Last Known Activity On 25 Nov 1967 Lt Col Lewis H. Abrams and bombardier-navigator 1st Lt Robert E. Holdeman departed Danang Air Base in A-6A BuNo 152612 on a night strike against the Kien An airfield near Haiphong in North Vietnam. Radar and radio contact with Abrams was lost in the vicinity of Haiphong, and Peking radio later reported that a US aircraft had been shot down that night. The two crewmen were classed as Missing in Action, and in 1978 the Secretary of the Navy approved Presumptive Findings of Death for both men. Nothing was learned of Abrams and Holdeman for 21 years. In 1988, the SRV 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 Hai Phong Province, recovering aircraft wreckage from BuNo 152612, aircrew equipment, and fragmentary remains. The remains were repatriated on 11 April 1995 and the positive identification of both Colonel Abrams and Captain Holdeman was announced on 16 Jun 1997.
Name of Award
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Colonel [then Lieutenant Colonel ] Lewis Herbert Abrams (MCSN: 0-53788), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of Marine All Weather Attack Squadron TWO HUNDRED FORTY-TWO (VMA(AW)-242), First Marine Aircraft Wing, and as Pilot of an A6A Intruder aircraft in Vietnam. In the early morning hours of 25 October 1967, 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 anti-aircraft weapons, barrage weapons 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 multi-plane, multi-squadron 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 anti-aircraft 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 United States Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Action Date: October 25, 1967
Service: Marine Corps
Company: All Weather Attack Squadron 242 (VMA(AW)-242)
Division: 1st Marine Aircraft Wing