COL Thomas Gardner “El Toro” Derrickson II


COL Thomas Gardner “El Toro” Derrickson II

Los Altos, Santa Clara County, California, USA
Death 12 Oct 1967 (aged 31)
Cenotaph Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
Plot Lot 3, row 3, site 20
Memorial ID 17906623 · View Source
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In loving memory of... Thomas Gardner Derrickson, II.
*** Lieutenant Colonel Derrickson was a member of the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Can Ron Bay, Airbase, South Vietnam. On October 12, 1967, he was the pilot of a McDonnell Douglas Phantom II Fighter (F-4C) on an armed Reconnaissance mission about 15 miles south of Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam some 25 miles north of the demilitarized Zone.. As the plane dove on a target it received anti-aircraft fire and crashed. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

You may be gone, no longer living on this earth; but you will live on - in the memories of your family and friends. There will always be a part of you living in those who knew you. You will live on because we remember you!

Age: 31
Race: Caucasian
Date of Birth Mar 10, 1936
County of Record: SANTA CLARA COUNTY
Marital Status: Married - Dorothy Ann Fisher Derrickson - Born Apr. 16, 1937 and Died January 25, 1968. Daughter, Lorraine C. Derrickson of Ellyn, Ill., Daughter, Mary Aseneth Derrickson of Cupertino CA. Son - Thomas L. Derrickson, III. Birth: Nov. 28, 1962 - Death: May 31, 1963
Burial: United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
Plot: 003 D 019
Parents: Father. Thomas Gardner Derrickson, Born Mar. 3, 1915, Bevier , Macon County, Missouri and Died, Nov. 29, 1964 in Los Altos, Santa Clara County, California and Mother, Mary Aseneth Parker Derrickson, born 1915.

* Paternal Grandparents: (Dec.13,1979 - Re-married - Mrs Mary A Griffith .Thomas Gardner Derrickson, born March 15, 1915 in Missouri and died Nov. 29, 1964 in Santa Clara, CA. His mother's name was Pico.
* Maternal Grandparents: Frank F. Fischer and , , of Winter Haven, Florida.

LTC - O5 - Air Force - Regular
His tour began on Oct 12, 1967
Casualty was on Dec 12, 1979
Hostile, died while missing, FIXED WING - PILOT
Body was not recovered
PersonID - 19590320
Graduation - 1959
KIA Date - 10/12/1967
Squadron - CS 08
High School - Mountain View Union HS, Mountain View, CA
HS Activities - Explorer Scout, Civil Air Patrol, Football
Post HS-University of California,1954-55, Navy ROTC
Academy Exp.-Ski Club,Soaring Club,Distinguished Graduate
Academic Degree Major - BS-USAFA
Next of Kin - Dorothy Ann Fisher Derrickson, Wife, Lorraine C. Derrickson, Daughter, Mary A. Derrickson, Mother

Active Duty Assignments - Pilot Training, Pilot, F-100, Pilot, F-105, Aerospace Research Pilot School, Pilot, F-4C, Test Pilot, T-33/F-105/F-100, Pilot, F-4C
KIA Conflict - Vietnam
Combat Information - Assigned to the 557th Tactical Fighter Squad,12 TFW,Cam Ranh Bay AB,South Vietnam,as a F4C pilot.
Class of 1959
MIA Information - MIA, 10/12/1967 DED - 12/12/79
Aeronautical Speciality Rating - Pilot
Notable Decoration Awards - Purple Heart
Comments - Promoted to 0-6 during the time he was missing
Panel 27E - Line 97

Capt. Derrickson and 1st Lt. John K. Hardy were the crew of an F4C

On October 12, 1967, he was the pilot of a McDonnell Douglas Phantom II Fighter (F-4C)on an armed reconnaissance mission about 15 miles south of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam some 25 miles north of the demilitarized Zone.

Capt. Thomas G. Derrickson II and 1Lt. John K. Hardy Jr. comprised the crew of an F4C Phantom jet assigned an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam.

Derrickson and Hardy were in the lead aircraft in a flight of two. Over Quang Binh Province, they sighted ground targets and radioed to their wingman, they were "rolling in."

Shortly thereafter, the wingman saw a flash of yellow light followed by a fire and a cloud of black smoke.

Attempts to contact Derrickson and Hardy were unsuccessful.

It is known that their last known location was about 15 miles south of the city of Dong Hoi, some 25 miles north of the Demilitarized Zone in North Vietnam. Anti-aircraft resistance was heavy in this region.

Both men were declared Missing in Action.


Class of 1959
- killed on 12 October 1967 as an F-4C pilot on an armed reconnaissance mission when his plane was hit by hostile ground fire
- flying the lead in a flight of two F-4Cs, sighted the ground targets and radioed that he would "roll-in"
- the second plane then saw a large flash of yellow light, followed by a cloud of black smoke and no parachutes were seen, no beepers were heard, and contact was unsuccessful
- member of the 557th TFS at the time
- status was officially changed to KIA on 12 December 1979
- as a cadet, made the Superintendent's Merit List and named a distinguished cadet
- previously earned an Ace Award and an NROTC Scholarship
- military decorations include 2 AF Longevity Ribbons and 1 National Defense Ribbon, among others
- name is on the USAFA War Memorial
Bullets compiled by Heather Beer, Association of Graduates intern, Summer 2005.


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  • Maintained by: Eddieb
  • Originally Created by: HEE
  • Added: 12 Feb 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 17906623
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for COL Thomas Gardner “El Toro” Derrickson II (10 Mar 1936–12 Oct 1967), Find a Grave Memorial ID 17906623, citing United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Eddieb (contributor 46600350) .