Remains ID announced 10/18/2007

Name: Robert Granthan Lapham
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 18 February 1927
Home City of Record: Marshall MI
Date of Loss: 08 February 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163158N 1064157E
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1E
Refno: 1043

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 2007.

Other Personnel In Incident: none missing


SYNOPSIS:  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 machinegun 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 achievement".

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

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'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.

October 18, 2007

Air Force Pilot Missing From Vietnam War is Identified

            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-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 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 items. 
            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.