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Updated effective 18 Nov 2017 … stay tuned …

I’ve decided to add yet another page to my Guestbook Blog containing the announced results of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s (this organization has changed names a few times …) recovery, identification and return of U.S. Personnel from Vietnam.  The notices are listed in reverse chronological order based on the date of the notice.  I have posted all that I have as far back as January, 2008, as I have more time, I’ll go into my archive notices and add more.  The names of the recovered Heroes are in bold.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit their website at http://www.dpaa.mil/.  If you are interested in researching the recovery of Soldiers from other conflicts, you will find tabs for World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and Iraq and Other Conflicts on this page.  According to the DPMO website, “Since U.S. government efforts began, the remains of more than 900 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been recovered, identified, returned to their families and interred with full military honors. Recovery efforts continue today in search of the unaccounted-for Americans.”

Keep up the good work, DPMO and JPAC …

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Cooper)

15-015 | April 15, 2015

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. William E. Cooper, 45, of Dothan, Ala., will be buried April 23, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On April 24, 1966, Cooper was the pilot of an F-105D Thunderchief conducting a daytime strike mission on a railroad bridge near the Thai Nguyen Industrial Complex in Vietnam, when his aircraft was struck by an enemy surface-to-air missile causing it to crash. Another pilot on the mission reported seeing Cooper eject from the aircraft before impact. He was initially carried in the status of missing in action. A military review board later amended his status to presumed killed in action.

On July 31, 1989, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) repatriated a box of remains to the U.S. that allegedly contained the remains of Cooper. Due to the state of technology at that time, the remains could not be identified.

On Oct. 31, 1993, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team surveyed a site associated with Cooper’s loss, but found no evidence of an aircraft; however, one local villager recalled seeing an American F-105 crash on April 24, 1966, about nine miles from the current site. The villager also reported that after the aircraft crashed, he went to the scene, where he helped bury the pilot’s remains and after the war helped a Vietnamese military official exhume the remains. The joint team then surveyed the purported crash site.

From April to November 1997, multiple joint U.S./S.R.V. teams excavated the purported crash site and possible burial site of Cooper. The team recovered human remains, as well as aircraft wreckage and crew-related materials. The support from Vietnam was vital to this recovery operation.

Between October 1995 and April 2013, samples of the remains were sent to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) for analysis; however, due to state of technology, the remains could not be identified at that time. With the advances in technology, DPAA and AFDIL scientists re-examined the remains and were able to make an identification.

In the identification of Cooper, scientists from DPAA and AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sisters’ DNA.

Today there are 1,628 American service members that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

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Funeral Announcement for Pilot Missing From Vietnam War (Scott, M)

By | | September 15, 2017

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Vietnam War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Martin R. Scott, 34, of, Jenks, Oklahoma, will be buried September 22 in Claremore, Oklahoma. On March 15, 1966, Scott was a member of Headquarters, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, as the aircraft commander and wingman of a two-seater F-4C aircraft in a flight of two on an armed reconnaissance mission over northern Vietnam. The lead aircraft spotted two vehicles as the flight approached the target area and the pilot of Scott’s aircraft responded that he was going to strafe the trucks. The flight leader observed an explosion in the area of the target and immediately attempted to contact Scott’s aircraft. No parachutes or emergency signals were seen, and all attempts to contact Scott and his pilot were unsuccessful. An organized search was not possible due to hostilities in the area. Scott was subsequently declared missing in action.

In November 2014, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) recovery team conducted recovery operations at a possible F-4C crash site in Dien Bien District, Dien Bien Province. Material evidence and possible osseous material was recovered and sent to the Central Identification Laboratory for analysis. Additional recovery operations were conducted in late 2015 and late 2016, and all recovered remains were sent to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify Scott’s remains, DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA), which matched his family, as well as dental analysis, which matched his records and circumstantial evidence.

The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,602 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Scott’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

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Sailor Missing From The Vietnam War Accounted For (Bauder, J.)

By | | September 12, 2017

Navy Capt. James R. Bauder, missing from the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.

