Fri, Oct 19, 2007
Major Robert Lapham Is Home At Last
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)
announced Thursday the remains of a US serviceman, missing from the
Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for
burial with full military honors. He is Maj. Robert G. Lapham, US
Air Force, of Marshall, MI. He will be buried Friday in Arlington
National Cemetery near Washington, DC.
On February 8, 1968, Lapham was flying the lead A-1G Skyraider
in a flight of two in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. The aircraft
were alerted to join an airborne forward air controller to destroy
enemy tanks that had overrun the Lang Vei Special Forces Camp.
After completing one pass on the tanks, Lapham was nearing his
target on the second pass when he crashed. The crew of the other
aircraft involved in the mission reported seeing no parachute.
Between 1993 and 1998, joint US/Socialist Republic of Vietnam
(SRV) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC),
traveled to Quang Tri Province two times to investigate the
incident and interview witnesses. One team also surveyed the crash
site and found aircraft wreckage.
In 2003, another joint team investigated the incident and
resurveyed the crash site. The team found more wreckage and
pilot-related evidence, including Lapham's identification tag.
Between 2004 and 2006, JPAC teams traveled to Quang Tri Province
four times to excavate the crash site. The teams recovered human
remains, aircraft wreckage and pilot-related items.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial
evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the
identification of the remains.
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