CARRIGAN, LARRY EDWARD
Name: Larry Edward Carrigan
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Phoenix AZ
Date of Loss: 23 August 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 215000N 1052000E (WK550020)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel in Incident: Charles Lane Jr.(missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 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.
REMARKS: 730314 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a
multitude of functions including fighter-bomber. The 2-man aircraft was very
fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles). The F4 was also
extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. Most pilots
considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.
Capt. Charles Lane, Jr. was the pilot and Capt. Larry E. Carrigan the
bombardier/navigator on an F4 sent from Ubon Airfield, Thailand, on a strike
mission over North Vietnam on 23 August 1967. The aircraft was number four in a
flight of four aircraft.
Captain Larry Carrigan was the pilot on 23 Aug 1967 when he was
shot down with Captain Chuck Lane as his backseater. We flew
out of Ubon Thailand. You have the seat assignments
About 25 miles southwest of Hanoi, the aircraft was struck by hostile fire and
disintegrated. Other members of the flight observed the crew to eject and saw
two parachutes. One emergency beeper signal was heard.
The Department of Defense later learned that Larry E. Carrigan was a Prisoner of
War. He was released during Operation Homecoming in 1973, but there was no
further word of Charles Lane, Jr.
Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports have been received by the U.S. relating
to Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. Many authorities now
believe hundreds are still alive in captivity today. The U.S. Government,
although involved in talks with the Vietnamese since the end of the war, has
been unable to bring home a single live prisoner. The Vietnamese, on the other
hand, refuse to let the issue die, with the ultimate hope of normalizing
relations with the west.
The Americans who are still captive have been reduced to bargaining pawns
between two nations. For their sakes, everything possible must be done to bring
them home. The sacrifice of tens of thousands of America's young men is mocked
by the abandonment of their comrades. For the sake of our future fighting men
and those who have given their lives in the defense of their country, we must
see to it that we never again abandon our soldiers to enemy hands.
Although six years passed before Lane was adminstratively declared dead, based
on no new information he was alive, Lane was not advanced in rank. Carrigan's
rank remained the same during the period he was a prisoner of war.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
LARRY E. CARRIGAN
Captain, United States Air Force
Shot Down: August 23, 1967
Released: March 14, 1973
Thank you very much for your kindness to my wife Susan and three children
Lorry Sue 11, Steven 10, Keith 7, and your concern for our American POW's.
The cards, letters, phone calls, bumper stickers, wearing the POW-MIA
bracelets and especially your prayers made me smile upon my return to our
beautiful United States.
I always knew the American people would support us and you did. I am forever
indebted to you great Americans.
Wishing you and yours the two most important things in the world - Your Health
- Your Happiness. THANK YOU.
More on Larry Carrigan captivity can be found on pages 17, 18, 19 and 98 of
Benjamin Schemmer's "THE RAID." It states in part:
The North Vietnamese had a list of 17 questions they knew visiting
delegations would always ask, and the prisoners were "instructed" beforehand
on how to answer. If a prisoner "got on a preaching stump" or was too
recalcitrant, the North Vietnamese had a stock answer: "You shall know
Baker's cellmate at the Plantation was Air Force Captain Larry E. Carrigan,
shot down the same day he was. Carrigan was picked to meet some visitors
from the Women's Strike for Peace. Instead of admitting contrition for his
"criminal acts" against the North Vietnamese people, he told the group he
was proud to be an American pilot. After the delegation left, his captors
hung him "on the wall" and Carrigan knew pain. Ropes bound tightly around
his wrists were hoisted through two eyebolts on the wall until he hung there
like a crucifix. One of his arms came out of its socket. The pain Carrigan
knew from that one session would last for five years.
Twenty-seven months after their shootdown, on December 9, 1969, a guard came
into their cell late one night and told Baker and Carrigan to "roll
up"-gather their few belongings and roll them up in their rice pad blankets.
It was a "scary thing" for the POWs, being moved to another camp, usually at
night, always on short notice. There was never enough time to collect the
carefully hidden homemade pencils, paper, nails, or pieces of string and
wire that they hoarded like treasure and used to communicate from cell to
cell or in some other ingenious way.
The guards blindfolded Carrigan and Baker, tied their wrists to each other,
and threw them into a mini-bus along with several more prisoners. Guards
were put between groups of the POWs to make sure no one lifted a blindfold
or talked. The North Vietnamese didn't want them to see who the other
prisoners were or where they were headed. But Carrigan and Baker managed
periodic peeks through their blindfolds. They could see they were headed
west. As the bus rumbled on, Carrigan told Baker, "I think we're going to
Laos." That bothered them; they were sure that prison in Laos would be even
worse than Hanoi. Baker dispelled the idea with a curt, "You're crazy,
Carrigan." Another 30 minutes went by, but the bus still headed west.
Carrigan lifted his blindfold again and told Baker once more, "I think we're
headed for Laos." Baker told him to "quit smoking opium." Thirty minutes
later, Baker managed to lift his own blindfold. The bus was in open country
and still rumbling west. He blurted out involuntarily: "Sweet Jesus, I think
we're going to Laos."
Late into the night, the bus turned off a road and stopped in front of a
steel gate. Carrigan and Baker were led through it. All they knew was that
they were a long, long way west of Hanoi. They found themselves in a small
compound courtyard roughly 140 x 125 feet. In it were three small buildings:
one of them was to their left, in the southeast corner; the other two
buildings adjoined each other just inside the compound's north wall. They
were taken to a cell in one of them, the building on the right, and locked
up with Air Force Major Irby D. Terrell, Jr., a January 1968 shootdown who
had been on the bus with them. It was the first time they'd had another
roommate in 837 days of captivity.
The building they were housed in was called the Opium Den; it contained
three other three-man cells. The building beside it was known as the Beer
House and the one farther away, in the compound's southeast corner, as the
Cat House. Baker noticed that the walls of his building were made of brick
and mortar; they would carry sound real well. Each of the new inmates put
an ear to one wall. Baker was "astonished" to hear that "it was alive,
humming with tapping conversations." They decoded the loudest tapping: "Two
guys just came into the Opium Den. One is bald-headed."
Baker hit the wall solidly with his elbow; the "Ka Thump" was a standard
warning signal, an order to be obeyed instantly-"guards coming" or "stop
communicating." The walls fell silent.
Baker then "initiated comm" - "Shave and a haircut, two bits," he tapped,
meaning "I want to communicate." He tapped out the code: "I am Major Elmo
Baker," and then added, "the bald guy." He tapped again: "Just arrived from
the Plantation with eleven others. Where are we?" He got an immediate
response from the camp's senior ranking officer (SRO), Navy Commander Render
Crayton, a February 1966 shootdown. "You're at Camp Hope, near Son Tay
Citadel. It's isolated as hell out here. Eleven men have just been moved
Suddenly, communications was interrupted by another sharp "Ka Thump" from
somewhere. The "V" - North Vietnamese - had "heard the walls vibrating";
guards be- gan patrolling, and they looked agitated. Son Tay fell silent.
Baker and the new arrivals wondered what lay ahead for them in this
God-forsaken prison outpost.
Larry and his wife reside in Arizona.