On Sept. 21, 1966, Bauder was a member of Fighter Squadron Twenty One, USS Coral, as the pilot of an F-4B aircraft in a flight of two aircraft from the USS Coral Sea on a night reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. During the mission, the other aircraft lost contact with Bauder’s aircraft, and the plane did not return to the ship. No missiles were observed in the target area and no explosions were seen. An extensive search was conducted with negative results. Based on this information, Bauder was declared missing in action.

Interment services are pending; more information will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Bauder’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For more information about DPAA, visit http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa, or call 703-699-1420.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Hall, D.)

By | | September 05, 2017

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Donald J. Hall, missing from the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.

On Feb. 6, 1967, Hall was a member of Detachment 5, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, when he, along with three other service members, were flying an HH-3E helicopter on a rescue and recovery mission over northern Vietnam. After rescuing the pilot of a downed aircraft, Hall’s helicopter was hit by enemy ground fire, resulting in an internal explosion and crash. Hall was subsequently reported missing in action.

Interment services are pending; a formal notification will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.

Hall’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For more information about DPAA, visit http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa, or call 703-699-1420.

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Pilot Missing In Vietnam War Accounted For (Scott, M.)

By | | August 18, 2017

Air Force Col. Martin R. Scott, missing from the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.

On March 15, 1966, Scott was a member of Headquarters, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, as the aircraft commander and wingman of a two-seater F-4C aircraft in a flight of two on an armed reconnaissance mission over northern Vietnam. The lead aircraft spotted two vehicles as the flight approached the target area and the pilot of Scott’s aircraft responded that he was going to strafe the trucks. The flight leader observed an explosion in the area of the target and immediately attempted to contact Scott’s aircraft. No parachutes or emergency signals were seen, and all attempts to contact Scott and his pilot were unsuccessful. An organized search was not possible due to hostilities in the area. Scott was subsequently declared missing in action.

Interment services are pending; a formal notification will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Scott’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For more information about DPAA, visit http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa, or call 703-699-1420.

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Airman Killed During Vietnam War Accounted For (Dinan)

By | | August 18, 2017

Air Force Reserve 1st Lt. David T. Dinan, III, killed during the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.

On March 19, 1969, Dinan was a member of the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, 7th Air Force, and was the pilot of the number two aircraft in a flight of two F-105s on a strike mission over northern Laos. During the second strafing pass over the target, Dinan transmitted a distress message. The Forward Air Controller then observed Dinan’s parachute enter the jungle, as well as an aircraft crash. Search and rescue aircraft conducted an aerial search and located a parachute and confirmed the death of the pilot, however, due to enemy fire in the area and the hazardous location, his body could not be recovered. The U.S. Air Force subsequently reported Dinan as killed in action.

Interment services are pending; a formal notification will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Dinan’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For more information about DPAA, visit http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa, or call 703-699-1420.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Holton)

By | | July 14, 2017

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Robert E. Holton, 27, of Butte, Montana, will be buried July 22 in his hometown. On Jan. 29, 1969, Holton, a member of the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, was the pilot of an F-4D on an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. The flight lead cleared the aircraft to engage a target, and ordnance was seen impacting the ground. Haze in the area made for difficult visibility, but immediately thereafter, aircrews saw a large fireball on the ground in the vicinity of the target. The crewmember on another U.S. aircraft radioed Holton’s aircraft but received no reply, and no parachutes were seen. Efforts to make contact with the crew continued until the remaining planes were forced to leave the area due to low fuel. Holton was subsequently declared missing in action.

Between 1994 and 2011, the Department of Defense conducted nine site visits and excavated sites in both Vietnam and Laos in its attempts to resolve this case. In 2014, residents of Boualapha District, Khammouan Province, Laos, turned over possible human remains and material evidence reportedly recovered from crash sites in the vicinity of Ban Phanop Village, the area where Holton’s aircraft was lost. In January 2017, a joint U.S./Laos team excavated a crash site associated with this loss and recovered human remains and material evidence.

To identify Holton’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental analysis, which matched his records, as well as material evidence analysis and circumstantial evidence.

The support from the governments of Laos and Vietnam were vital to the success of this identification.

Today there are 1,606 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.

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Airman Missing From The Vietnam War Accounted For (White)

By | | July 14, 2017

Air Force Maj. James B. White, missing from the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.

