Edward Arthur Lapierre was born in Nasonville, Rhode Island on 10 January 1935 and grew up in Burrillville, Rhode Island. He was the son of Philemount and Anna Lapierre. Edward attended local schools in Burrillville and entered the University of Rhode Island with the class of 1955. He was a member of the cross country team and participated in the Army ROTC program for two years while a student. Edward enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on 1 October 1962.
Private Edward Lapierre graduated from the ten-week U.S. Air Force Navigator Training Program, a combination of enlisted basic training and officer candidate school. He was initially trained as an Air Force navigator and applied for flight school to become a pilot. Upon completion of flight school, he was awarded his pilot’s wings and assigned to U.S. Air Force tactical fighter squadrons within the United States. On 30 October 1966, he joined the 558th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 12th Tactical Fighter Wing, 7th Air Force, Cam Rahn Bay Air Force Base, South Vietnam.
The primary mission assigned to the 558th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 12th Tactical Fighter Wing in Southeast Asia was to attack and destroy enemy military forces, supplies, equipment, communications systems and installations with conventional weapons. His unit also supported joint operations with ground forces. During a nine- month period, the wing flew 4,645 combat sorties within South Vietnam in close air and direct support missions.
On 13 March 1967, Captain Edward Lapierre was the pilot of a F-4C Phantom Jet attacking an enemy storage complex near Truc Giang in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam when he was shot down by enemy ground fire. His plane crashed, and there were no survivors. His remains were recovered; and he was buried with full military honors in St. Theresa’s Cemetery, Burrillville, Rhode Island. Captain Edward Lapierre was awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart (Posthumously). He is a Rhode Island hero who gave his life in support of America.