GOVAN, ROBERT ALLEN Remains Returned 07/15/96 ID 06/14/2002 ID recinded by USG March 2003
Name: Robert Allen Govan Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: 606th Air Commando Squadron Date of Birth: 27 May 1934 Home City of Record: Washington DC Date of Loss: 01 April 1967 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 165843N 1055800E (XD029773) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: T28D Refno: 0635
Other Personnel In Incident: David R. Williams (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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. NETWORK 2002.
REMARKS: NEGATIVE SAR CONTACT
SYNOPSIS: The North American T28 Nomad was used throughout Southeast Asia for counterinsurgency missions and flew many successful strikes in Laos and South Vietnam before increasingly more accurate ground fire proved the aircraft too vulnerable to survive.
Major David R. Williams and Maj. Robert A. Govan comprised the crew of a T28D Nomad sent on an armed reconnaissance mission over Laos on April 1, 1967. While in the process of preparing to attack the target, the T28 was struck by hostile fire. A fireball was observed on the ground. No communication was received from the crew members and no parachutes were seen. The aircraft crashed about 10 miles east of Ban Muong Sen in Savannakhet Province.
Williams and Govan became two of nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos during the Vietnam War. Although Pathet Lao leaders stressed that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, they stated that those captured in Laos would be released in Laos, hoping to gain a seat at the negotiating table in Paris where the U.S. and Vietnam were negotiating an end to the war.
The U.S. did not include Laos in the Paris Peace Accords, and no Americans held in Laos were released. In America's haste to leave Southeast Asia, it abandoned its finest men. Since the end of the war, the U.S. has received thousands of reports convincing many that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today.
In seeming disregard for the Americans either held or having been murdered by the Pathet Lao, by 1989, the U.S. and the Lao devised a working plan to provide Laos with humanitarian and economic aid leading toward ultimate full diplomatic and trade relations while Laos allows the excavation of military crash sites at sporadic intervals. In America's haste to return to Southeast Asia, we are again abandoning our men.
David R. Williams was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Robert A. Govan to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period they were maintained missing.