On Nov. 24, 1969 Capt. James B. White, a member of the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, was aboard an F-105D aircraft, in a flight attacking enemy troops. During the mission, weather conditions deteriorated and contact with White was lost after his first pass. On Nov. 28, an Air America helicopter sighted wreckage, thought to be White’s aircraft. A Laotian ground team searched the area and found small pieces of wreckage, but no remains were recovered. White was subsequently declared missing in action.

Interment services are pending; a formal notification will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

The support from the government of Laos was vital to the success of this recovery.

For more information about DPAA, visit http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa, or call 703-699-1420.

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U.S. Airman Missing From The Vietnam War Accounted For (Smith, J)

By | | July 13, 2017

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Air Force Reserve Capt. Joseph S. Smith, 25, of Assumption, Illinois, will be buried July 17 in his hometown. On April 4, 1971, Smith was the pilot of a single-seat F-100D aircraft as the leader in a flight of two aircraft on a combat mission over Cambodia. While making a pass over the target, the pilot of the other aircraft noted white vapor streaming from the left wing of Smith’s aircraft. Smith’s aircraft crashed a half mile from the target. The other pilot reported that he did not see any ejection from Smith’s aircraft and no beepers were heard. The following day, an aerial search revealed aircraft wreckage over a large area, however no remains were observed. Due to intense enemy activity in the area, ground forces could not attempt a recovery operation. Smith was declared missing in action as of April 4, 1971.

U.S. and Kingdom of Cambodia teams, with the assistance of the U.S. Embassy’s POW/MIA specialists, investigated the loss from 1996 until 2016. During subsequent excavations of the crash site in Kampong Thom Province, teams recovered possible osseous remains and wreckage associated with an F-100D aircraft.

To identify Smith’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.

The support from the Kingdom of Cambodia was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,607 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.

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Pilot Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Holton)

By | | June 28, 2017

Air Force Capt. Robert E. Holton has now been accounted for.

On Jan. 29, 1969, Holton, a member of the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, was the pilot of an F-4D on an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. The flight lead cleared the aircraft to engage a target, and ordnance was seen impacting the ground. Haze in the area made for difficult visibility but immediately thereafter, aircrews saw a large fireball on the ground in the vicinity of the target. The crewmember on another U.S. aircraft radioed Holton’s aircraft but received no reply, and no parachutes were seen. Efforts to make contact with the crew continued until the remaining planes were forced to leave the area due to low fuel. Holton was subsequently declared missing in action.

Interment services are scheduled for later this summer.

For more information about DPAA, visit http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa, or call 703-699-1420.

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Pilot Killed In Vietnam War Identified (Hestle)

By | | June 22, 2017

Air Force Col. Roosevelt Hestle, Jr., has now been accounted for.

On July 6, 1966, Hestle was a pilot assigned to the 388th Tactical Fighter Squadron, aboard the lead aircraft in a flight of four F-105s on a strike mission against surface-to-air missile sites in northern Vietnam. As they approached the target, Hestle issued a missile launch warning, and all aircraft began evasive action by diving toward the ground. As the aircraft approached the town of Thai Ngyuen, anti-aircraft began firing at them. Due to the evasive action, the other aircraft lost site of Hestle. Crews aboard one aircraft observed a large ball rising from the ground, though no crash was observed. Contact attempts were unsuccessful and no parachutes or distress signals were seen or heard. Due to hostile conditions in the area, search and rescue attempts could not be initiated and an aerial search of the area produced no results. Based on this information, Hestle was declared missing in action.

Interment services are pending.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Wood)

By | | June 21, 2017

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Patrick H. Wood, 36, of Kansas City, Missouri, will be buried June 28 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On Feb. 6, 1967, Wood was the pilot of an HH-3E aircraft carrying three other crewmembers on a recovery mission over North Vietnam. After successfully recovering an individual from a separate incident, Wood’s aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire, which caused it to crash. Rescue aircraft flew over the area, but were only able to recover one survivor. Following the incident, the U.S. Air Force declared Wood missing in action.

Multiple joint investigations were conducted concerning the fate of these missing Americans.

