James Edwin Plowman

Lieutenant Commander
United States Navy
14 October 1943 - 18 April 1974
Pebble Beach, California
Panel 17E Line 039



Naval Flight Officer

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

The database page for James Edwin Plowman

02 Jan 2001

In 1967 Attack Squadron 85 (call sign BUCKEYE), operating the A-6A INTRUDER, deployed aboard USS KITTY HAWK. On 24 March, LCDR John "Buzz" Ellison and LTJG Jim Plowman launched in A-6A BuNo 151587 as part of a strike force directed against the Bac Giang thermal power plant in North Vietnam. The target was heavily defended by SAMs and a full spectrum of conventional anti-aircraft weaponry. Ellison and Plowman were tasked with SAM suppression for the bombers.

After the strike was completed, friendly radar flight following tracked the BUCKEYE aircraft as it headed toward the Gulf of Tonkin, but the track terminated in the vicinity of Ha Bac Province near the Vietnam/China border. Combat SAR was initiated. Voice contact was achieved with LCDR Ellison, but neither he nor Plowman was rescued. Both men were placed in "Missing in Action" status.

The North Vietnamese never acknowledged capturing either Ellison or Plowman, nor did they report that either man had been killed. The two men simply disappeared.

Even so, the two men were never placed in POW status, and on Thursday, 04/18/1974, the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for now-Lieutenant Commander Plowman, changing his status to "Died while Missing".

While I had only a slight acquaintance with these two men - I joined VA-85 after their loss - they are not forgotten.

Ken Davis
A-6 Aircrewman, Attack Squadron 85

06 Feb 2002

I purchased a POW bracelet back in the early 70's, while in high school. I started wearing it again 15 years or so ago to remind myself that my life has been blessed simply by living. I have thought of Lt. Plowman thousands of times and have answered many inquiries regarding the "Why do I wear this bracelet after so many years?" kind of questions. I generally answer that I remember this man's sacrifice for me and mine ...

Patti Burch

09 Jul 2002

I bought LCDR James Plowmen's POW/MIA bracelet while touring the wall in 1991 while enroute to my ship (USS KITTY HAWK) in Norfolk.

From a KITTY HAWK crewmember and bracelet wearer,
Robert W Bates
E-mail address is not available.

15 Sep 2002

I wore a bracelet all through the 70's. Lt. Plowman's name was inscribed on it and is forever inscribed in my memory. I see that he was married, so I hope his wife and his family know that he was always a hero to me. I often wondered about his life, what he looked like, what kind of guy he was. All I know about him is that he was a hero to me and to all Americans. I guess that's about all we have to know. Thank you Lt. Plowman for making my life free.

Lois Tooker

18 Sep 2002

I have had James Plowman's bracelet for about 3 or 4 years. It was given to me as a gift and I wear it often. I too would like to thank him for his heroic efforts and his bravery. My husband was also in Vietman. It was a horrible war. Please find a picture of him and post it. I hope his family is OK. James was only about 11 days older than my husband who passed away May 5, 2001. I will wear his bracelet on my birthday again, Sept. 20th., as it is POW/MIA Remembrance Day. Bless you, James, and all of those we left behind.

Marsha Killian

09 Nov 2002

I bought LCDR Plowman's bracelet when I visited the Wall on a school trip to D.C. in the first week of December 1991. I still keep the bracelet with me to honor him and the many others who never came back. May we wish them Godspeed.

Jesus M. Lorenzana

04 Aug 2003

When I was a young woman back in the late 60's my husband was an airman and the base was asking for donations and you could pick the name you wanted. I picked Lt. James Plowman and I have kept this bracelet near my bed for over 30 years so I would always remember to pray for him and his loved ones. Until this day, it still sits near the bed and he never left my thoughts. I only wish I could tell him how much I appreciate how brave he was and how sorry I am for his loved ones' loss. He will never be forgotten.

Susan Huether

29 Oct 2003

I was also a bracelet wearer for Lt James Plowman. I started wearing it in 7th grade in Pacific Grove, California, where I was a pupil of his father, who was my math teacher.

