THOMAS E. MURRAY, LTJG, USN
Thomas Murray '62
Date of birth: February 15, 1939
Date of death: October 28, 1965
From the 1962 Lucky Bag:
From Together We Served:
Tom graduated two years after I joined the Navy. He received a selection to the Naval Academy after graduation. The last time I met him we were both on leave and back in St. Clair. He came by my aunt's house where we were visiting and we sat out in the front yard and talked until three in the morning. The academy had changed him into a confident young man. This country lost one of its finest when Tom's aircraft was shot up and went down at sea. As an aside, Tom's mother was my 8th grade teacher. James Engelken, Monday, May 6, 2002
Tom was lost when he ejected after his A-4C inverted on approach to USS Midway (CVA 41) on October 28, 1965.
From Wall of Faces:
On October, 28 1965, LTJG Thomas E. Murray was KIA when his Douglas A-4C Skyhawk (serial number 148596) crashed astern of the USS Midway after a combat mission. The USS Ingersoll (DD-652) whaleboat recovered the pilot who was pronounced dead by the Ingersoll's medical officer. There is a personal account for this incident from Johnny Hale: “I was flying rescue air crewman onboard the Midway in 1965. I pulled a dead pilot from the water who had ejected on landing. I believe this is the crash of the A-4C 148596 28 October 1965. The pilot's name was LTJG T.E. Murray. He was coming in for a landing, about 200 feet from the water when his plane inverted and he ejected. When I got to him he was face down in the water and with his chute deployed around him. I turned him over on his back and pulled his oxygen mask off and blood was in it. I couldn't get him out of his chute because when I turned him loose he started to sink. His raft popped up and I inflated it, got in and held on to Mr. Murray until a boat from the destroyer got to us. We got him back to the Midway and the doctor told me he had a concussion, crushed chest, and two broken legs. His helmet had a big piece out of it and his visor cover was broken in half.” (Narrative by Johnny Hale) [Taken from a4skyhawk.org]
From the Class of 1962:
Ltjg. Thomas Murray died in an aircraft accident in the South China Sea on 28 October 1965. After completing over 100 combat missions with Attack Squadron 22, Task Force 77, Tom was making the carrier approach to USS Midway upon returning from a combat mission when the accident occurred.
Tom's body was recovered and is buried in Midlawn Cemetery in Union, MO.
He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Lay Murray, and a sister, Mary Elizabeth, both of 255 Murray St., St. Clair, MO.
Tom is among those names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Geoffrey Osborn '62 was also a member of 1st Company and shares the same Lucky Bag biography page.
Peter Nelson '62 was also on the Wrestling Team.
Memorial Hall Error?
Thomas is not listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall. While not an obvious error, inclusion on the panel for crashes like this—which appears to be incidental to a combat flight—has been inconsistent across WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.