MORRILL, MERWIN LAMPHREY
Remains Returned 03 June 1983

Name: Merwin Lamphrey Morrill
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit:
Date of Birth: 08 March 1936
Home City of Record: San Carlos CA
Date of Loss: 21 August 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 210500N 1055600E (WJ954315)
Status (in 1973): Remains Returned
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D
Refno: 0798

Other Personnel in Incident: From another USAF F105: Lynn K. Powell (remains
returned); From Navy A6s: Jimmy L. Buckley (ashes returned) and Robert J.
Flynn (Released POW); Forrest G. Trembley and Dain V. Scott (both missing);
Leo T. Profilet and William M. Hardman (both released POWs).

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 15
March 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998 with information provided by
David Morrill, nephew of Lieutenant Colonel Merwin "Mel" Lamphrey Morrill,
USAF.

REMARKS: DEAD/IR 6918 7670 74

SYNOPSIS: On August 21, 1967, four aircraft launched from the USS
CONSTELLATION with the assignment to strike the Duc Noi rail yard four miles
north of Hanoi. The aircraft flew from Attack Squadron 196, based on board
the carrier.

The route from the coast-in point was uneventful with the exception of some
large weather cells building up. Further along their route they received
indications of launched Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) and observed bursting
85mm anti-aircraft fire.

Lieutenant Commander "J" Forrest G. Trembley, bombardier/navigator of one
Intruder, reported he had been hit and he was advised to reverse course and
return to the coast. He transmitted that he was experiencing no difficulty
and would proceed to the target rather than egress alone. Commander Jimmy L.
Buckley was the pilot of this aircraft. Several SAMs had been launched at
this time and a transmission was made "Heads up for the Air Force strike"
which was being conducted in the vicinity of the A-6 target. An aircraft was
hit which was thought to be an Air Force aircraft.

Two F105D aircraft, flown by Air Force Major Merwin L. Morrill and 1Lt. Lynn
K. Powell, were shot down at this approximate location on August 21, 1967.
It is believed that one of these is the aircraft referred to in Navy
information concerning this incident. The remains of both Air Force crewmen
were repatriated on June 3, 1983. While Morrill had been classified Missing
in Action, it was believed that he was dead. Powell was classified as Killed
in Action/Body Not Recovered.

The division leader was hit while in the target area and two good parachutes
were observed. The crew of this A6, Commander William M. Hardman and Capt.
Leo T. Profilet, were captured by the North Vietnamese. Both men were
released from captivity on March 15, 1973.

The other three aircraft began their egress from the target. Surface-to-air
missiles (SAMs) were in flight everywhere and the aircraft were maneuvering
violently. A large weather cell separated them from the coast which
precluded their egress further north than planned.

Another transmission was heard -- "Skipper get out" -- and the voice was
recognized as that of Lieutenant Commander Trembley. A SAM detonated between
two of the other aircraft, two parachutes and flying debris were observed.
Lieutenant Commander Trembley transmitted, "This is Milestone 2, Milestone 1
was hit, 2 good chutes, 2 good chutes." The multitude of SAMs along with
deteriorating weather may be the reason for the flight to ultimately stray
well north of their planned egress track. It was believed that Lieutenant
Commander Trembley's aircraft was shot down in the vicinity of the Chinese
boarder.

Trembley and his BN, Dain V. Scott, were placed in a Missing In Action
casualty status. Their case was discussed with the Chinese government by
then Congressmen Hale Boggs and Gerald Ford, with very little information
being obtained.

In their navigation around the weather, one of the remaining two A-6
aircraft observed MIGS in a run out of the overcast above Lieutenant
Commander Flynn's aircraft. Requests for assistance were radioed but went
unanswered. The tracking of the aircraft by airborne early warning aircraft
showed them crossing the Chinese border. The maximum penetration was about
eleven miles. A visual search could not be conducted due to poor weather in
the vicinity of the last known position.

Later that day Peking Radio reported "two U.S. A-6 aircraft were shot down
when they flagrantly intruded into China airspace and one crewman was
captured". Lieutenant Commander Flynn was held prisoner in China, his pilot,
Commander Jimmy L. Buckley, was reportedly killed in the shoot down.

