Name: Richard Clive Lannom
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 35, USS ENTERPRISE (CVA 65)
Date of Birth: 24 January 1941
Home City of Record: Union City TN
Date of Loss: 01 March 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 203800N 1073000E (YH605833)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Thomas E. Scheurich (missing)
The Grumman A6 Intruder flew most of its missions from the decks of Navy attack carriers of the Seventh Fleet. Their primary missions were close-air-support, all-weather and night attacks on enemy troop concentrations and night interdiction.Seventh Fleet Vice Commander, Admiral William F. Bringle, said, "The low-level night missions flown by the A-6 over Hanoi and Haiphong were among the most demanding missions we have ever asked our aircrews to fly. Fortunately, there is an abundance of talent, courage and aggressive leadership in these A-6 squadrons."
LTCDR Thomas Scheurich was the pilot of an A6A on just such a mission over Haiphong on March 1, 1968. He launched on that day from the USS ENTERPRISE with his bombardier/navigator (BN), LTJG Richard C. Lannom, along with two other A6 aircraft.
The flight proceeded to their target area located approximately 45 miles northeast of Haiphong. The area was defended by medium anti-aircraft artillery, automatic weapons and small arms. The aircraft reported at the execute point, 5 minutes prior to coast-in point, at which time they turned off their IFF transponder. Therefore, radar contact was lost on the aircraft.
Following their attacks, the other two aircraft in the flight proceeded to a pre-briefed rendezvous point which was to be used in the event of radio falure for battle damage assessment. Both aircraft searched the rendezvous area and attempted radio contact with Scheurich and Lannom with negative results. Search and rescue (SAR) forces were alerted. No emergency beepers were heard during the overland flight or during the subsequent electronic search.
Scheurich's and Lannom's aircraft was evidently hit by ground fire and went down about 55 miles southeast of Haiphong in the Gulf of Tonkin. It was considered that there was little chance that the enemy knew the fate of either man, and prospects were rather dim for their survival, but both were classified Missing In Action. There was no proof they died. There still was the possibility that they bailed out and were picked up in the water by the Vietnamese.
When American involvement ended in Indochina, and 591 American prisoners were released, Lannom and Schuerich were not among them. Their families and those of nearly 2500 others still do not know with certainty whether they are alive or dead.
Reports continue to be received that Americans are still being held prisoner in Southeast Asia. Whether Lannom and Scheurich could be among them is unknown. It is clear, however, that it is long past time to bring these men home.
During the period they were maintained missing, Richard C. Lannom was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and Thomas E. Scheurich was promoted to the rank of Captain.
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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 1998.
Adopt a POW/MIA [www.ojc.org/adopt/]