LOCK — Capt. Peter Hayden Chapman was on a rescue mission in Vietnam on April 6, 1972, when he and five other crewmen were killed when the helicopter Chapman was piloting was shot down. The family recently received some of Chapman’s identified bone fragments and held a private service at the family’s burial plot in Lock Cemetery on Monday.
This was the fifth service for Chapman.
“We had a memorial service for him when he was shot down,” said Chapman’s sister, Eleanor Chapman Phelps. “He was an MIA at that time, presumed dead. And it stayed that way for a long time. Then he was listed as an MIA, killed in action, body not returned, and we had a memorial service in the church at that time.
“Then in 1997 we had a burial here of identified remains. A few weeks later we went to Arlington, Va., for burial of the unidentified remains of the whole crew. Those last two were both funerals. Then they called us in early April about these remains.”
The family recently received more remains, which had been held since 1988 along with the remains of three other crewmen. Recent advances in DNA technology allowed authorities to make positive identification of the four sets of remains.
Chapman grew up in the Centerburg area and went to Centerburg High School. He graduated in 1958.
Leroy Bumpus, retired United Church of Christ minister, went to high school with Chapman, and remembered him as a committed young man.
“He was a fine student and a fine young man,” said Bumpus. “He had high principles and values. He wanted to serve his contry, chose to do that and did it vey well.”
Chapman’s niece, Lori Evans, remembers her uncle very well, even after all these years.
“We just loved it when he came home,” she said. “He had six sisters and lots of cousins. We always looked forward to his visits. He’d come home in his Jaguar — he was always doing something sporty.”
Four of his surviving sisters were at the ceremony: Beth Chapman Murphy, Carol Chapman Evans, Jean Chapman Huffman and Phelps. In all, there were three generations of the Chapman family at the service.