can be found on the
ArlingtonCemetery.com site

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Jeff Waites
14 Nov 2001

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 06/21/2005