CHAPMAN, HARLAN PAGE
Name: Harlan Page Chapman
Rank/Branch: O3/US Marine Corps, pilot
Unit: VMFA 212
Date of Birth: 27 September 1934
Home City of Record: Elyria OH
Date of Loss: 05 November 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 205800N 1062400E (XJ455189)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel in Incident: none
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 1990 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.
REMARKS: 730212 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of
Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North
Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively
by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
shot down on an F8 - Will Abbott was an Air Force Captain on exchange duty
with the Navy and was flying F8's off the Carrier Oriskny (CVA 34) when he
was shot down in 1966. He retired from the Air Force as a Colonel and lives
in Alaska.) and represented half or more of the carrier fighters in the Gulf
of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The aircraft was credited
with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.
The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were
the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie
carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions
as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a
heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were
used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo
version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and
frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for
The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar
fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or
destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader
pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.
Capt. Harlan P. Chapman was the pilot of an F8E sent on a combat mission
over North Vietnam on November 5, 1965. His flight route took him over Hai
Hung Province, where he was shot down about 5 miles east-northeast of the
city of Hai Duong.
For the next 7 1/2 years, Chapman was held in various prisoner of war camps,
including the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" complex in Hanoi. He was released in
the general prisoner release in 1973.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned
American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return
unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the
honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly
held. It's time we brought our men home.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
HARLAN PAGE CHAPMAN
Lieutenant Colonel - United States Marine Corps
Shot Down: November 5, 1965
Released: February 12, 1973
I was born in the small town of Elyria, Ohio, September 27, 1934. I enjoyed
sports, particularly football, during high school. I attended Miami
University, Oxford, Ohio where my enjoyment of football decreased and
enjoyment of girls increased. In June 1956, I graduated with a BS degree in
Business and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S.M.C. After
receiving this commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps,
I continued my schooling by first attending Marine Officers Basic School and
then Naval Flight School. I was then assigned to Marine Composite
Reconnaissance Squadron One, 3rd Marine Air Wing after receiving the Navy
Wings of Gold in September 1958.
A year later the Squadron deployed to Japan for thirteen months. After
returning to the good old United States of America, I had a tour of duty
with a Support Squadron and Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron. In late
1962 my orders took me to Hawaii as a Forward Air Controller with the First
Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company. While assigned to this organization I
completed Army Jump School.
In January of 1964 I joined Marine Fighter Squadron 212 based at Kaneohe
Marine Corps Air Station. A little over a year later the Squadron deployed
with Carrier Air Wing 16 aboard the USS Oriskany CVA 34. I flew my first
combat mission over South Vietnam in May 1965 and after six months of very
challenging and rewarding flying with an outstanding squadron, air wing, and
ship, I was shot down by anti-aircraft fire during a bombing run on a
bridge, 40 miles south east of Hanoi. In the ejection process, I dislocated
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to relate the treatment of over
seven years of captivity in the space allotted. However, I can sum up my
opinion of the treatment by saying it was basically cruel. While in
captivity, I was tortured many times, using ropes, cuffs, isolation, and
I am very fortunate to have wonderful parents who love America dearly and
appreciate how great this country is. Through their insight, patriotism came
very easy to me. l am proud to be an American and proud to serve my country
as a Marine. This pride and love for my country was the main force that kept
me going through the long years of imprisonment. My future plans are to
continue my career in the Marine Corps and to return to flying.
After having lived in a communist environment for an extended period I now,
more than ever, appreciate the freedom and opportunity that the United
States of America offers to its citizens.
Among Chapman's awards and decorations is the Silver Star. Retiring from
the USMC as a Lt. Colonel in 1976, he returned to his native Ohio with his
family, where they have a real estate appraisal firm. Harley and Fran live
on the Lake Erie shore and enjoy sailing, hiking, racquet ball and skiing.
His son and 3 step children are now scattered across the country, so
traveling to visit kids and 4 grandkids are favorite destinations.
Article on Marine Corps POW Harlan Page Chapman where he talks about his
experiences as a POW from 1965 to 1973. JJM