James Elmo SizemoreMajor
609TH SPECIAL OPS SQDN, 56TH SOW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
11 October 1930 - 08 July 1969
San Diego, California
Panel 21W Line 086
The database page for James Elmo Sizemore
Dad flew with the 609th SOS call sign NIMROD out of Nakon Phanom, Thailand, from January to July 8th, 1969. He was killed with Major Howard Andre while they were returning to base flying an A-26A on a night mission of bombing the Ho Chi Minh Trail in southern Laos. They were called for air to ground support over the PDJ in Laos when their plane struck the karst. Both men were instantly killed. Dad and Howard are both on the Wall, panel W-21, Howard is on line 80 and dad is on line 86.
ODE TO A NIMRODThe sleek black beauty sits on high
Frothing vengance from the sky.
A nimble candle lights a light,
The enemy convoy comes into sight.
The marks are placed, no more to say,
That valiant bird is on his prey.
With nerves of steel he makes each run
The guns are up but this is fun.
His load is gone, his guns are dry
The weary nimrod relieves a sigh.
Now the time has come and he must go
But God, he's been a fearless foe.
His wings are clipped, he'll cease to soar
That mighty hunter we'll hear no more.
But in our hearts they'll live again,
For we'll have known we've fought with men.
- Anonymous -
From the son of a fellow Nimrod, LtCol Charles C. Vogler,
Just months before this photograph was taken, two girls spent an afternoon making pralines in Spangdahlem, Germany. A smiling, handsome Dad arrived home - still wearing his flight suit. We sat in the kitchen, enjoying some of our candy and talking about our day. Just a short time later Becky and I left for the States, and her Dad left for Vietnam. Our letters were mostly about new schools, friends, clothes, and the stress of being 7th graders in a country that had changed so much in the years we'd been gone. Until the letter about her Dad. He was missing. Simply that. The letters became less frequent, until by the time we were Seniors there were no more. Too many moves and life changes. Years later while trying to find my old friend, I learned Major Sizemore had been declared officially dead. I visited the traveling "Wall" just to say goodbye to him, and the years disappeared as I remembered that smile, the times together and how fun he was. Becky and Jeff - I am so very sorry - for all you lost - for all we lost.
Notes from The Virtual Wall
Notes from The Virtual Wall
The Invader returned to Vietnam with the US Air Force in the early 1960s, relabeled as the "RB-26" to avoid Geneva Convention prohibitions against placing bombers in Vietnam. The first Invader loss occurred on 05 Nov 1962, when B-26B serial 44-35530 was shot down in An Xuyen Province (Capt R. D. Bennett, 1stLt W. B. Tully, VNAF observer all killed in action). Just a month earlier a B-26 had been delivered to On Mark Engineering for what amounted to a rebuild, resulting in the B-26K. The first of 40 rebuilt aircraft was delivered to the Air Force in June 1964, shortly after the "RB-26" airframes were withdrawn from Vietnam due to metal fatigue problems. Eight of the new aircraft were deployed to Nakon Phanom RTAFB in June 1966 - but first they were redesignated as the A-26A to avoid controversy over basing bombers in Thailand.
The A-26A was an instant success in the night interdiction mission, and the original detachment was expanded to a full squadron. Thirty of the 40 rebuilt A-26As served in Vietnam before the aircraft flew its last mission in November 1969. In the photo above, Major Sizemore is standing in front of A-26A serial 64-17644, an airframe originally built as A-26C serial 44-35451. That aircraft had been loaned to Chile as FAC644, returned to the USAF, and was rebuilt as B-26K 64-17644 in 1964.
The 609th SOS flew Barrel Roll missions in northern and central Laos as well as interdiction missions over the Trail. A-26A serial 64-17646, flown by Majors Sizemore and Andre, went down on 08 July 1969 near Ban Keo Koong on the southern edge of the Plaine des Jarres. Sizemore was coming off a strafing run against ground troops when the aircraft struck a karst outcropping in an unsurvivable crash.
A-26A 64-17646, originally built as A-26C serial 44-35375, was remanufactured to B-26K standards in 1964 and was the last of 12 A-26As lost in Vietnam.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 04 Oct 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009