Craghead, Thomas James, Jr., GMG3

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Petty Officer Third Class
Last Primary NEC
GM-0000-Gunner's Mate
Last Rating/NEC Group
Gunner's Mate G (Guns)
Primary Unit
1967-1968, GMG-0000, PBR-725, River Section 535
Service Years
1965 - 1968
GMG-Gunner's Mate G (Guns)

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by John B. Bruneel, Sr. (DocAsaurus), HMCM to remember Craghead, Thomas James, Jr., GMG3.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Covington, VA
Last Address
Covington, VA

Casualty Date
Feb 04, 1968
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Phong Dinh (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Alleghany Memorial Park Cemetery - Covington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
37E 020

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans MemorialUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2014, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2014, United States Navy Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2014, The National Gold Star Family Registry

 Ribbon Bar

 Duty Stations
River Section 535, River Division 53 (RIVDIV 53)
  1967-1968, GMG-0000, PBR-725, River Section 535
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1967-1967 Vietnam War
  1968-1968 Vietnam War
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Vietnam Tour Dates
  Feb 08, 2014, General Photos1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Thomas - or Buddy as he was known to his family - was a wonderful son. Always willing to help, obedient and loving. He was the older brother of two sisters who adored him and were devastated by his death.

He chose the Navy rather than be drafted into the army. His father served in the Navy in World War II and he wanted to follow in his Dad's footsteps. Unfortunately, he was chosen for a gunner's mate which put him in much danger, because as his boat and three others were returning to their port on the Mekong River they were ambushed. His boat got safely through, but the boat behind them was hit. They turned around to help it and in so doing a sniper got him in the head. He must have been a good shot because the bullet went in at the temple. They rescued the others and several were wounded, but Buddy was the only casualty.

Buddy was well thought of as I received numerous letters about his character and his faith. At first I was glad that they got the one that killed our Buddy. But after a few years, I had to ask forgiveness for those feelings -- after all, he was somebody's son also.

In 1994, his captain, Ron "Pappy" Hines, although not on the boat when Tom was killed, toured Texas with the Patrol boats letting the Nation know the Navy's part in the Vietnam war. It was at this time his father and I went to Houston and met Capt. Hines and a boat was dedicated in Tom's memory. He said that Tom was like a son to him. I would like to quote from a book Delta Devils, A Sailor's Story written by Ron Hines. I know his book has a copyright, but feel he would not mind my inserting this section in memory of Tom:


"Word raced through the barracks, the patrol was coming back with a casualty. The medics and stretcher bearers were there. From the Commanding Officer on down were there. The first boat tied up. A man was lying on deck and the faces of the crew told us the medics would not be needed, a Chaplain was.

"I knew Gunners Mate Craghead, a young man who was liked by everyone. He died from a single bullet wound in the forehead. An enemy marksman had been imported from Hanoi to try and demoralize our new river section. The marksman was killed by the patrol. His body and high powered scope equipped rifle was recovered. The ambush site was 'The Hanging Tree.'"

Even after all these years we love and miss Buddy. He would certainly be a lot of help to me now, as his father has Alzheimer's. But we know that because of his salvation through his faith in Jesus (and ours also), we will see and embrace him again.

This memorial is submitted with love and honor
for our only son, who gave his life for his country,
by his mother.

Edna Mae Craghead

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