Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 52,
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
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A6

Other Personnel In Incident:
Harry S. Mossman (missing)

Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 from one or more of the following:
raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families,published sources, interviews.

The Commander of the 7th Fleet once remarked that the low level missions over Hanoi and Haiphong that the A6 pilots were sent on were among the most demanding ever asked of Navy pilots. He added that it was fortunate that these A6 pilots were among the most talented in the military.

LTJG Roderick B. Lester was a seasoned pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 52 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 reconnaissance mission in the general vicinity of Cam Pha, North Vietnam.

During their mission, a brief radio transmision from the aircraft was received, "Let's get the hell out of here." The transmission was felt to indicate the 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 location. The aircraft was last tracked over Hanoi, North Vietnam.

Weather was poor, with numerous thunderstorms which made the source of the flash of light difficult to determine. Electronic surveillance was begun. A visual search of the area noted accurate gunfire. Further search was negative.

Lester and Mossman did not return from the mission, and were placed in a Missing in Action status. The area of their last known locaton was heavily populated, 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 information on them.

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 received. Many authorities believe that hundreds of Americans are still held in the countries in Southeast Asia.

The U.S. Government operates on the "assumption" that one or more men are being 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 proceed, yielding a few sets of remains when it seems politically expedient to return them, but as yet, no living American has returned.

During the period he was maintained missing, Roderick B. Lester was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Graphics by:
Background and name graphic by me!
Ron Fleischer
Nomad Queen

E-Mail Me
Sign My Guestbook

of the

Do you like the music that's playing? It's "Somewhere in my Broken Heart" by Billy Dean. Get it now!

Nedstat Counter