Douglas A/B-26 Invader

Nimrods of the 609th

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Fear Not Death


Oh peaceful sleep what a wonderful adventure

No more dreams of the past or dread of the future

To dream of beauty and rest

At death you have reached the crest.


To lie in peaceful harmony

To await no further agony.

At last to meet those of which you have dreamed

The ones at night of which you have screamed.


Death not to fear

Just the final part of life, one to revere.

Not a chance of return

Nor would one for that to yearn.


At last to be at rest

With those of which you knew best.

Brothers and family of long ago

When will life let us go?


No morbid thoughts do I reveal

For at times this is just how I feel.

We all will travel this way

For on this earth we cannot stay.


But to long for the feeling of relief

Is natural to some that suffer grief.

Fell no pity for the writer of this verse

For within the days to come remember it could have been worse.


Rather look with fond remembrance of he that pass

And know that peace he has found at last.

Oh he will live from day to day

For a while on this earth he must stay.


Brothers of war lives lost so long ago

Up to meet them he also must go.

With friendship and love from God above

Surely then he will find peace and eternal love



The sleek black beauty sits on high
Frothing vengeance from the sky.
A nimble candle lights a light,
The enemy convoy
comes into sight.
The marks are place
d, no more to say,
That valiant bird is on his prey.
With nerves of steel
he makes each run
The guns are up
but this is fun.
His load is gone, h
is guns are dry
The weary Nimrod r
elieves a sigh.
Now the time has come
and he must go
But God, he's been a fearless foe.
His wings are clipped, he'll
cease to soar
That mighty hunter we'll hear no more.
But in our hearts they'll live
For we'll have known we've fought
with men.
- Anonymous



The sound of "Taps" filled the air at Arlington National Cemetery Monday as the families of two missing Air Force pilots who died together during the Vietnam War finally laid their loved ones to rest.

James Sizemore and Howard Andre were friends at Georgia Tech University and later reunited as the crew of a Douglas A-26 invader. The two died in July 1969 when their bomber crashed over Laos.

Their caskets were interred as they stood during the war - side by side.

"It's very meaningful. They flew together, they died together and they ought to be buried together," James Sizemore's brother Gene Sizemore said.

Seizemore was the pilot and Andre, the navigator during that fateful nighttime flight over the Plain of Jars region of Xiangkhouang Province, according to The A26 invaders were deployed to perform "hunter-killer missions against truck convoys" in Laos.

Their plane was shot down by hostile fire, and military officials were told they couldn't have survived the crash. The two were classified as "Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered."

Three years ago, a joint U.S./Lao People's Democratic Republic team recovered human remains, personal effects and military equipment at the site of crash; and in April, scientists with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command task force identified the remains as those of Sizemore and Andre.

"I think we'll finally get some closure -- at least I'm hoping," Sizemore's nephew Bill Sizemore said.

Sequestration forced the men's families to pay for the traditional flyover -- a final tribune to the fallen airmen. The families utilized the help of Warrier Aviation to help the flyover become a reality.

Both men were buried with full military honors.

Roll of honour

For those who went and returned, and for those who went and stayed

TA  641 - Unnamed (sent to S. Vietnam November 1969)

TA 642Unnamed - flown by Lt. Col. BA Jensen (Pilot) and Capt. F.E. Smiley (Navigator) ... (both MIA August 1967)

TA 643 - Unnamed - flown by Major G.G. Duke (Pilot) and Capt. M.T. Tanimoto (Navigator) ... (both KIA July 1966)

TA 644 - Unnamed (sent to S. Vietnam November 1969)

TA 645 - Flown by Capt. Carlos Rafael Kruz (Pilot), Capt. William Potter (Navigator) and A1C Paul Foster ... (all KIA December 1967)

TA-646 - Unnamed - flown by Major James Sizemore (Pilot) and Major Howard Andre (Navigator) ... (all KIA July 1969)

TA 648 - "Nother Trucker" - flown by Capt. R.E. Pietsch (Pilot) and 1/Lt. L.F. Gullermin (Navigator) ... (both MIA April 1968)


TA 649 - "Sweet Therese" - flown by Captain Paul "Hulk" Marschalk (Pilot) and Capt. Leon "Crazy" Poteet (Navigator) ... (to storage at Davis Monthan November 1969 .... reclaimed 1972)


TA 650 - Unnamed - flown by Capt. C.G. Dudley (Pilot), 1/Lt. A.F. Cavelli (Navigator) and one passenger ... (all KIA June 1966)


TA 651 - "Mighty Mouse" - flown by then Major Charles "Charlie" Vogler (Pilot) and Captain Norman Wolf (Navigator) - now on display at KAI Aerospace Museum, Sacheon South Korea