During the 120th Joint Field Activity in December 2015, a team from the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) interviewed a witness who was in possession of possible human remains. The witness led the VNOSMP team to the site where the remains were found, which correlated to the crash site of the HH-3E. After a joint forensic review of the remains, the team recommended the remains be repatriated to the U.S.

Scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial, Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat and autosomal DNA analysis, which matched his sister and son; anthropological analysis; as well as circumstantial evidence in making the identification of Wood.

The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,608 American servicemen and civilians who are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.

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Sailor Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Goodwin)

By | | June 03, 2017

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Charles B. Goodwin has now been accounted for.

On Sept. 8, 1965, Goodwin was the pilot of an RF-8A aircraft, assigned to Detachment D, VPF-63, CVW-15, when he launched from the USS Coral Sea, for a combat photo mission over North Vietnam (now Socialist Republic of Vietnam.) At the time of the early-morning flight, numerous intense thunderstorms were reported between the USS Coral Sea and the North Vietnam. Fifteen minutes after launching, Goodwin reported that he had encountered thunderstorms en route to the target area. That was the last radio transmission from him. Search efforts over the target area and adjacent coastal waters were unsuccessful, no emergency radio signals were heard and no aircraft wreckage was sighted. Goodwin was declared missing in action as of Sept. 8, 1965.

In February 1988, a Vietnamese refugee provided information regarding the location of possible human remains and material evidence, including a military identification card for Goodwin. Between April 1993 and December 2016, multiple attempts were made by the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) and Joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams to locate the crash site and remains of the pilot, without success. In December 2016, a Joint Forensic Review team received possible human remains that had been in the possession of a Vietnamese national. The remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

DNA and laboratory analysis were used in the identification of his remains.

The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.

Interment services are pending.

For more information about DPAA, visit http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa, or call 703-699-1420.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Smith, J.)

By | | June 03, 2017

U.S. Air Force Reserve Capt. Joseph Smith has now been accounted for.

On April 4, 1971, Smith was the pilot of a single-seat F-100D aircraft as the leader in a flight of two aircraft on a combat mission over Cambodia. While making a pass over the target, the pilot of the other aircraft noted white vapor streaming from the left wing of Smith’s aircraft. Smith’s aircraft crashed a half mile from the target. The other pilot reported that he did not see any ejection from Smith’s aircraft and no beepers were heard. The following day, an aerial search revealed aircraft wreckage over a large area, however no remains were observed. Due to intense enemy activity in the area, ground forces could not attempt a recovery operation. Smith was declared missing in action as of April 4, 1971.

U.S. and Kingdom of Cambodia teams, with the assistance of the U.S. Embassy’s POW/MIA specialists, investigated the loss from 1996 until 2016. During subsequent excavations of the crash site in Kampong Thom Province, teams recovered possible osseous remains and wreckage associated with an F-100D aircraft.

DNA and laboratory analysis was used in the identification of his remains.

The support from the Kingdom of Cambodia was vital to the success of this recovery.

Interment services are pending.

For more information about DPAA, visit http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa, or call 703-699-1420.

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Navy Pilot Killed In Vietnam War Accounted For (Crosby)

By | | May 22, 2017

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, killed in the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Frederick P. Crosby, 31, of Lockport, New York, will be buried May 28 in San Diego, California. On June 1, 1965, Crosby was the pilot of an RF-8A aircraft on a bomb damage assessment mission over Thanh Hoa Province, North Vietnam. His aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire while flying at high speed and low altitude over the target area, and crashed. Due to the location of the crash site in hostile territory, the Navy was unable to conduct search operations. The Navy declared Crosby deceased as of June 1, 1965.

After three joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) investigations and witness interviews dating back to 1993, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team excavated a site between October and December 2015, and recovered possible osseous remains and material evidence from an F-8-type aircraft.

In the identification of Crosby, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a sister, as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence.

The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,611 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Campbell)

By | | May 11, 2017

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. William E. Campbell, 37, of McAllen, Texas, will be buried May 18 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On Jan. 29, 1969, Campbell was a member of the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron as an aircraft commander in a flight of two F-4Ds on an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. Campbell was cleared to engage a target, and his ordnance was seen impacting the ground. Haze in the area made for difficult visibility but immediately thereafter, aircrews saw a large fireball on the ground in the vicinity of the target. The crewmember on another U.S. aircraft radioed the missing aircraft but received no reply, and no parachutes were seen. Efforts to make contact with Campbell continued until the remaining planes were forced to leave the area due to low fuel. Campbell was subsequently declared missing in action.

