Lewis Herbert Abrams

VMA(AW)-242, MAG-11, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
17 August 1929 - 25 November 1967
Montclair, New Jersey
Panel 30E Line 083



Navy Cross

Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Lewis Herbert Abrams

05 Aug 2003

Colonel Lewis H. Abrams is our father. He was also a father to many young Marines, as a Commanding Officer of VMA(AW)-242, MAG-11, 1ST MAW, DaNang, Viet Nam, in 1967. He was an extremely brave A-6A attack pilot who received the Navy Cross for a difficult and quick thinking mission one month before his disappearance on November 25, 1967. All details can be read below in the Citation.

One of his daughters, Ellen, is honored to be wearing her Dad's MIA bracelet, worn for 15 years by Keith Lyle of New Jersey, who sent it to Ellen on August 6, 2003. The family thanks you Sir, and ALL OF YOU WHO HOLD THESE MEMORIALS OF OUR BRAVE, SELFLESS U. S. SOLDIERS!

Our father's remains and plane were recovered. He was buried at Arlington Cemetery in 1997.


A memorial initiated by his family.

The President of the United States
takes pride in presenting the



Lieutenant Colonel
United States Marine Corps

for service as set forth in the following


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 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 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 United States Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

09 Nov 2004

On November 7, 2004 at the Historic Aviation Museum, Tyler, Texas, an FJ-4 Fury fighter which has been recently restored was unveiled. It was dedicated to the members of Marine Fighter Squadron 232 who flew the plane from 1957-59 in Hawaii and aboard the USS Bennington and Atsugi, Japan, during the Quemoy/Matsu crisis.

The restored plane, BuNo 139516 which flew in the squadron, also honors squadron pilot Captain Lewis H. Abrams as it replicates the plane he flew in VMF-232. His number "3" and name are found below the canopy rail.

Later, as Squadron Commander of VMF(AW)-242, Navy Cross winner Col. Abrams was lost over North Vietnam in November 1967. Lew was a brave patriot, a great Marine, a fast friend.

Members of the museum put in over 3500 hours of volunteer hours to restore the plane. Funds for materials for the restoration were borne primarily by 38 of the 42 living flyers who served in VMF 232 at the time. Contributions also came from members of VMF(AW)-242 (Abrams' unit in Vietnam) and members of the Yale Class of 1951. Others interested in contributing to the plane's further restoration (the cockpit interior) can do so by sending a check to Mrs. Gloria Kolb, FJ-4 Project, Historic Aviation Museum, 150 Airport Road, Tyler TX 75704.

Don Macaulay

11 Dec 2004

Just a personal note. I spent my 21st birthday in Danang, the same day Col. Abrams gave his life for our country. We often watched these brave men taking off and landing at the air base, and we could hear them at night taking off on their missions. Just wanted to say "Thank You" to Col. Abrams for his bravery and also want his family to know that all of us still remember...

Steve Fletcher

Notes from The Virtual Wall

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.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his entire family,

5 Aug 2003

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 12/13/2004