ERNEST A. STAMM, CAPT, USN
Ernest Stamm '54
Date of birth: July 18, 1931
Date of death: January 16, 1969
From the 1954 Lucky Bag:
From Virtual Wall:
On 25 Nov 1968 an RA-5C (BuNo 149293) of RVAH-5 embarked in USS CONSTELLATION was conducting a photo recon flight along the 19th parallel in North Vietnam. The aircraft was flying at about 5500 feet and 550 knots when it was targeted by an anti-aircraft artillery site located near Van Tap, some 20 miles northwest of Vinh. The pilot jinked his aircraft to break the gunners' aim, but his F-4 escorts watched helplessly as the Vigilante exploded in flight, breaking up into four major pieces. Although two parachutes were sighted, there was no contact with the crew.
The pilot, then-Commander Ernest A. Stamm, was captured and reported to have died on 16 Jan 1969 of injuries received during the shoot-down. His remains were repatriated on 13 March 1974 and positively identified on 17 April 1974.
The RAN, LTJG Richard C. Thum of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, apparently did not survive the incident. His remains were repatriated on 30 Sep 1977 and positively identified on 25 Oct 1977.
From Find A Grave:
Navy Capt. Ernest A. Stamm's home of record is listed as Medford but his local ties are somewhat shrouded in mystery.
He was born July 18, 1931 in Butte, Mont., and graduated from Medford High School in 1949. How his family ended up in the Rogue Valley is not known. A city directory from that period indicates his family lived on West Main street.
Stamm entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1950 and was commissioned an ensign on June 4, 1954. He entered flight training in July 1956. He flew F9F-8B Cougar, FJ-4B Fury and A-4 Skyhawk planes. After attending nuclear weapons training, he became a special weapons officer.
For a year, beginning in November 1967, he flew missions off the USS Constellation. On Nov. 25, 1968, piloting an unarmed aircraft, Stamm led a photographic mission over North Vietnam. His plane was struck by anti-aircraft artillery and he lost control, forcing him to eject in enemy territory. He was taken as a prisoner of war and died in captivity on Jan. 16, 1969. His remains were returned to the U.S. on March 13, 1974. He is buried in Collinsville, Ill.
From Veteran tributes:
Ernest Stamm was born on July 18, 1931, in Butte, Montana. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1950, and was commissioned an Ensign on June 4, 1954. His first assignment was as a Division Officer aboard the destroyer USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729) from July 1954 to June 1956, followed by flight training from July 1956 until he was designated a Naval Aviator in June 1957. LT Stamm next served as an F9F-8B Cougar, FJ-4B Fury, and A-4 Skyhawk pilot with VA-56 at NAS Miramar, California, from December 1957 to October 1960. After attending Nuclear Weapons Training, he served as Special Weapons Officer on the staff of the Commander, Carrier Air Group FIVE from December 1960 to July 1962, followed by service as an instructor with the Navy ROTC detachment at the University of South Carolina from August 1962 to August 1965. LCDR Stamm next served as a ferry pilot with VRF-31 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, from August 1965 to March 1967, and then completed RA-5C Vigilante Replacement Pilot Training with RVAH-3 at NAS Sanford, Florida, from March to November 1967. CDR Stamm served as an RA-5C pilot with RVAH-5 from November 1967 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on November 25, 1968. He died in captivity on January 16, 1969, and his remains were returned to the United States on March 13, 1974. Capt Stamm was buried at the Holy Cross Lutheran Cemetery in Collinsville, Illinois.
From the December 1974 issue of Shipmate:
Cdr. Ernest Albert Stamm, USN, died 19 January 1969 while in captivity after having been shot down 25 November 1968 while on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. He was flying an RA-5 (Vigilante) of Reconnaissance Attack Squadron 5, operating from the USS Constellation (CVA-64).
A native of Butte, Montana, Cdr. Stamm graduated from the Naval Academy in 1954. He served in USS Swenson (DD-729), Carrier Air Group 5 and in an Attack Squadron. From 1963 to 1965 he was an Instructor of Naval Science at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C. and while there earned a Masters Degree in Foreign Affairs.
He is survived by his widow, Ruth, 1805 Paloma Ave., Sanford, FL 32771; a son, Ernest; a daughter, Kathy; and his mother, Mrs. Margarette H . Stamm of Medford, Oregon.
From Wall of Faces:
Ernie helped me get through PE(Boxing and wrestling) by taking it easy on my left shoulder and arm that had been injured playing high school football. He was a great guy and friend. It was a great loss to many when he left this world. CDR JAY R SMITH, JR (SC) USN RET., 7/28/13
Pray for you every day Dad!
Love you and missing you for way too many years.
Your son, David, DETAILKINGDES@YAHOO.COM, 8/2/12
Distinguished Flying Cross
From Hall of Valor:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Commander Ernest Albert Stamm, United States Navy, for heroism while participating in aerial flight on 25 November 1968 with Reconnaissance Squadron FIVE, embarked in U.S.S. CONSTELLATION (CVA-64) during combat operations in Southeast Asia. As the pilot of an RA5C aircraft, Commander Stamm led a photographic mission over North Vietnam in support of a special reconnaissance program. In the face of a rapidly building anti-aircraft artillery barrage and continuous tracking by enemy fire control radars, he skillfully maneuvered his unarmed aircraft along the prescribed route to gain complete photographic coverage of the assigned objective areas. Commander Stamm's aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire and immediately became uncontrollable, forcing him top eject into a hostile area. His professionalism, superb airmanship and steadfast courage were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: November 25, 1968
Company: Reconnaissance Attack Squadron 5
Division: U.S.S. Constellation (CVA-64)
Prisoner of War Medal
From Hall of Valor:
Commander Ernest Albert Stamm, United States Navy, was held as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from November 25, 1968 until his death in captivity on or about January 16, 1969.
Action Date: November 25, 1968 - January 16, 1969
Division: Prisoner of War (North Vietnam)