On March 15, 1973 Lieutenant Commander Flynn was repatriated to U.S.
jurisdiction in Hong Kong and returned to the United States. The ashes of
Commander Jimmy L. Buckley were returned by the Chinese in December 1975.

Two Air Force bombers and three of the four Navy aircraft on the strike
mission on August 21, 1967 were shot down. Trembley and Scott, of the eight
Americans shot down on August 21, 1967, are the only two who remain Missing
in Action.

When American involvement in the Vietnam war ended by means of peace accords
signed in 1973, Americans held in countries other than Vietnam were not
negotiated for. Consequently, almost all of these men remain missing. During
the Nixon Administration and following administrations, relations with China
have eased, but the U.S. seems reluctant to address the years-old problem of
the fate of her men in China.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports have been received relating to
Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities believe there are
hundreds who are still alive, held captive. Whether Trembley and Scott could
be among them is not known. What seems certain, however, is that they have
been abandoned for political expediency.


UPDATE:
Lieutenant Colonel Merwin "Mel" Lamphrey Morrill, USAF. -- San Carlos,
California.

On 8-21-67, Captain Morrill was the pilot of one of four Air Force F105s,
which left Tekhli Royal Thai Base to strike the Yen Vien rail yard six miles
northeast of Hanoi.  During the strike, the F105s of Captain Morrill and his
wing man Captain Lynn Kesler Powell were seen to explode, when struck by
anti aircraft fire.  No parachutes were seen; however, two emergency
electronic signals were heard.  Captain Morrill and Captain Powell were
listed as missing in action.

During the time he was missing in action, Captain Morrill was promoted along
with his class to Major and then Lieutenant Colonel. In April of 1978,
Captain Morrill's status was changed to killed in action/body not recovered.
In 1985, his remains were returned by the government of Vietnam.

Lieutenant Colonel Morrill was a member of the United States Military
Academy at West Point Class of 1958 and he is buried there.  He was
Posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Air Medal (First and Second Oak Leaf
Clusters) and the Purple Heart.

Brother: LT. Col. David W. Morrill, USMC. San Carlos, CA. (KIA 06-18-67,SVN)

Wife: Constance Roy Morrill (Deceased 1985)

Son: Todd Morrill

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Lieutenant Colonel David Whittier Morrill, USMC. -- San Carlos, California

Major Morrill was the pilot of one of two Marine Corps F4B Phantoms of
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron VMFA314, which left Chu Lai, South Vietnam on
a close air support mission of Marine Corps ground troops in Quang Tri
Province, South Vietnam.  Major Morrill's aircraft was observed to pull off
target on the fourth pass and then contact was lost.  The pilot of the lead
aircraft observed a ground explosion about one and one half miles from the
target. No parachutes were seen.  Major Morrill and his Radar Int ercept
Officer Lieutenant Maxim C. Parker were listed as missing in action.

In August of 1967, the wreckage of Major Morrill's aircraft was located by
Marine Corps engineers building a road in the are of Dong Ha village.  The
aircraft was identified by tail and bureau numbers. A search of the crash
found Lt. Parker's dog tags and two sets of human remains, which were later
identified as Marine ground troops killed in the battle.  Major Morrill and
Lieutenant Parker's status was changed to killed in action/body not
recovered. Major Morrill was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and
awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart.

In 1993, the site was excavated by a joint Vietnamese/American task force.
Major Morrill's wedding ring and human remains were recovered at the site.
Major Morrill's wedding ring was subsequently identified and returned to his
family.  No identification of the remains has been made.

Lieutenant Colonel Morrill was a 1952 graduate of Ole Miss.  He attended the
Naval Post Graduate School and obtained a Masters Degree in Aeronautical
Engineering from Princeton University.  He was a test pilot and was selected
from, three thousand initial candidates, as one of the final thirty
candidates for the Apollo Astronaut Program.

Brother: Lt. Col. Merwin L. Morrill, USAF.  San Carlos, CA. (KIA 08-21-67, NVN)

Wife: Alice Morrill Roehl

Sons: David L. Morrill
      Richard H. Morrill

Daughter: Mary Morrill Lewis