BOUCHARD, MICHAEL LORA

Name: Michael Lora Bouchard
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit:
Date of Birth: 01 November 1938
Home City of Record: Missoula MT
Date of Loss: 20 December 1968
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161800N 1063400E (XD673026)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A
Refno: 1345
Other Personnel In Incident: (backseater rescued)

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.
NETWORK 1999.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: When North Vietnam began to increase their military strength in
South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for
sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some
years before. The border road, termed the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" was used for
transporting weapons, supplies and troops. Hundreds of American pilots were
shot down trying to stop this communist traffic to South Vietnam.
Fortunately, search and rescue teams in Vietnam were extremely successful
and the recovery rate was high.

Still there were nearly 600 who were not rescued. Many of them went down
along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the passes through the border mountains
between Laos and Vietnam. Many were alive on the ground and in radio contact
with search and rescue and other planes; some were known to have been
captured. Hanoi's communist allies in Laos, the Pathet Lao, publicly spoke
of American prisoners they held, but when peace agreements were negotiated,
Laos was not included, and not a single American was released that had been
held in Laos.

One of the aircraft dispatched on strike missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail
was the Grumman A6 Intruder. The Intruder is a two-man all-weather,
low-altitude, carrier-based attack plane, with versions adapted as aerial
tanker and electronic warfare platform.

The Intruder's advanced navigation and attack system, known as DIANE
(Digital Integrated Attack navigation Equipment) allowed small precision
targets, such as bridges, barracks and fuel depots to be located and
attacked in all weather conditions, day or night, from a minimum safe
altitude. The crews of the A6, were in the words of the commander of the
Seventh Fleet, among the most talented and courageous pilots in the air. The
planes were credited with some of the most difficult single-plane strikes in
the war, including the destruction of the Hai Duong bridge between Hanoi and
Haiphong by a single A6.

LT Michael L. Bouchard was an Intruder pilot assigned a night mission over
Laos on December 20, 1968. He and his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO)
proceeded over the city of Muong Nong in Savannakhet Province, Laos for
their mission over the famed Ho Chi Minh Trail.

At about 1:15 a.m., the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire on the
bombardier/navigator's side of the aircraft. The navigator called for
Bouchard to eject and got out himself. The backseater's parachute was seen
by other pilots and two emergency beeper signals were heard (indicating that
both crew members ejected safely), but Bouchard was not located. The
navigator searched for Bouchard for a half hour, but then had to leave the
area of heavy enemy activity for his own rescue. Rescue attempts for
Bouchard were delayed because of heavy enemy in the area, and later, no
trace was ever found. Mike Bouchard was placed in Missing In Action status.

Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, over 10,000 reports
relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in
Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having
examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded
that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago
enemy.

Whether Bouchard survived the downing of his plane is unknown. What is
certain, however, is that the U.S. has a legal and moral responsibility to
do everything possible to bring him home.



 

From - Tue May 25 17:28:53 1999
From: Mike McCallum <mike_mac@earthlink.net>
Subject: LCDR Michael Lora Bouchard

My name is Julie, and I am the youngest of 4 children of Michael L. Bouchard.  He flew A6's off the
USS Constellation, until December 20, 1968.  I never knew my father, my parents divorced when I was
3, and I was only 5 when his plane was shot down.  What stories and information I have about his life,
seem to only outline who he was.  He loved the Navy, and loved flying.  I would like to know more
about who he was while he was in the Navy.  If you knew him, I would like to hear from you, and try
to learn more about the man who was responsible for giving me life.

Sincerely,

j_mccallum@hotmail.com