It’s 1968 and three A-6 Intruder planes take off from USS Enterprise for a mission over Vietnam. For the two-man crew of one of those craft, this mission will not turn out well. But it will be more than 50 years before the full story about one of the airmen, navigator and bombardier Lieutenant Richard C. Lannom, emerges.
The pilot flying the A-6 with Lannom aboard was Lieutenant Commander Thomas Scheurich. It was 6:00 p.m. on March 1 when the trio of planes took off from USS Enterprise on a foggy evening with heavy cloud. All three A-6 crews reported that both radio reception and their weapons were in good order after take-off.
Once clear of the Enterprise, the three planes went their separate ways, two to attack North Vietnamese Army barracks at the port of Cam Pha, the other to attack a bridge. It was 37 minutes after take-off that Lannom and Scheurich radioed what was to be their last message, “Execute.” That meant they were just minutes away from their target, the Cam Pha Barracks.