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The Story of and Memorial to the Crew of Tide 86

  • Vietnam veteran Chief Thomas J. Echols.
    Vietnam veteran Chief Thomas J. Echols.
  • (L to R): Jim Clark, Floyd Harrison, and Tom Echols at Jungle Survival School, November 1966.
    (L to R): Jim Clark, Floyd Harrison, and Tom Echols at Jungle Survival School, November 1966.

These documents concern the crew of Tide 86, which was lost over Vietnam in March 1967. One is a first hand account by Chief Thomas J. Echols and the other tells the story of the mission and lists the crew along with memorials to them.

  • Thomas J. Echols

    Thomas J. Echols

    Air Force

    Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt [E-9])

    Served in: Vietnam War

    From: San Angelo, Texas (Goodfellow Air Force Base Assignment)

    Chief Thomas J. Echols was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia and attended Morehouse College and Atlanta University. After enlisting in the USAF in February 1955, he completed his basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. He also trained at the Communication Systems School at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi.

    An assignment to the 6940th Security Wing brought Echols to San Angelo, Texas in August 1965 before he was reassigned to the 6994th Security Squadron at Nha Trang Air Base in South Vietnam in 1966.

    Chief Echols’s decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star (with “V” device), the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with Five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon with Star Device.