ADAMS, LEE AARON
ADAMS, LEE AARON Remains Returned, ID Announced 05/31/2005
Name: Lee Aaron Adams Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: (unknown) Date of Birth: 29 July 1938 Home City of Record: Willits CA Date of Loss: 19 April 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 173600N 1062157E (XE449463) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Other Personnel In Incident: none Refno: 0307
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 2005.
SYNOPSIS: Larry Adams loved to fly. His classmates at the Air Force Academy wrote upon his graduation in 1963, "flying is his first love and his last, and he is in his glory only with stick in hand and throttle forward."
After he left the Academy, Larry trained on the "Thud", the Republic F105 Thunderchief, which he flew in Vietnam. The F105D is credited with making more strikes against North Vietnam than any other U.S. aircraft, but also took more losses. The F105 was constantly being modified to meet changing combat needs. A specially modified version of the F105 was the backbone of the Wild Weasel program, initiated in 1965 to improve the U.S. Air Force's electronic warfare capability.
On April 19, 1966, Adams was flying a bombing mission in an F105D over Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam, about 20 miles southwest of the city of Quang Khe. His aircraft was observed to crash with no ejection seen and no emergency beeper signals heard. The Air Force established sufficient evidence that Lt. Adams died at the time of the crash, but that there was a good chance the Vietnamese knew his fate.
Not really unexpectedly, Larry was not among the 591 Americans released from enemy prisons at the end of the war. He may not be among the hundreds of Americans experts believe to still be alive, held in Southeast Asia. But one can imagine he would cheerfully fly one last mission, "with stick in hand and throttle forward" to bring his comrades home.
Lee Aaron Adams graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1963.
Department of Defense No. 536-05 IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 31, 2005
Vietnam War Missing In Action Serviceman Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial.
He is Air Force 1st Lt. Lee A. "Larry" Adams of Willits, Calif. A memorial service with full military honors will be held at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. on June 1, and he will be buried in Willits at a later date.
On April 19, 1966, Adams was attacking enemy targets in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam, when he rolled his F-105 "Thunderchief" in on the target. As other pilots in the flight watched, his plane failed to pull out of the dive, crashed and exploded.
U.S. specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted a number of investigations as they sought information on Adams's loss. In September 1993, joint U.S.-Vietnamese team members interviewed three villagers who said they witnessed the shootdown in 1966. They led the team to a supposed crash site, but no aircraft debris or human remains were found. Another informant turned over a skeletal fragment he had found near the site of the crash.
In October 1994 another joint team interviewed two other Vietnamese citizens who recalled the shootdown and the burial of the remains of a pilot nearby. A third team re-interviewed four Vietnamese in 1998 who had supplied information earlier.
Then in November 2004, a joint team excavated the suspected burial and crash sites, but found neither aircraft debris nor other material evidence. However, a villager living nearby gave the team a fragment of a wristwatch and a signal mirror he claimed to have recovered from the crash site. The wristwatch and mirror are consistent with items issued to, or used by, U.S. military aviators in the mid-1960s.
Scientists of the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to identify the remains as those of Adams.
Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,833 are from the Vietnam War, with 1,397 of those within the country of Vietnam. Another 750 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the war. Of the Americans identified, 524 are from within Vietnam.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.