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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
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
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
or call (703) 699-1169.