Maj. Robert Lapham won a Silver Star for
one of the most important bombing attacks
of the war. Despite heavy enemy ground fire,
he successfully broke a heavy siege upon   
U.S. troops near the demilitarized zone
(DMZ). He is believed to have died in the
mission when the A1E Skyraider he was
piloting apparently was hit and exploded
with a half-load of bombs aboard. His plane
apparently was hit by machine gun fire that
had forced the three other planes he was
leading to turn back.

Neither Lapham's body nor wreckage of the
aircraft was found. The Air Force described
the mission as one of "extraordinary

When the war ended, refugees from the
communist-overrun countries of Southeast
Asia began to flood the world, bringing with
them stories of live GI's still in captivity in
their homelands. Since 1975, over 6000 such
stories have been received. Many authorities
believe that hundreds of Americans are still
held in the countries in Southeast Asia.

The U.S. Government operates on the
"assumption" that one or more men are
being held, but that it cannot "prove" that
this is the case, allowing action to be taken.
Meanwhile, low-level talks between the U.S.
and Vietnam proceed, yielding a few sets of
remains when it seems politically expedient
to return them, but as yet, no living American
has returned.

Robert Lapham's wife died five years after
he went missing. She never knew for sure
whether he died or just disappeared.

Robert's sister, Helen, died in the early 90's,
still bravely fighting for information on her
brother. In death, with the Lord, she may
have found the answers she sought.
A-1E Skyraider After
Bombing Run
Photo: Paul T. McClellan,
Jr.; Date: 1965
Maj. Robert Granthan Lapham
Back row: unknown, Maj Robert "Bob" Aycock, Maj Griffith, unknown
Front row: LtCol Ruscitto, Maj Duffy, Maj Robert G. Lapham (KIA 68/02/08),
Capt Perkins
Tribute for:  Robert Lapham  (Marshall,
Tribute left by:  Jerry Bradley (Auburn, WA)

It is an honor and a privilege to share my
hero, my stepfather, Major Robert G
Lapham. Flying an A1-E Skyraider in close
ground support, Major Lapham gave his
life in the defense of a US Army Infantry
position at Lang Vei, Vietnam, in February
1968. For his courageous sacrifice, he
was awarded the Silver Star. In his own
words, written to me just prior to his
death,"I think there are a lot of guys still
alive, because of what I have done".
Please join me in remembering him.
Air Force memorial Foundation
Air Force Pilot Missing
From Vietnam War is

     The Department of Defense
POW/Missing Personnel Office
(DPMO) announced today that the
remains of a U.S. 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,
U.S. Air Force, of Marshall, Mich.
He will be buried Friday in
Arlington National Cemetery near
Washington, D.C.

      On Feb. 8, 1968, Lapham was
flying the lead A-1E 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
U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam
(S.R.V.) 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

      Among other forensic
identification tools and
circumstantial evidence,
scientists from JPAC also used
dental comparisons in the
identification of the remains.

      For additional information of
the Defense Department’s
mission to account for missing
Americans, visit the DPMO web
site at or
call (703) 699-1169.