Robert Douglas Avery

VMA(AW)-533, MAG12, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
18 December 1941 - 04 September 1974
Morganton, North Carolina
Panel 54E Line 023



Naval Flight Officer

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

The database page for Robert Douglas Avery

25 Jul 2002

This is for Doug.THANK YOU. We have never forgotten your sacrifice. We think of you often and miss you, never knowing what your life could have held.

Our son, LCpl. Waightstill Warlick Avery, enlisted in the Marines February 13, 1999. He was critically injured in a night exercise in February 2000. His courage and faith have brought him through this trial. You would be proud of him.

Your cousin, Joe Avery.
E-Mail address not available

12 Feb 2004

My name is Joanna Palmisano and I am a recipient of Doug's MIA bracelet. Joe, I tried to send you an e-mail, but it didn't go through. I am a senior at Broughton High School in Raleigh and I got his bracelet in my Lessons of the Vietnam War class. I just wanted to contact you to let you know that, though I never knew your cousin, I am honored to have his bracelet and to have had him serve our country. Our class is going to DC this spring and we'll be able to find our soldier's name on the wall. I'll be sure to take a rubbing of Doug's.

I'd love to hear back from you. Send your family my love, especially your son, and tell him that there are people he doesn't know who are proud of him, too.

Again, thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you.

-- Joanna Palmisano --

10 Sep 2007

Captain Robert Avery was the son of Bob and Lou Doug Avery.

He grew up on the lands of Swan Ponds, the old Avery plantation in Morganton, NC. He attended Morganton High School, where he was a quite popular young man and a noted football player. He went off to Vietnam with the hope of securing for strangers what he loved and cherished about America.

David Collins

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 03 May 1968 Captain Thomas D. Clem, pilot, and Captain Robert D. Avery, bombardier/navigator, were conducting an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam along Route Package 1. Radar contact with their A-6A aircraft (BuNo 154164) was lost when it was approximately 10 kilometers northwest of the coastal town of Dong Hoi and six kilometers southeast of the district seat of Bo Trach in Quang Binh Province. SAR forces were unable to locate any sign of the aircraft or crew.

The two men were declared missing. The North Vietnamese did not claim them as captured, and the returning U.S. POWs had no knowledge of them. The Secretary of the Navy eventually approved Presumptive Findings of Death for the two men (Clem on 22 Jul 1974, Avery on 4 Sep 1974), changing their status to killed in action, body not recovered.

In the early 1990's, U. S. teams reviewing archival documents in Vietnam came across three documents related to Clem and Avery:

  • A Bo Trach District archival document listed the downing of an A-6A on May 3, 1968 in which both crewmen died.
  • A Military Region IV Museum (Vinh City) archival list of gravesites of Americans who died there during the war listed Robert D. Avery as buried in Quang Ninh District from an F-105 downed on April 15, 1968. [Note: two F-105s were downed on 15 Apr 68; Col D. W. Winn safely ejected over water and was rescued, while Maj James H. Metz died in captivity. His remains were repatriated in March 1977.]
  • Another Military Region IV Museum air defense record listed an A-6A downed on May 3, 1968 with both crewmen dead.
On Tuesday, July 2, 2002, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the wreckage of Avery's A-6A had been found during the search for another downed aircraft:
"In 1995, nearly three decades after Avery's plane disappeared, a joint U.S.-Vietnamese team was probing the coast of Vietnam for another airplane, part of a continuing effort to locate unaccounted- for veterans. On a narrow, sandy plain near a row of scrub pines, they found a brackish-water- filled crater they would later confirm as the crash site of an A-6A. The pilot of that plane was Lt. Thomas Dean Clem. His friend and crew mate was Robert Douglas Avery."
The article quotes LTC Jerry O'Hara, a spokesman for the Joint Task Force, as saying that
"We know we had the right aircraft. We found personal effects. We found crew materials. We found human remains [but they] have no DNA potential."
As of 20 Feb 2004 the government has not announced the positive identification of either Avery's or Clem's remains.

The POW Network, Hobson's "Vietnam Air Losses", and the US DoD POW/MIA Office.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a cousin,
Joe W. Avery, Jr.
E-Mail address not available

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NC State Index . Panel 54E
VMA(AW)-533 Index

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 25 Jul 2002
Last updated 11/17/2007