• montclair
  • Essex
  • August 17, 1929
  • November 25, 1967
  • Marines
  • RANK:
  • COL
  • RR
  • North Vietnam


Lewis Herbert Abrams was born on August 17, 1929.  His home of record is Montclair, NJ.

Upon graduating from Yale University in 1951, he entered the US Marine Corps and attained the rank of Colonel (COL).  He was stationed at Da Nang, South Vietnam. 

On November 25, 1967, while executing a night bombing mission on a military airfield at Haiphong, NVN, Abrams' A6-A disappeared from surveillance radar over Phuon Mountain, Haiphong Municipality, Thai Binh Province, NVN.  A subsequent four-day electronic search found no evidence of survival. 

Abrams' remains were repatriated on June 16, 1995, and positively identified on June 16, 1997.

Colonel Abrams was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, July 9, 1998, where his widow, LuEllyn Abrams, was in attendance.

Abrams was awarded The Navy Cross.  His citation reads:
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.

Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being listed as MIA:
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 Haiphong 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. With the identification of these FIVE service members, 2118 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

Sources: LuEllyn Abrams (widow), POW Network and NJVVMF.


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