Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 52,
USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63)
Date of Birth: 19 June 1946
Home City of Record: Morton, WA
Date of Loss: 20 August 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 210000N 1054500E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident:
Harry S. Mossman (missing)
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 from one
or more of
raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
POW/MIA families,published sources, interviews.
The Commander of the 7th Fleet once remarked that the
missions over Hanoi and Haiphong that the A6 pilots were sent on
most demanding ever asked of Navy pilots. He added that it was
these A6 pilots were among the most talented in the military.
LTJG Roderick B. Lester was a seasoned pilot assigned to Attack
onboard the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK. On August 20,
Lester launched on
his 144th mission with his Bombardier/Navigator (BN) Lt. Harry
S. Mossman, in
their A6A Intruder attack aircraft on a night, low-level, armed
mission in the general vicinity of Cam Pha, North Vietnam.
During their mission, a brief radio transmision from the
"Let's get the hell out of here." The transmission was felt to
planned flight path was being aborted because of heavy enemy
fire. At the same
time, another air crew on the mission noted a flash of light
under the 1,000
foot overcast in the same general vicinity of their aircraft
aircraft was last tracked over Hanoi, North Vietnam.
Weather was poor, with numerous thunderstorms which made the
source of the
of light difficult to determine. Electronic surveillance was
begun. A visual
search of the area noted accurate gunfire. Further search was
Lester and Mossman did not return from the mission, and were
placed in a
in Action status. The area of their last known locaton was
and there is every reason to believe that the Vietnamese could
account for the
two - alive or dead, yet the Vietnamese have given no added
When the war ended, refugees from the communist-overrun
countries of Southeast
Asia began to flood the world, bringing with them stories of
missing GI's in
their country. Since 1975, nearly 10,000 such stories have been
authorities believe that hundreds of Americans are still held in
in Southeast Asia.
The U.S. Government operates on the "assumption" that one or
more men are
held, but that it cannot "prove" that this is the case, allowing
action to be
taken. Meanwhile, low-level talks between the U.S. and Vietnam
a few sets of remains when it seems politically expedient to
return them, but
yet, no living American has returned.
During the period he was maintained missing, Roderick B. Lester
the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Background and name graphic by me!
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