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 2020.


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

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


National Alliance of Families
For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II _ Korea _ Cold War _ Vietnam _ Gulf War

Dolores Alfond _ 425_881_1499
Lynn O'Shea ___ 718_846_4350
Web Site
email __

October 25, 2003                                Bits N Pieces   

.... The July 24 2002 DPMO list of "U.S. Accounted for from the Vietnam War" lists names of David R. Williams and Robert Govan, lost over Laos on April 1, 1967.   According to the list remains for Williams and Govan were returned July 15, 1996 and identified June 14, 2002.

Minimal remains, no more than a handful were recovered and none were individually identifiable.  No identifying items were recovered from the crash site that could associate the men to the recovery site.   CIL_HI did not even attempt mt_DNA testing.  Reaching a new level of creativity, CIL_HI identified the handful of remains as David R. Williams and Robert Govan.
United in their protest, both the Williams and Govan family exercised their right to dispute the identification.  The families filed challenges with the Armed Forces Identification Review Board.     Other families with questionable identification have also disputed those finding before the Armed Forces Identification Review Board (AFIRB.)   The board always upheld the CIL_HI identification.....  Until March 2003.....

The board ruled that there was not enough evidence to support an identification of Williams and Govan.  Both David Williams and Robert Govan were returned to the list of
the unaccounted for personnel in Southeast Asia..

This begs the question, with their identifications rescinded, why haven't  Thomas Hart and George MacDonald been returned to list of unaccounted for personnel in Southeast Asia.





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On April 1, 1967, a T-28D Trojan (tail number 491559, call sign "Zorro 42") with two crew members took off from Nakhon Phanom Air Base in Thailand for a night armed reconnaissance mission against enemy targets in Laos. In the target area, the T-28D contacted its forward air controller (FAC), who had identified two enemy trucks and dropped flares in an attempt to illuminate them. However, the flares were off target, and the T-28D descended in altitude below the FAC and attempted to illuminate another enemy truck it had spotted. As these flares burned out, the FAC spotted the T-28D rolling out from the target, and dropped another flare to illuminate the area. Immediately after dropping these flares, the FAC observed several ground flashes and tracer rounds, followed by a large fireball on the ground and a number of secondary explosions. The FAC tried to contact the T-28D but was unsuccessful, and search and rescue operations were initiated. Search teams found no evidence of either of the T-28D's crew members.

Major Robert Allen Govan entered the U.S. Air Force from the District of Columbia and served in the 606th Air Commando Squadron. He was serving as the pilot aboard the T-28D when it was lost, and his remains were not recovered. Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of missing in action (MIA), the U.S. Air Force promoted Major Govan to the rank of Colonel (Col). Today, Colonel Govan is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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