During his first State of the State address Monday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee took a moment to honor the family of Lt. Richard “Tito” Lannom. The Navy pilot was laid to rest Saturday in Union City, Tennessee — 51 years after he was declared missing in action in Vietnam.
Lannom was serving as a bombardier/navigator when the plane he was on went missing during a combat mission in Vietnam. In late 2017, the crash site was excavated on a remote island. Lannom’s body was found inside his plane, and his remains were taken to Hawaii, where DNA testing and other evidence were used to officially identify him on Sept. 25, 2018.
Saturday — the day of Lannom’s funeral — Lee declared a day of mourning across the state, and state flags were lowered to half staff. The funeral was held at Discovery Park of America in Union City. Local 6 broadcast the funeral live on air and streamed it live online. If you were not able to watch it live, you can watch it in full by clicking here.
During the State of the State on Monday, Lee led the general assembly in a moment of silence in honor of Lannom’s service, and lawmakers rose in a standing ovation for family members attending the state of the state address — the son and daughter in law of Lannom’s widow, Charlotte Shaw.
To watch the State of the State address, click here. You can read the governor’s remarks about Lannom below.
“Our military veterans living, and remembered, deserve the most honored place among those we thank for serving.
“We recognize the service of our heroes, and I’d like to talk about one family in particular who has embodied that service and sacrifice.
“U.S. Navy Lieutenant Richard C. ‘Tito’ Lannom of Union City was reported missing as of March 1, 1968 during the Vietnam War.
“The Obion County native was assigned to Attack Squadron Three Five aboard the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier and was on an A-6A aircraft on a night mission over North Vietnam.
“Like many, he did not come back.
“Lannom and the pilot were declared missing after a search and rescue mission failed to locate their plane.
“He was 27-years old.
“In 2017, the Vietnamese excavated a crash site on Tra Ban Island and were ultimately able to identify Lannom in September of last year.
“This past weekend, our state had a memorial service for him.
“After more than 50 years, Lieutenant Lannom’s final resting place is home, on Tennessee soil, where he belongs.
“Please join me in pausing to remember Lt. Lannom and the sacrifice he and so many others have made for our country.
“Now, please join me in recognizing the family of Lt. Tito Lannom who has come from across Tennessee to be with us – thank you all for the sacrifices you’ve made and for being here tonight.”