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Maj Thomas Edward Reitmann

Maj Thomas Edward Reitmann

Birth
Red Wing, Goodhue County, Minnesota, USA
Death 1 Dec 1965 (aged 34)
Vietnam
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Secton 64 Site 3953
Memorial ID 69825306 · View Source
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Published in the Red Wing Republican Eagle, May 14, 2011:

A Red Wing soldier will be laid to rest on U.S. soil 46 years after his death.

The remains of Maj. Thomas Reitmann, an Air Force fighter pilot, were recently recovered in Vietnam, where he died in 1965 during the war when his plane was shot down during an air strike.

Reitmann grew up in Red Wing and graduated from Red Wing High School in 1948, said his cousin Dewey Johnson, who graduated the same year.

He was on the football team and was "just a real nice guy," Johnson said.

The news that the remains had been recovered came as a surprise to Johnson, who hadn't seen Reitmann since high school.

"I was just kind of stunned to hear that after so many years," he said.

It is a common reaction for families receiving this kind of information, said Bob Davis, Goodhue County Veterans Service officer.

"There's some initial shock and then relief, to finally know for sure," he said. "There's a sense of closure, but still the grief even after so many years."

Reitmann will receive a full military burial at Arlington National Cemetery. His family was notified earlier this week.

Reitmann was married and had four children, Johnson said, the youngest of which was born just six months before Reitmann's death.

While flying in a bombing strike on a railroad bridge, then-Capt. Reitmann's plane was hit by enemy fire and crashed. There was no evidence Reitmann had survived the crash, but he was classified as missing in action. He was promoted to major while MIA.

In the summer of 1973, the military determined Reitmann had died in the crash but had not recovered his remains.

Reitmann was killed Dec. 1, 1965, just before his 35th birthday.

Red Wing resident and Vietnam veteran Bud Stolpa maintains a page on Reitmann on an Air Force site that has profiles for all MIA Air Force members.

"It is gratifying to learn that he is finally coming home," Stolpa said in an email.

Davis said he believed Reitmann was the last missing Goodhue County soldier from the Vietnam War. Another, Maj. Ben Danielson of Kenyon, was found in 2007.

The relatively recent use of DNA testing has made identifying remains much easier, Davis said, and is helping identify not only Vietnam soldiers, but the remains of those who died in World War II and the Korean War as well.

The Department of Defense has a special team based out of Hawaii dedicated to finding soldiers' remains, Davis said.

There are 14 men from Goodhue County who died during the Vietnam War.

Reitmann will get a special mention during this year's Field of Honor event, which includes a flag display at Bay Point Park from May 27 through Memorial Day, May 31.


Published in the Red Wing Republican Eagle, Sept. 1, 2011:

Edward Reitmann, MAJ, U.S. Air Force, Dec. 8, 1930 - Dec. 1, 1965, born in Red Wing, Minn., to Edward and Mathilda Reitmann, Tom graduated from Red Wing High School in 1948 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving in London, England, and Port Lyautey, French Morocco, during the Korean Conflict. He left the Navy in 1952 and worked as a shoe salesman and radio station disc jockey before attending the U.S. Air Force Officer Candidate School and flight school where he received his wings as a fighter pilot at Greenville Air Base Mississippi in 1958.

On Dec. 1, 1965, Tom was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire while on a mission over North Vietnam and declared missing in action from Dec. 1, 1965, to June 26, 1973, when his status was changed to killed in action but unaccounted for. Through the tireless efforts of the dedicated men and women of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, Tom's remains were returned to U.S. soil and identified in May 2011.

Tom loved his family, his country, flying, and life - but most of all his Heavenly Father.

Upon hearing Tom had been shot down, his priest in Southeast Asia wrote to the family, "Tom's faith wasn't just at church, it was part of his life…My faith tells me that he is with God and God is with him."

Tom's final homecoming is celebrated by his wife, Carol Reitmann Sumner of Honolulu, Hawaii; daughter Kimberly Lorigan of Apollo Beach, Fla.; son Thomas Reitmann II of Eugene, Ore.; son Michael Reitmann of Clayton, Calif.; daughter Karen Mutobe of Ewa Beach, Hawaii; brother, Ed Reitmann of Excelsior, Minn.; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and many family members and friends.

A funeral liturgy will be held on Sept. 8 at the Old Post Chapel, Ft. Myer, Va., followed by interment with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Expressions of remembrance may be sent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Education Center.


Family Members


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  • Created by: DaveVangsness
  • Added: 14 May 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 69825306
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Maj Thomas Edward Reitmann (8 Dec 1930–1 Dec 1965), Find A Grave Memorial no. 69825306, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by DaveVangsness (contributor 16959198) .