Michael Lora Bouchard

Lieutenant Commander
United States Navy
01 November 1938 - 26 November 1973
Missoula, Montana
Panel 36W Line 048

Naval Aviator

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

The database page for Michael Lora Bouchard

First Visit to the Wall

On a warm and sunlit autumn morn
I was walking through the Mall
Following a path well worn
On my visit to the Wall.

The granite panels stand in line
Against the mother earth
Softly, slowly marking time
For love and life and death.

Of Sons and Daughters gone to war
In another time and place
A symbol of the weight they bore
With courage, strength and grace.

From the Wall I heard their message
Sent out for all to hear
Their spirits always with us
Their memory very near.

I salute you men and women
For answering the call
You'll always be remembered
With your name upon the Wall.

- Stephen R. Guilmet -

26 Nov 1999

My first visit to the Wall in the fall of 1998 bought tears to my eyes. I thought of my father, who served in the Tonkin Gulf and fortunately was able to return home. I also thought of the nearly 60,000 men and women who were not so fortunate. I walked down from the east, amazed at the size of the Wall and the smallness of the names. I touched the Wall and felt the coldness of the stone but also perceived the warmth of emotion emanating from that sacred place. I walked up to the west and met "an old river rat" selling pins and bracelets as his own type of "therapy."

This is where I first met Michael Lora Bouchard. He was a Navy A-6 Intruder pilot from Missoula, Montana, lost over Savannakhet Province, Laos on December 20, 1968. Having been born and raised in Montana, and being a former Sailor myself, I feel a strong connection with Mr. Bouchard. It was for this reason, and many others, that I wore his bracelet and rubbed his name from the Wall, knelt on the stones in front of panel 36W-048 and sobbed. Someone reached down and briefly held my shoulder. He or she understood what I felt and wished only to comfort me, an unknown man grieving for a person he had never met. I keep Michael Lora Bouchard in my mind and heart as a pinpoint reminder of the greater group of lives consumed by the Vietnam War.

I would be interested in learning more about Mr. Bouchard from his shipmates, friends or family if they are willing to share such information with me. I would like to keep his memory alive and, in some small way, finally bring him home.

I can be reached by email via rob.bridgeford@us.army.mil

Thank you,
Rob Bridgeford
Sergeant, US Army
CMOC Operations NCO

28 Apr 2006

My name is Monte Murphy of Elgin, Texas. I am 36 years old and wanted to let whatever family member of LCDR Bouchard who might see this know that I think about him every day because I wear a POW/MIA bracelet that bears his name. Even though I was too young to be in the war, a day never goes by that I don't remember what he and all the other vets have done for this country. Thank You.

Monte Murphy
Elgin, Texas

03 May 2007

I remember when I was 10 years old, my dad talking to Mike's father on the phone, listening ... just being there for him. Sometimes the calls were late at night and when my dad would hang up he would break down and cry. This strong man who had served in WWII would collapse into the sorrow and loss he felt for his friend, who would never know the truth about what happened to his son after that plane went down. I have memories of there being a news story that showed some POW's in captivity and how one young man resembled Mike, and my parents thinking there might still be hope of his returning. Sadly, that was not the case. Mike's leather jacket still hangs in Bonner Grade School where he, and later I, attended. I didn't know him, but I'll never forget him. I'll never forget my dad's tears, or the heartbreak the whole community felt. God bless Mike, his family and friends, and all the brave men and women who never made it home.

Kathy Teague
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

02 Aug 2007

I was presented this bracelet bearing the name MICHAEL L. BOUCHARD almost 15 years ago.

I wear it every day.

It has been on an innumerable adventures with me.

Over the years I have had to wrap the inside of the bracelet with duct tape to keep it from corroding further.

I wear this for him and all those who did not make it home.

I work as a bike messenger in New York City. It is hazardous work. Because I uphold the memory of those lost, I know in my heart that I will always make it home. This pilot is being watched over.

Thank You for creating this webpage. I look forward to a day when he and those who are still lost will be found...

J. S.

07 Mar 2008


My name is Alphie Liming and I grew up Missoula, MT. Mike grew up in a very small lumber mill "company" town, Bonner, about 7 or 8 miles from Missoula. My grandmother taught him in the second grade at Bonner Elementary School. Mike was one year ahead of me in school, and the following year my grandma taught me in the 2nd grade. That's when I got to know Mike.

We sort of lost touch until high school, but because there wasn't a high school in Bonner Mike had to come to Missoula to school. We became reaquainted and subsequently went steady in high school. An extremely bright and personable young man, he was very popular, being Student Body President, as well as State Study Body President. (I always thought he would go on to be a politician.)

He graduated in 1956 and went to Oregon State University on an NROTC Scholarship and was a Sigma Chi. I had been accepted to go to OSC as well, but as things happen sometimes, we parted ways (still very good friends) and I went to USC.

The last time I saw Mike was in 1961. He came to visit me and my husband, who was also a Navy officer, in San Diego. I know that he was married and believe had 3 children, but subsequently divorced.

I've heard that he had been accepted to the Blue Angels just before he was shot down, supposedly on one of his last missions. We've seen photos on TV taken in a POW camp in North Vietnam a year or so after he was shot down that many of us felt were pictures of him eating (he was left-handed as I am).

Mike was an admirable person and I know would have gone far had not his life been cut so short.

From a childhood friend,
Alphie Liming

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On the night of 19/20 Dec 1968, LT Michael L. Bouchard, pilot, and LT Robert W. Colyar, bombardier-navigator, launched from USS CONSTELLATION in A-6A BuNo 154152 for a strike mission in Laos. Upon arrival in the area they were assigned to a Forward Air Controller working a truck park on the Ho Chi Minh Trail near the village of Ban Tanook, about 20 miles southwest of the A Shau Valley.

Bouchard was to make visual dive-bombing runs by the light of parachute flares. Once cleared by the FAC, he rolled in but as his aircraft was passing through 5500 feet and at an airspeed of about 500 knots the A-6 was hit by AAA fire, separating the starboard wing from the fuselage. Other aircrew in the area saw only one parachute, which turned out to be Colyar's. Once on the ground, Colyar spent about 30 minutes searching for Bouchard but then was forced to leave the area to avoid capture. He was picked up the next day by an Air Force helicopter.

LT Bouchard was classed as Missing in Action and was carried in that status until 26 Nov 1973, when the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander while MIA. LCDR Bouchard's remains have not been repatriated.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Rob Bridgeford
Sergeant, US Army

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 26 Nov 1999
Last updated 03/26/2008