Several decades later, as we pray for our soldiers bravely fighting in Iraq and the Middle East, I continue to realize the enormous sacrifices men and women like Lt Plowman make for people like me, just to live our every-day lives. For all those sunsets, days spent with family, 4th of July BBQs, snowfalls and walks through the woods -- things that Lt Plowman missed -- I am grateful.

May Lt Plowman rest in peace.
God Bless.

Nancy Wagner

12 Apr 2004

I am 30 years old and was not even born when LCDR Plowman was shot down. My father was in Vietnam and experienced some bad things that I only know through the grapevine as he doesn't talk about it. He had an MIA bracelet and my uncle has one as well. I served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk from 1995-1998 and many, many nights at sea would think about all of the brave men who never made it back to the ship. I also reported for duty the last year of the A-6 and got to see them before they retired the aircraft. What an awesome plane and it must have taken an awesome man to fly one. I asked my uncle who lives in D.C. to get me a MIA bracelet from a pilot/sailor MIA from the Kitty Hawk. I wear LCDR Plowman's bracelet every day and I am constantly explaining what it is, especially to people my age, and I feel pride when I do. I hope that someday he can officially be put to rest but until then I would like to thank him and his family for their sacrifice and to all those like him. Fair winds and following seas, shipmate!

From one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Greg Griffith
E-mail address is not available.

2 May 2004

As a child, I wore a POW bracelet with the name of Lt. James Plowman.
Over the years, the bracelet was lost, but I never forgot his name.
I just found this website, and 35 years later, it still saddens me
that he has not come home.

May God bless you and keep you.
Thank you for paying the ultimate price for peace.

In a foreign land, in an unpopular war, there were
still people thinking of you from home.

From one who wore his MIA bracelet.
E-mail address is not available.

21 May 2004

To all of us he was Jim not James, though he assigned nicknames to most of us. I became "Seagull" because of my Utah background as we trooped though out pledge year gaining acceptance as men yet still boys making our way into an unknown world, sharing the days of the Kennedy Assasination, the occasional nights of fraternity partying and many hours of study deep in the bowels of Suzallo Library.

Perhaps more than most of us, Jim knew where he was headed. His pride in ROTC showed in the crispness of his uniform and his devotion to his faith. But he still was one of us, giving and gaining strength in the periods of indecision we all shared. Jim was one of two of my 24 pledge brothers who didn't return. I learned of both while in Basic Training, a few miles, yet great gaps apart from where he was raised.

And today as the others age, Jim lives on in scrap- and yearbook photos, memories and occasional dreams as a young red headed guy. And Jim lives in history for his nobility.

From a Fraternity Brother and friend,
Kent Carthey

22 May 2004

Well, today I think of my Father's crewmember and his family, I think of the years of waiting and prayers, I think of the things my Dad might have said to me, and of the hurt and pain of growing up without him, and of his crewmember and his 6 month old son. There were two, you know, ME and YOU - I guess the 24th of March 1967 is not just dear to me, every year ... I still wait, nothing has been answered for me. Well, Jimmy, hope to see you soon, I will be there, the other last son, Andy

From an MIA Son.
E-mail address is not available.

22 Jun 2004

I did not know James Plowman but think of him often because I am good friends with his son who I know misses him very much. I miss my Dad too.

From a friend,
Chris Stallings

31 May 2005

When I was in the 5th grade, 1973, I had a paper route. I remember reading the Chicago Tribune and they had a memorial page where you could send in a donation to purchase a POW/MIA bracelet. I sent in my donation and received a MIA bracelet with the inscription LT. James Plowman 3-24-67. I wore it for years, through my early twenties, moving around quite a bit. I have recently been reaquainted with my bracelet and continue to wear it. My three children have heard so much about the bracelet and what it means. This webpage will be able to bring it to them with the love and care that we all have for all of the POW/MIA's, especially "our" Lt. James Plowman.

