All posts in “remembrance”

Praise and Thanksgiving

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psalm 100, KJV)

Happy Thanksgiving all and please remember all who serve in every capacity overseas this day.


Air Force Pilot Missing From Vietnam War is Identified


In the mail today:

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.

But wait, there’s more…

Continue Reading…

Remembering Fallen Shipmates – Part II (N513)

 Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!


Yesterday, we remembered those we lost in the Navy Operations Center (NOC) who were from within the larger N3N5 organization.  Today we focus on those who were from N513 (note, the Branch Chief, CAPT Bob Dolan, will be part of the post for tomorrow, 11 Sept)N513 is the Strategy & Concepts branch, part of the N51 Strategy & Policy Division of N3N5. N513’s personnel were the folks who looked at “the big picture” focusing on warfighting concepts and maritime strategies in defense of the US and our Allied partners. This is the branch that in the past had worked on the Maritime Strategy and provided the basis of the Navy’s input to the National Security Strategy among other vital documents.

Husbands, fathers, sons – aviator and SWO; all were Sailors and all are missed.  Rest in peace…

Continue Reading…

Remembering Fallen Shipmates – Part I (N3N5)

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Here are our shipmates who were lost in the Navy Operations Center (NOC) {note: N513 will be posted 10 Sept}.  Look closely and ponder the slice of America they represent – from every corner of the country, some first generation immigrants who were refugees of war – others from a long line that has served this country.  None of them anticipated their fate when they left for work that morning from their homes in Virginia, Maryland or the District.   From all walks of life they had come to serve – and ultimately to unexpectedly die together.  

E Pluribus Unum.

Indeed, out of many, one.  Rest in peace…

Continue Reading…

Postcards: 6 March 07

A feature wherein YHS dips into his photo-locker of some 40+ years.

YHS’ VT-10 class, circa July 1978. Some of the more seasoned among us will recognize a few of the folks here, including some who are no longer with us. Yes, we were all wearing (ugh) black shoes and we have the token shoe aviation transfer present as well – see if you can spot him (*cough*shoehat*cough*). Good class and great group of folks to be with … we also didn’t take ourselves all that seriously:

*ahem* The ‘Scribe would note for the record that summer ’78 was the summer of the toga party (courtesy Animal House, which was also big with our class and the good lasses of Pensacola and neighboring environs). And no, YHS is not behind the camera either… and, uh, visors down for future deniability (like that could ever happen).

Home is the Sailor…

(Ed note: Flightdeck Friday will be a bit delayed this week, should be up by tomorrow. Instead, I wanted to post this tribute to a warrior who has finally found his way home. I witnessed this ceremony at Arlington earlier this week and wondered who was being honored since as of late, I typically see only Army or Marine Corps burial details. When this email arrived yesterday, I was able to make the connection. -SJS)

Navy Aviator Missing In Action From Vietnam War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced yesterday that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors. He is Lt. Cmdr. James E. Plowman, U.S. Navy, of Pebble Beach, Calif. He was buried yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C.

On March 24, 1967, Plowman and a fellow officer departed the USS Kitty Hawk in their A-6A Intruder on a night strike mission of an enemy target in North Vietnam. Radar contact with their aircraft was lost over the Ha Bac Province as they were departing the target area. A pilot from another aircraft reported two missile warnings on his radar screen immediately before contact was lost with Plowman’s aircraft.

1967-68 was a tough period for the “Buckeyes” of VA-85. During that period they lost 8 aircrew, including the XO. Flying the A-6A and, in some cases the A-6B (which was modified for SAM supression) the Intruder crews were given some of the hardest targets to attack in North Vietnam. Typically they were deep in country and heavily defended. The A-6, with it’s all weather day/night capabilities usually ended up flying aginst the hardest targets at night. The final mission for (then) LtJG Plowman (B/N) and his pilot, LCDR John Ellison (who was also the squadron Ops Officer) was flying SAM supression — here is a summary of their mission (courtesy The Virtual Wall):

On 24 March, LCDR John “Buzz” Ellison and LTJG Jim Plowman launched in A-6A BuNo 151587 as part of a strike force directed against the Bac Giang thermal power plant in North Vietnam. The target was heavily defended by SAMs and a full spectrum of conventional anti-aircraft weaponry. Ellison and Plowman were tasked with SAM suppression for the bombers. After the strike was completed, friendly radar flight following tracked the BUCKEYE aircraft as it headed toward the Gulf of Tonkin, but the track terminated in the vicinity of Ha Bac Province near the Vietnam/China border. Combat SAR was initiated. Voice contact was achieved with LCDR Ellison, but neither he nor Plowman was rescued. Both men were placed in “Missing in Action” status.

The North Vietnamese never acknowledged capturing either Ellison or Plowman, nor did they report that either man had been killed. The two men simply disappeared.

Even so, the two men were never placed in POW status, and on Thursday, 04/18/1974, the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for now-Lieutenant Commander Plowman, changing his status to “Died while Missing”.

Between 1993 and 1996, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted three investigations in the province. The team interviewed two local villagers who saw the 1967 crash, and both men recalled seeing human remains at the site. The team also surveyed the purported crash site and found several small fragments of aircraft wreckage. In 1996, another joint U.S./S.R.V. team excavated the suspected crash site. The team found human remains from amid the scattered wreckage. The team was also handed some remains by a local villager who claimed to have recovered it while scavenging the crater for metal.

I observed the service Wednesday by happenstance — the building I work in now sits to one side of Arlington, and not a day passes by but that I see another burial procession enroute to the final resting place. The size of the detail varies, but I can say that from personal experience (being the senior Navy rep for the detail) the degree of solemnity and honor according the deceased is the same from the accompanying detail. On those occasions I will stop, come to attention and hold a salute until the detail passes. The usual background busy noise of this area of DC seems to recede and I hear clearly the sound of the caisson’s horses hoofs on the pavement.

There are some remembrances posted on the Virtual Wall website — here is one from one of his fraternity brothers:

To all of us he was Jim not James, though he assigned nicknames to most of us. I became “Seagull” because of my Utah background as we trooped though out pledge year gaining acceptance as men yet still boys making our way into an unknown world, sharing the days of the Kennedy Assasination, the occasional nights of fraternity partying and many hours of study deep in the bowels of Suzallo Library.

Perhaps more than most of us, Jim knew where he was headed. His pride in ROTC showed in the crispness of his uniform and his devotion to his faith. But he still was one of us, giving and gaining strength in the periods of indecision we all shared. Jim was one of two of my 24 pledge brothers who didn’t return. I learned of both while in Basic Training, a few miles, yet great gaps apart from where he was raised.

And today as the others age, Jim lives on in scrap- and yearbook photos, memories and occasional dreams as a young red headed guy. And Jim lives in history for his nobility.

— From a Fraternity Brother and friend,Kent Carthey

For almost twenty years a family has had to live with the open-ended question of “what if” that even a “Died while Missing” status conveys. Now they can finally close that book — welcome home…

UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you ‘grave for me:
Here he lies where he long’d to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
– Robert Louis Stevenson
(‘Requiem’ from Underwoods)