Remains identified 06/04/99

Name: John Allen Lavoo
Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/O3
Unit: VMFA 542 MAG 11
Date of Birth: 07/15/1940
Home City of Record: PUEBLO CO
Date of Loss: 19 September 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 171327 North  1064243 East
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B #152232
Other Personnel in Incident: Robert Holt, KIA/BNR
Refno: 1281

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 and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File.   2020



Defense POW/MIA Weekly Update
June 4, 1999


The remains of two American servicemen previously unaccounted-for from the
war in Southeast Asia have been identified and are being returned to their
families for burial in the United States.

They are identified as Capt. Robert A. Holt, USMC, Reading, Mass.; and Capt.
John A. Lavoo, USMC, Pueblo, Colo.

On Sept. 19, 1968, Holt and Lavoo were flying their F-4B Phantom on a combat
mission over Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. After they launched their
rockets at the target, their aircraft appeared to pitch very slightly
without breaking its dive. It then pulled suddenly to the right 90 degrees,
then back 45 degrees. It crashed amid a large explosion. No parachutes were
observed and no beepers were heard by their wingman.

The wingman and another tactical control aircraft made low passes over the
wreckage, but saw no evidence that the crew survived. An additional
electronic search yielded no indication of survivors. The hostile ground
threat precluded any search and rescue efforts.

In July 1992, a joint U. S./Vietnamese team, led by the Joint Task
Force-Full Accounting, visited the suspected area of the crash and
interviewed several informants with firsthand knowledge of the site. One of
the informants turned over remains they said were taken from the site. The
team also examined some aircraft wreckage in the possession of the

Another joint team reinterviewed one of the informants in August 1993, while
another team in January 1994 surveyed the site again and recommended it for
excavation. Then in May 1994, excavation team members recovered numerous
pilot-related items as well as human remains.

A fifth team continued the excavation in June and July 1994 and recovered
additional remains and pilot-related artifacts. A sixth team completed the
excavation in August and September 1994, recovering some artifacts, but no

Anthropological analysis of the remains and other evidence by the U. S. Army
Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii confirmed the identification of
both of these servicemen. With the accounting of these two, there are now
2,061 Americans unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. Since the release of
American POWs in 1973, 522 MIAs from Southeast Asia have been accounted-for
and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Denver Post
Tuesday, June 8, 1999

Fallen Marine to be buried 31 years later
Mike McPhee Denver Post Staff Writer

   The Vietnam War will finally come to an end this summer for a Pueblo
family, 31 years after its oldest son was shot down while flying a bombing
mission over North Vietnam......





Return to Service Member Profiles

On May 19, 1999, Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA, now DPAA) identified the remains of Captain John Allen Lavoo, missing from the Vietnam War.

Captain Lavoo entered the U.S. Marine Corps from Colorado and served with Marine Attack Fighter Squadron 542. On September 19, 1968, he piloted an F-4B Phantom II (bureau number 152232, call sign "Manual") on a combat mission over North Vietnam. His aircraft crashed for unknown reasons while making a run on a ground target, and he was killed in the incident. His body could not be recovered at the time. Between 1992 and 1994, U.S. investigators excavated a crash site correlated with this loss in Quang Binh Province, recovering personal artifacts and human remains. Analysts were subsequently able to identify Captain Lavoo from these remains.

Today, Captain Lavoo is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

If you are a family member of this serviceman, you may contact your casualty office representative to learn more about your service member.