Rest In Peace Brother
|Birth:||Feb. 19, 1954|
|Death:||May 13, 1975|
Bob Ford grew up in Seminole, Texas. He was the son of Betty Hill of Midland and Robert Ford of Seminole. He was a 1972 graduate of Seminole High School. He enlisted in the Air Force right after graduation and attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and then was trained as an Air Force Security Policeman at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida. He was then assigned to Kingsley AFB in Klamath Falls, Oregon from late 1972 to 1975. Bob had been attending college while in the Air Force and was wanting to complete a law enforcement degree and his desire was to become a highway patrolman. He was close to completing his associate's degree and he had decided to re-enlist in the Air Force for four more years in order to help achieve that goal.
Bob began a tour in Thailand in early 1975. On May 12, 1975, the S.S. MAYAQUEZ, an American Merchant Marine Vessel and its crew were seized by a Camodian gunboat off the coast of the Gulf of Siam. The vessel was taken to the island of Poulo Wai and the crew was transferred to gunboats and fishing vessels and were headed to the Cambodian Mainland. In order to prevent another U.S.S. Pueblo incident, the American reaction was swift and violent. Over the next 24 hours, it was decided to attempt a rescue of the crew. U.S. Marines, Navy and U.S. Air Force personnel were assigned to this task. The 56th Security Operation Squadron were dispatched from Nahkom Phanom Royal Thailand Air Force base, located in the Northeast section of Thaland, to provide security and to assist in the rescue operations. The CH-53, Tail Number 68-1033 departed with a crew of 4 and 17 USAF Security Police including Sgt. Ford. The helicopter crashed approximately 330 miles NE of Bangkok on the Thai-Laotion border, killing all aboard. The area was full of dense jungle prohibiting air recovery, therefore it took several days before a ground party could locate the wreckage and retrieve the bodies.
Sgt Ford was escorted home by his friend Steven Cluff and was laid to rest with full military honors in his home town of Seminole, Texas.
SERGEANT BOB WAYNE FORD BECAME THE LAST PERMIAN BASIN RESIDENT TO DIE IN THE VIETNAM WAR.
Awards and Decorations: Air Force Commendation's Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Gaines County Memorial Cemetery
May He Rest In Peace And God Bless His Family