Laura Rush

18 Jun 2005

I too have had Lt. James Plowmans' bracelet since I was a teenager. I am looking forward to having the Moving Wall come to my town in August 2005. To look at his and all the other heros' names. Let us not ever forget how lucky we are to be Americans.

From one who wears his MIA bracelet.

21 Oct 2005

As a 13 year old in 1973 I knew Lieutenant Commander Plowman's dad. He was a wonderful man. I knew of his sadness and pain. I wear the bracelet to remind me to pray for James, for his son, and for resolution.

God bless our men and women who serve.


27 Nov 2005

I also am a LT James Plowman bracelet holder. Back in the early 70's when I was in about the 7th grade I obtained a POW-MIA bracelet with his name and date (24 Mar 1967). I have had possession of the bracelet for about 35 years now. I have told my children and grandchildren about the bracelet, but was unable to locate it until just recently during a move. I have since taken to wearing it proudly. Tonight I decided that I would do a search on his name and ended here at this site.

I am very pleased to think that we are honoring all the servicemen who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. I can still remember how the servicemen were treated when the fortunate ones came home, it saddens my heart to this very day.

Mrs. Judy Penley

24 May 2006

I bought a bracelet that was for him, it made me think that this man helped our country and died for it. I am honored that I wear a bracelet in his honor. Thanks, Plowman, for what you did for our contry.

Danielle Robson

28 Oct 2006

I, too, have a POW/MIA bracelet for LCDR Plowman. I came across it recently and decided to google his name to see if I could learn more about him and his fate. I live in the Washington, DC area and now that I see his remains have been identified and laid to rest, I will go visit his grave in Arlington Cemetery. I don't know if I will leave the bracelet there, or keep it to remind me of the others who are still not home. I think I'll know what to do when I get there. I feel deeply for his family and friends and hope that they find some solace in knowing he has been laid to rest in Arlington.

Carol Fajardo
E-mail address is not available.

19 Aug 2007

Jim Plowman and I were schoolmates in the 7th and 8th grade at Oak Harbor (Washington) Junior High. Our fathers were both in the Navy and we lived in base quarters on the seaplane base on Maylors Point next to the town of Oak Harbor. We road the gray Navy school bus together to town and back each day. Jim had red hair and a breaky voice at that age and was quite independent minded. He was a good student with a gift for math and we used to have tough tennis matches on the base courts near our homes. When Jim's plane went down I was stationed aboard a Navy destroyer along with his U of WA ROTC mate Fred Jackson just off the coast of Vietnam. I learned of the crash the following week while reading the Stars and Stripes. It was clear in those early junior high days that Jim was a leader. I am glad to see that his son has done so well and that there is now closure. Fair Winds and Following Seas. You were always one step ahead of the rest of us, Jim.

From a friend,
Jim Callaghan

22 Oct 2007

Welcome Home

Robert W Bates Jr
USS Kitty Hawk (89-93),

A Note from The Virtual Wall

U.S. Department of Defense

September 21, 2006

Navy Aviator Missing In Action From Vietnam War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced yesterday that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Lt. Cmdr. James E. Plowman, U.S. Navy, of Pebble Beach, Calif. He was buried yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C.

On March 24, 1967, Plowman and a fellow officer departed the USS Kitty Hawk in their A-6A Intruder on a night strike mission of an enemy target in North Vietnam. Radar contact with their aircraft was lost over the Ha Bac Province as they were departing the target area. A pilot from another aircraft reported two missile warnings on his radar screen immediately before contact was lost with Plowman's aircraft.

Between 1993 and 1996, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted three investigations in the province. The team interviewed two local villagers who saw the 1967 crash, and both men recalled seeing human remains at the site. The team also surveyed the purported crash site and found several small fragments of aircraft wreckage.

In 1996, another joint U.S./S.R.V. team excavated the suspected crash site. The team found human remains from amid the scattered wreckage. The team was also handed some remains by a local villager who claimed to have recovered it while scavenging the crater for metal.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/ or call (703) 699-1169.

As of 03 Oct 2006 Buzz Ellison as not come home ...

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 02 Jan 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009