Sadly......I just got off the phone with Mary Richardson who informed me that her father, Lt Col Tom Richardson, is dead. He was found in his home in Gatesville, Texas by his sister and relatives after a day of no contact. "Col Tom" as he was affectionately known, was the lead navigator on Major Hardin's crew at Eielson with the initiation of RC-135 flights from there. He later served at the SAC RECON Center and was the commander of the 6988th at Yokota from `68 to `71 and a long time member of the SOBs who looked forward to every reunion.

//Gary Belcher//


Gatesville is one of those little Texas towns you have to slow down to get through. It's maybe a mile and a half long and a few blocks wide and looks like you fell into a time warp to the `50s. The local newspaper is published once a week.

Last Saturday in Gatesville it dawned overcast, windy and hot. By two in the afternoon it was beginning to clear but the wind was still strong enough to make the flags in the little cemetery just off Route 84 stand straight out. There was a memorial service Saturday for Tom Richardson at that little cemetery overlooking the Leon River.

The local paper said he passed away last Monday at age 78. They said he had been born in Gatesville in 1922 and lived there until he went to college in Stephenville, Texas. He served in the Air Corps and Air Force from 1943 until his retirement with 30 years service. After living in El Paso for a number of years, he returned to his hometown in 1995. There were about 50 people at the service, nearly all family and friends from Gatesville. It's that kind of town and he had that kind of friends there. He had been a navigator on some of our mission aircraft, a staff officer at Sac's STRAT RECON Center and commanded the 6988th from '68 to '71.

He was also a friend. Lt Col Thomas R. Richardson, Jr., USAF (Ret), Rest in Peace, Sir.

//Ron Chapelle//

I was not privileged to serve with Col Tom as I left Yokota in 1966. But we became very well acquainted at the SOB reunions and occasionally had lunch on Saturdays in Castroville. According to his daughter Mary, he was born February 7,1922 and the official date of his death was May 1, 2000. He was highly respected and liked by everyone and will be sadly missed. RIP.

//Big John//

The information for this obituary was compiled by John S. (Big John) Deaver.