Naval Aviator Accounted-For From The Vietnam War (Lannom, R.)

Release No: 19-005 Jan. 15, 2019
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WASHINGTON — The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Naval Reserve Lt. Richard C. Lannom, 27, of Union City, Tennessee, killed during the Vietnam War, was accounted for on Sept. 25, 2018.

On March 1, 1968, Lannom, a bombardier-navigator assigned to Attack Squadron Three Five (ATKRON 35), USS Enterprise (CVA-65), was on board an A-6A aircraft on a night strike mission over Quang Ninh Province of North Vietnam. Radar contact with the aircraft was lost due to the low altitude of the aircraft, and the pilot had been instructed to turn his identification beeper off. The flight path to the target was over islands known to have light anti-aircraft artillery. When the aircraft failed to return to the carrier, a search and rescue effort was mounted. No evidence of the plane could be found. Lannom and his pilot were subsequently declared missing in action.

In August and September 2006, a Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) team interviewed three wartime residents concerning a crash site. One witness, reported traveling to the crash site on the top of a mountain in Na San Hamlet several times, finding a pilot’s helmet.

During a JFA in 2007, a witness stated that in 1968, he heard an explosion while he was sleeping. He went outside and observed an aircraft crash and explode on impact. He later observed scattered aircraft wreckage and personal effects.

Between October and December 2017, a VNOSMP Unilateral Team excavated a crash site below the peak of a steep mountain on the southwestern peninsula of Tra Ban Island. The team recovered possible osseous material, as well as material evidence and aircraft wreckage.

To identify Lannom’s remains, DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

DPAA is grateful to the government of Vietnam for their partnership in this mission.

Today, there are 1,592 American servicemen and civilians still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Lannom’s name is recorded on the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others who are unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For family contact information, contact the Navy Casualty Office at (800) 443-9298.

Lannom will be buried March 2, 2019, in Union City, Tennessee.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420/1169.

Lannom’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000BTUmEAO