|Name:||Richard Clive Lannom|
|Rank/Branch:||Lieutenant/US Naval Reserve|
||Attack Squadron 35 USS Enterprise (CVA (N)-65)|
|Date of Birth:||24 January 1941|
|Home of Record:||Union City, TN|
|Date of Loss:||01 March 1968|
|Country of Loss:||North Vietnam/Over Water|
|Loss Coordinates:|| 203800N
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing in Action|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||Thomas E. Scheurich|
the addition of the Gruman A6A Intruder to its inventory, the
Navy had the finest two-man, all-weather, low-altitude attack/bombing
aircraft in the world. It displayed great versatility and lived up to
the expectations of those who pushed for its development after the
Korean War. At the time it was the only operational aircraft that had a
self-contained all-weather bombing capacity including a moving target
indicator mode. In this role it usually carried a bomb load of 14,000
pounds and was used rather extensively in the monsoon season not only
in South Vietnam, but also in Laos and over the heavily defended areas
of North Vietnam. The Intruder was credited with successfully
completing some of the most difficult single-plane strikes in the war,
and its’aircrews were among the most talented and most courageous to
serve the United States.
In the late afternoon of 1 March 1968, Lt. Cmdr. Thomas E.
Scheurich, pilot; and then Lt. JG Richard C. “Tado” Lannom,
bombardier/navigator; comprised the crew of the #3 A6A Intruder
(aircraft #152944) that launched in a flight of three from the deck of
the USS Enterprise. While the Intruders launched at the same time, the
aircrews were to conduct independent attacks on targets in northern
The lead aircraft’s crew was comprised of VA-35’s Squadron
Cmdr. Glenn “Skipper” Kollman, pilot; and Lt. Cmdr. Johnny “Crosshairs”
Griffin, bombardier/navigator. Lead’s target was the Thanh Hoa Bridge.
The #2 aircraft’s crew consisted of Lt. Cmdr. Greg Young, pilot; and
Lt. Bill “Turf” Siegel, bombardier/navigator. The target assigned to #2
and #3 aircraft was the Cam Pha military barracks located in the town
of Cam Pha approximately 38 miles ENE of Haiphong and 90 miles due east
As briefed, the three aircraft rendezvoused just off the North
Vietnamese coast. The flight members established radio contact with the
Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC) who provided
them with current mission information. The crews also checked their
aircraft’s systems and weapons before the ABCCC granted clearance to
commence air operations against their respective targets.
While Cmdr. Kollman aircraft turned west toward Thanh Hoa, Lt. Cmdr.
Young took the lead position in the flight of two on its way north to
Cam Pha. The over water approach from the south was filled with
numerous hazards. Hundreds of small islands rose up from the sea in
rugged limestone karsts that varied in size and height that forced
aircrews to be ever vigilant as they snaked their way northward between
them.To complicate the situation more,it was very difficult to identify
the coast line from the jagged mountain ridge located only 2 miles
inland that also rose up sharply behind the target area. Because of the
strategic importance of this heavily populated sector,the North
Vietnameseconcentrated their coastal air defenses in overlapping
anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) emplacements in various caliber
Lt. Cmdr. Young initiated his attack pass from 1500 feet. As #2
forward dodging heavy AAA fire and jagged Karsts, they heard Tom
Scheurich radio “inbound” as #3 began its own run in to the target. Lt.
Cmdr. Young and Lt. Siegel successfully dropped their ordnance and
returned to the rendezvous point southeast of Bao Lai Tao Island.
Shortly thereafter, Cmdr. Kollman and Lt. Cmdr. Griffin joined with #2.
The two Intruders waited for Lt. Cmdr. Scheurich and Lt. JG Lannom
until their own fuel level became a consideration that forced them to
return to the Enterprise.
At 1837 hours, Cy Scheurich and Tado Lannom’s aircraft was declared
overdue and a full scale search and rescue (SAR) operation was
initiated. It included a visual and electronic search of the mainland
target area, the numerous small islands south of Cam Pha and the
briefed return flight path to the carrier. When no trace of the
Intruder of its aircrew could be located, the formal SAR effort was
terminated and Cy Scheurich and Tado Lannom were declared Missing in
The location of loss was arbitrarily established to be in the Gulf
Tonkin approximately 29 miles south-southeast of Cam Pha and southeast
of the rendezvous point. However, the reality is no one knows where the
Intruder actually disappeared or what caused its loss. If it was hit by
the intense ground fire in the target area, the crew could have been
forced to immediately eject and most certainly would have been
If the Intruder sustained battle damage, but was still airworthy,
Cmdr.Scheurich and Lt. JG Lannom would have attempted to return to the
Enterprise. Under those circumstances, there is no way of knowing how
long the crew was able to keep their Intruder in the air. They may have
been forced to eject over water or over any one of the myriad of small
islands, some of which were populated while others were not. On the
other hand, there is no way of knowing if Cy Scheurich and Tado Lannom
even had the opportunity to eject at all.
If Thomas Cy Scheurich and Richard Tado Lannom died in their loss
incident, each man has the right to have his remains returned to his
family, friends and country if at all humanly possible. However, if
they were able to eject, they most certainly could have been captured
by enemy civilians or military forces located throughout the entire
region;and their fate, like that of other Americans who remain
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different.
For other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia,
fate could be quite different. Since the end of the Vietnam War well
over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise
unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these
reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War remaining captive
throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Fighter pilots were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served. SYNOPSIS: