Vietnam ─ Wednesday, November 15, 1967 - Friday, March 29, 1968
Allen Willyerd of Brownsville had known Norman Lane and in mid-1967 had been on a Fleet Marine Force cruise in the Mediterranean (think Six-Day War). By fall he was also en route to Vietnam via Travis AFB, and who does he run into? Norman Lane. From Travis they flew, possibly on the same aircraft, to Okinawa, which hosts headquarters for the III Marine Expeditionary Force. But there they were separated, partly due to a snafu with Allen's orders to Vietnam. The route was U.S. duty station to Okinawa to Da Nang. From Da Nang we can presume Norman Jr. headed to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Headquarters at Dong Ha, and then to his assigned area. The Kilo Co., 3/4 Marines that I am in contact with, in addition to Allen, are Dale Wittler, Michael Reagan, Doc Nunn, Peter Wymes, J.D. Spindler, Tony Milazzo, Rick Satterlee, and Vincent Santaniello (represented by his nephew Ralph Morales). Bill Willett (H&S and Mike Co.’s), Jim Singer (H&S and Mike Co.'s), and Michael Reilly (H&S Co.) knew Norman in country, as did Allen. Norman's Vanderbilt and Quantico buddy John Russell served in Vietnam as Legal Officer over 1967-1968, as did Chuck Cherry over April, 1968 - May, 1969, and Joe Myers and Ruff Fant also served as Legal Officers over this period, back in the States. 1st Lt. Norman E. Lane Jr. was killed during an enemy mortar attack at 2:05 p.m. local time on the afternoon of Friday, March 29, 1968. In Brownsville it was 2:05 a.m. Norman Jr. began his final journey home from Da Nang on Monday, April 1, arriving at Memphis Metropolitan Airport on the
afternoon of April 4. This final flight from Philadelphia was scheduled to arrive at 3:56 p.m. CST. From Hampton Sides' "Hellhound on his Trail:"
"Around 4:00 p.m., Galt trundled down the narrow staircase of Bessie Brewer's rooming house and got in his car."
At precisely 6:01 p.m. a shot fired by Eric Galt from this Memphis “flophouse,” also described as "a half-step up from homelessness," a 15-minute drive from the airport, mortally wounded Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Friday morning, April 5, Norman Lane Jr. and Dr. King both lay in repose, some 60 miles from each other. Norman E. Lane Jr. was laid to eternal rest at Tabernacle Cemetery that afternoon. Palm Sunday was April 7. On the previous Sunday night, March 31, President Johnson had announced steps to limit The War in Vietnam and had reported his decision not to seek re-election. As established after his arrest on June 8, 1968, Eric Galt had been but one alias used by James Earl Ray, who pled guilty in 1969 to the murder of Dr. King. On the day Ray was arrested by Scotland Yard in London, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was laid to his eternal rest under the night stars, at Arlington National Cemetery.