ABRAMS, LEWIS HERBERT Remains returned 06/26/97
Name: Lewis Herbert Abrams Rank/Branch: O5/United States Marine Corps/pilot Unit: Date of Birth: 17 August 1929 Home City of Record: Montclair NJ Date of Loss: 25 November 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 200000 North 1070000 East Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Maj. Robert Holdeman, remains returned
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
REMARKS: Radio contact lost
Note: CACCF states "crash not at sea"
The following citation is QUOTED DIRECTLY FROM: "For Extraordinary Heroism, The Navy Cross, Vietnam Citations of Awards to men of the United States Navy and The United States Marine Corps, 1964-1973" published by Sharp & Dunnigan 1987 [* Posthumous Award]
*ABRAMS, LEWIS H.
Citation: For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 242 and as Pilot of an A6A Intruder aircraft in Vietnam. In the early morning hours of 25 October 1967, Colonel (then Lieutenant Colonel) Abrams, in the first Marine aircraft to strike at the heart of North Vietnam's Air Force, exhibited outstanding courage and presence of mind in the midst of violent combat action as he successfully completed a high-priority mission by bombing the principal military airfield in North Vietnam. A highly effective integrated complex of hundreds of radar-controlled antiaircraft weapons, barrage balloons with steel cables extending hundreds of feet into the air, two enemy airfields with MIG interceptor aircraft, and many active surface-to-air missile sites protected every approach to his target. Acting on an urgent fragmentary order, Colonel Abrams personally took charge of the preparations for a multiplane, multisquadron attack against the formidably defended Phuc Yen airfield. Barely six hours before takeoff time another fragmentary order was received, modifying the previous plan and requiring Colonel Abrams to make extensive last-minute changes in navigation and attack procedures, which allowed no margin for error. With grim determination, he promptly made corrections in heading, altitude, and airspeed and accurately delivered his bombs on the runway at Phuc Yen. Under the most demanding conditions of degraded systems operation, low-level flight in mountainous terrain in darkness, and in the face of a vicious volume of antiaircraft and guided missile fire, Colonel Abrams courageously accomplished his mission of devastating the runway at Phuc Yen. His bravery and determination throughout the bitter action were an inspiration to all who were involved and were instrumental in accomplishing this crucial mission. By his intrepid fighting spirit, daring initiative, and unswerving devotion to duty, Colonel Abrams reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE NEWS RELEASE-60TH AIR MOBILITY WING(AMW) PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIVISION, TRAVIS AFB, CA PHONE: (707)424-2011 NEWS RELEASE NO. 9706-20 JUNE 26, 1997
The remains of FIVE American service members previously unaccounted for from Southeast Asia have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial in the United States. Their remains will be repatriated in a ceremony at 4:00 pm June 26 on the Travis flight line.
They are identified as LT.COL. LEWIS H. ABRAMS, MARINE CORPS, of Montclair, N.J.; MAJ. ROBERT E. HOLDEMAN, MARINE CORPS. of Winchester, Ind.; and CAPTAIN JOHN N. FLANIGAN, MARINE CORPS, of Winter Haven, Fla. THE NAMES OF TWO AIR FORCE AVIATORS WILL NOT BE RELEASED AT THE REQUEST OF THEIR FAMILIES.
On Nov. 25, 1967, Abrams and Holdeman were shot down while flying a night strike mission near Haiphong, North Vietnam. A radio Peking broadcast confirmed the Marine Corps aircraft had been shot down in the vicinity of Haiphong. In 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam repatriated what they believed to be the remains of U.S. service personnel lost during the Vietnam War. Included in the remains was a military identification card fragment with what appeared to be the name Abrams.
In 1993 and 1995, joint U.S. and Vietnamese teams investigated and excavated a crash site in Hai Phong Province. Local villagers reported that remains had previously recovered and turned over to higher authorities. They also turned over bone fragments found near the crash site. On August 19, 1969, Flanigan and his pilot were flying an F-4B as escort for a photo recon mission over North Vietnam. They lost contact with other aircraft in their flight, and never made it back to their base at Danang, South Vietnam. In 1989, the Vietnamese gov. repatriated remains believed to be those of Flanigan. Four subsequent joint US and Vietnamese investigations were able to locate their crash site in Quang Binh Province. The site was excavated in 1995 where aircraft wreckage, aircrew related items, and personnel effects were located, but NO human remains were found. The remains of Flanigan turned over by the Vietnamese were positively identified and Mitochondrial DNA testing was used to confirm the identification. With the identification of these FIVE service members, 2118 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.** No additional information about the two Air Force aviators has been given.****