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
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
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 http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.