TA 652 - Unnamed (sent to S. Vietnam November 1969)


TA 653 - Unnamed (now on display at PIMA County Air Museum, Tuscon AZ


TA 654 - "The Kids Toy" (sent to S. Vietnam November 1969)


TA 660 - Unnamed (returned to storage at Davis Monthan in November 1969 ... reclaimed 1972)


TA 661 - Unnamed (returned to storage at Davis Monthan in November 1969 ... reclaimed 1972)


TA 662 - Unnamed - flown by Capt. J.C. Kerr (Pilot) and 1/Lt. B.H. Morgan (Navigator) ... (both KIA August 1967)


TA 664 - Unnamed (to  1 ACO WG at England AFB  November 1967 and then to storage at Davis Monthan ... reclaimed 1972)


TA 665 - Unnamed (to storage at Davis Monthan November 1969 ... reclaimed 1972)


TA 666 - Unnamed - flown by Lt. Col. Thomas Wickstrom (Pilot) .... (on display/preserved at Hurlburt Field, Ft. Walton Beach FL November 1969)


TA 667 - Unnamed - flown by Captain J.W. Widdis (Pilot) and Capt. R.C. Davis ... (both MIA March 1969)


TA 668 - Unnamed (abandoned in mid-air near NKP after engine fire caused by AA hit.  Crew of 2 picked up by helicopter ... February 1967)


TA 669 - Unnamed - flown by Captain Capt. D.S. Campbell (Pilot) and Capt. R.I. Scholl (Navigator) ... (both KIA when TA 668 blew up ... February 1967)


TA 670 - "Up Tight" (returned to storage at Davis Monthan in November 1969 - reclaimed)


TA 671 - Unnamed (to storage at Davis Monthan November 1969 ... preserved in museum at Florence S.C.)


TA 672 - Unnamed (abandoned in mid-air near Thai-Laotian border after engine fire caused by AA hit - crew of 3 picked up by helicopter - March 1969)


TA 673 - Unnamed - flown by Capt. N.E. Monette (Pilot) and Maj. J. Callahan (Navigator) ... (both KIA March 1969 due to gear malfunction and fuel starvation)


TA 675 - Unnamed (to storage at Davis Monthan November 1969 ... reclaimed 1972)


TA 676 - Unnamed (to 1 ACO WG England AFB and later to Davis Monthan.  Now on display at USAF Museum, Dayton OH)


TA 677 - "Batplane" - flown by Al "Batman" (Pilot) and Larry "Robin" Counts (Navigator) ... (to S. Vietnam November 1969)


TA 678 - Unnamed (to 1 ACO WG England AFB and later to Davis Monthan ... reclaimed 1973)








"Nimrods" was the nick-name of the 609th Special Operations Squadron, U.S. Air Force. The unit was based at Nakhon Phantom, in north-eastern Thailand (but almost directly on the border to central Laos), in 1969, and operated against the North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao, inside Laos.

The following photographs were supplied to us by Mr. Jim Sizemore, son of Major James E. Sizemore, pilot with 609th SOS "Nimrods", killed in a crash on 8 July 1969, together with his co-pilot, Major Howard Andre. Their A-26A came down near Xieng Khouang, on the Plain of Jars, by night. The wreckage of the aircraft was found by the Joint Task Force for MIA/KIA, in 1991, but no human remains were found inside the cockpit, and the final fate of the crew was never established.




Group-photo of the 609th SOS Nimrods, at "NKP" (Nakhon-Phanom), in Thailand, taken prior to 8 July 1969. USAF Maj. Nolan Schmidt is straddling the nose section, and Maj. James E. Sizemore is seen standing on the PSP in the middle foreground. The 609th SOS was operating against the North Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao positions in the Barrel Roll and the Steel Tiger areas. The unit was withdrawn from NKP in October 1969. (Photo: Jim Sizemore collection)

Above and below.........Survivors from the 609th SOS as seen at their re-union, in 1992, at Hulbert Field, Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The men are standing in front of the A-26A "666", that was in service with the squadron at NKP, during the Air Commando operations from Thailand. Tom Wickstrom, seen in the photo as well, was one of the pilots who flew the A-26As home from NKP, in October 1969: his last mount is now on display at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, residing in the Presidential Experimental hangar. (Photo: Jim Sizemore collection)






The above shot shows Larry Clunk, Crew chief in the 609th at NKP during '68-'69 nest to aircraft '651 "Roadrunner". The A-26 was a great bird.
Tail #666 is at Hurlburt Field Fl on display at the gate. That's the last A-26 that Larry flew an FCF on before leaving the 609th.