Tolbert, Clarence Orfield, CDR

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Commander
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1972-1972, 131X, VA-56
Service Years
1962 - 1972
Commander
Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

17 kb

Home State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Year of Birth
1939
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sheila Rae Myers, HM3 to remember Tolbert, Clarence Orfield, CDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Tishomingo, OK
Last Address
Tishomingo, OK

Casualty Date
Nov 06, 1972
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Troy Cemetery - Troy, Oklahoma
Wall/Plot Coordinates
01W 089

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 




 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

 Note:            Promoted while in MIA status to Commander

CASUALTY DATA
  Start Tour:          Not Recorded
  Incident Date:    11/06/1972
  Casualty Date:   03/23/1978
TOLBERT, CLARENCE ORFIELD Remains Returned November 3, 1988

Commander Clarence O. Tolbert was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 56 onboard the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY. On November 6, 1972, Tolbert launched in his A7B "Corsair" in a flight of two on a reconnaissance mission into Nghe An Province, North Vietnam. The aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire in the starboard wing during the mission. Commander Tolbert immediately turned the aircraft towards the coast (the favored evasion route), just as it caught fire. The fire went out within seconds but the aircraft continued to stream fuel. Within 1 1/2 miles from the coast the flight controls apparently froze and the aircraft impacted the ground in a flat spin. Tolbert's wingman observed the aircraft from the time it was hit until impact with the ground and observed no ejection or parachute. No radio communication was established during the whole episode. An active search and rescue effort was discontinued due to lack of visual or voice contact. An article appeared in the November 15, 1972 edition of Nhan Dan newspaper in Hanoi which stated that the Vietnamese forces had shot down a U.S. aircraft on that date and that the pilot ejected but the parachute did not open.
 
   
Comments/Citation

Distinguished Flying Cross
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Clarence Orfield Tolbert (NSN: 0-659511/1310), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 7 July 1966 as a pilot in Attack Squadron TWO HUNDRED SIXTEEN (VA-216), embarked in U.S.S. HANCOCK (CVA-19). While flying as wingman in the last division of aircraft, Lieutenant Tolbert demonstrated outstanding courage and determination in the face of heavy enemy opposition during a coordinated attack against the heavily-defended POL facility at Haiphong, North Vietnam. He executed a well-coordinated and perfectly timed attack through an intense barrage of enemy anti-aircraft fire, scoring several direct hits. His exceptional bombing accuracy under the most difficult and hazardous conditions was responsible for the destruction of a large pump house and extensive damage to several oil storage tanks, thus contributing significantly to the overall extraordinary success of this mission. Lieutenant Tolbert's heroic actions and exceptional airmanship were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: July 7, 1966
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Attack Squadron 216
Division: U.S.S. Hancock (CVA-19)
 
Silver Star
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Clarence Orfield Tolbert (NSN: 0-659511/1310), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on 1 May 1966 as a pilot in Attack Squadron TWO HUNDRED SIXTEEN (VA-216), embarked in USS HANCOCK (CVA-19), during a strike against an enemy surface-to-air missile site in North Vietnam. Lieutenant Tolbert provided essential intelligence regarding the location of the missile site and its defenses, voluntarily piloted his aircraft as the strike leader's wingman and deliberately exposed himself to a missile firing in order to determine the exact location of the launching site. In the face of an intense barrage of medium antiaircraft fire, he made repeated bombing attacks on the site, inflicting heavy damage to several missile launchers. When his aircraft was severely crippled by two successive multiple-round antiaircraft bursts, Lieutenant Tolbert displayed unusual resourcefulness and exceptional airmanship in bringing the aircraft aboard ship to a safe landing using emergency manual flight controls. His courageous actions and outstanding performance in the face of intense enemy fire reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: May 1, 1966
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Attack Squadron 216 (VA-216)
Division: U.S.S. Hancock (CVA-19)
   

 Tributes from Members  
Graduate, USNA, Class of 1962 posted by Myers, Sheila Rae (TWS Memorial Team), HM3 90
To: LCDR posted by Myers, Sheila Rae (TWS Memorial Team), HM3 90
I remember everyone called him "Smoke" posted by Myers, Sheila Rae (TWS Memorial Team), HM3 90
Friends of Smokey posted by Myers, Sheila Rae (TWS Memorial Team), HM3 90
Home Town Tribute posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 439
Murray State College posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 439
Blue Angles Association posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 439
America's Gift posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 439
Project White Horse posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 439
Veteran Tributes posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 439
 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
USS Arneb (LKA-56)Naval Aviation Schools Command (Staff)VA-125 Rough RidersUSS Hancock (CV/CVA-19)
VA-216 Black DiamondsVA-122 Flying EaglesBlue Angels, Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS)Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility (NWEF) Albuquerque
VF-202 SuperheatsVA-43VF-174 HellrazorsUSS Midway (CVA-41)
VA-56
  1962-1962, 110X, USS Arneb (LKA-56)
  1962-1964, 131X, Naval Aviation Schools Command (Staff)
  1964-1964, 131X, VA-125 Rough Riders
  1964-1966, 131X, USS Hancock (CV/CVA-19)
  1964-1967, 131X, VA-216 Black Diamonds
  1967-1968, 131X, VA-122 Flying Eagles
  1968-1968, 131X, Blue Angels, Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS)
  1969-1969, 131X, Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility (NWEF) Albuquerque
  1969-1970, 131X, VF-202 Superheats
  1970-1972, 131X, VA-43
  1972-1972, 131X, VF-174 Hellrazors
  1972-1972, 131X, USS Midway (CVA-41)
  1972-1972, 131X, VA-56
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1964-1965 Yankee Station, North Vietnam
  1964-1972 Vietnam War
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Advisory Campaign (62-65)/Operation Flaming Dart II
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Advisory Campaign (62-65)/Operation Flaming Dart
  1965-1966 Operation Rolling Thunder I
  1966-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (65-66)/Operation Jackstay
  1972-1972 Vietnam War/Vietnam Cease-fire Campaign (72-73)/Operation Linebacker I
  1972-1972 Vietnam War/Vietnam Cease-fire Campaign (72-73)/Operation Pocket Money
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1958-1962, United States Naval Academy2
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  From the Lucky Bag - USNA yearbook
  Jan 01, 1970, Promoted to Lieutenant Commander
  Sep 01, 1977, Promoted to Commander
  Nov 03, 1988, Remains repatriated
  Feb 24, 1989, Remains of MIAs Identified1
  Jan 03, 2013, General Photos3
 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial American Battle Monuments Commission
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2017, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2018, American Battle Monuments Commission
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