LUCAS, LARRY FRANCIS
Remains Returned 09/20/99  ID 04/26/2002
Name: Larry Francis Lucas
Rank/Branch: O3/US Army
Unit: 131st Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group
Date of Birth: 29 April 1940 (Ashland KY)
Home City of Record: Marmet WV
Loss Date: 20 December 1966
Country of Loss: Laos (officially listed in S.Vietnam)
Loss Coordinates: 164139N 1061451E (XD330460)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: OV1A
Refno: 0553
Other Personnel In Incident: Capt. Joseph L. Kulmayer (rescued)
Source: Compiled 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 in 2002.
SYNOPSIS: On December 20, 1966, Capt. Larry F. Lucas, pilot; and Capt.
Joseph L. Kulmayer, co-pilot, flew an OV1A Mohawk (serial #63-13123) out of
Hue's Phu Bai airbase on a reconnaissance mission over Laos in an operations
region known as "Foxtrot". Their plane was hit by enemy fire, caught fire,
pitched into a ninety degree dive and crashed. Capt. Kulmayer ejected and
was later rescued. No sign of any other parachute was seen.
Although Lucas' parachute was not seen, Capt. Kulmayer stated that at the
time of his own ejection, he saw Capt. Lucas' hand on the overhead canopy
release handle.
The last known location of the plane was near Sepone, Laos, about 25 miles
from the border of South Vietnam. Defense department records list Lucas as
missing in South Vietnam, although the loss coordinates are clearly in Laos.
Why Lucas is not listed missing in Laos is unknown.
The OV1A was outfitted with photo equipment for aerial photo reconnaissance.
The planes obtained aerial views of small targets - hill masses, road
junctions, or hamlets - in the kind of detail needed by ground commanders.
The planes were generally unarmed. The OV1's were especially useful in
reconnoitering the Ho Chi Minh trail.
NOTE: The 20th Aviation Detachment existed until December 1966, at which
time it was reassigned as the 131st Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation
Battalion (Combat Support). The 131st Aviation Company had been assigned to
I Corps Aviation Battalion since June 1966, when it arrived in Vietnam. In
August 1967, the 131st Aviation Company was reassigned to the 212th Aviation
Battalion where it remained until July 1971, whereupon it transferred out of
Vietnam.
There were a large number of pilots lost from this unit, including Thaddeus
E. Williams and James P. Schimberg (January 9, 1966); John M. Nash and Glenn
D. McElroy (March 15, 1966); James W. Gates and John W. Lafayette (April 6,
1966); Robert G. Nopp and Marshall Kipina (July 14, 1966); Jimmy M. Brasher
and Robert E. Pittman (September 28, 1966); James M. Johnstone and James L.
Whited (November 19, 1966); Larry F. Lucas (December 20, 1966); and Jack W.
Brunson and Clinton A. Musil (May 31, 1971). Missing OV1 aircraft crew from
the 20th/131st represent well over half of those lost on OV1 aircraft during
the war.
U.S. Army records list both Nopp and Kipina as part of the "131st Aviation
Company, 14th Aviation Battalion", yet according to "Order of Battle" by
Shelby Stanton, a widely recognized military source, this company was never
assigned to the 14th Aviation Battalion. The 131st was known as
"Nighthawks", and was a surveillance aircraft company.
=====================
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 541-02
(703)697-5131(media)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2002
(703)428-0711(public/industry)
REMAINS OF MIA FROM VIETNAM IDENTIFIED
The remains of Army Capt. Larry F. Lucas of Marmet, W.Va., a U.S. soldier
previously unaccounted-for from the war in Vietnam, have been identified and
are being returned to his family for burial with military honors.
Lucas and another crewman were flying a reconnaissance mission in their OV-1
Mohawk aircraft over Savannakhet Province, Laos, when they were hit by enemy
anti-aircraft fire.  As the crew of another OV-1 watched, the aircraft
entered a steep dive, crashed and exploded.  The other crewmember ejected
from the aircraft before the crash and was rescued.
Other aircraft searched the area for a survivor, but with negative results.
No parachute was seen and no radio transmissions were heard from Lucas.
Between January 1990 and September 1999, four joint U.S.-Lao on-site
investigations were led by the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting.  During two
of these investigations, excavations recovered aircraft debris,
pilot-related artifacts and human remains.  Forensic scientists from the
U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii identified the remains.
There are currently more than 1,900 Americans unaccounted-for from the war
in Southeast Asia.
================
Charleston Gazette
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
HEADLINE: Pilot killed in Vietnam to be buried
Chartered bus taking friends, family to Arlington on Friday
Tom Searls
Jessie Lucas waited until she knew for sure her son was dead before giving
up herself.
The 87-year-old former Marmet resident died Sept. 5 in Escondido, Calif.,
three weeks after learning the military had positively identified the
remains of her son, shot down over Laos in 1966......