Between 1994 and 2011, the Department of Defense conducted nine investigations and excavated a site in both Vietnam and Laos in its attempts to resolve this case. In 2014, residents of Boualapha District, Khammouan Province, in Laos turned over possible human remains and material evidence reportedly recovered from crash sites in the vicinity of Ban Phanop Village, the area where Campbell’s aircraft was lost.

To identify Campbell’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched a maternal cousin, as well as dental analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.

The support from the governments of Laos and Vietnam were vital to the success of this identification.

Today there are 1,611 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.

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Marine Killed in Vietnam War Accounted For (Ryan, W.)

By | | May 04, 2017

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Reserve 1st Lt. William C. Ryan, Jr., 25, of Hoboken, New Jersey, will be buried May 10 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On May 11, 1969, Ryan was the radar intercept officer of an F-4B aircraft, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Force 115, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force Pacific, on a combat mission over Savannakhet Province, Laos. While pulling out of a bombing pass, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire. The pilot lost control and called several times for Ryan, but received no response. The pilot ejected before the aircraft crashed, and other members of the flight only witnessed one parachute leave the aircraft. The location of the crash site precluded a search and recovery effort, but the pilot was rescued. Ryan was declared deceased as of May 11, 1969.

From January 1990 until May 2012, joint teams from the U.S., the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons interviewed numerous witnesses to the crash, gathering information regarding Ryan’s loss.

From May 2012 until January 2016, joint teams made six trips to complete a difficult excavation of a crash site associated with Ryan’s loss, near Ban Alang Noi, recovering life support items, aircraft wreckage and possible human remains. On Feb. 17, 2016, the remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Ryan’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental comparisons, including isotope analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence.

The support from the government of Laos was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,611 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Campbell)

By | | April 13, 2017

Air Force Col. William E. Campbell has now been accounted for.

Campbell, of the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, was reported missing in action Jan. 29, 1969 in Laos.

The support from the government of Laos was vital to the success of this recovery.

Interment services are pending.

For more information on DPAA please visit our website at http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call 703-699-1420.

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Marines Missing From Vietnam War Identified (House, Killen, Runnels)

By | | April 10, 2017

The remains of Marine Corps Capt. John A. House, II; Lance Cpl. John D. Killen, III; and Cpl. Glyn L. Runnels, Jr., have now been accounted for.

House was assigned to HHM-265 Marine Aircraft Group 16, and Killen and Runnels were assigned to Company A, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, when their aircraft crashed in Vietnam, June 30, 1967.

Two additional service members were previously identified from this crash, Marine Lance Cpl. Merlin R. Allen and Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael B. Judd. Their remains were returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Interment services are pending.

For more information on DPAA please visit our website at http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call 703-699-1420.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Barnett)

By | | March 30, 2017

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Robert R. Barnett, 32, of Gladewater. Texas, will be buried April 7, 2017 in Austin, Texas. On April 7, 1966, Barnett was a member of the 8th Bomb Squadron, and was the pilot of a B-57B aircraft on a strike mission over Laos. While making a dive-bombing attack, the aircraft reportedly crashed, disintegrated and burned. No parachutes were seen and the hostile threat in the area prevented a search and rescue or ground inspection of the site. Following the crash, Barnett was declared killed in action.

In January and May 2005, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team visited the site of the crash. In late 2014, and early 2015, three excavations of the site were conducted, recovering possible human remains, life support items and material evidence. The remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Barnett’s remains, scientists from DPAA used circumstantial evidence and dental comparisons, which matched his records.

The support from the government of Laos was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,611 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Thomas)

By | | March 07, 2017

U.S. Air Force Reserve Capt. Daniel W. Thomas, missing from the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.

On July 6, 1971, Thomas was the pilot of an OV-10A aircraft with one other crewmember flying over central Laos in support of an eight man Special Forces reconnaissance team. When the aircraft arrived in the area, the weather was bad, however it was determined that this would not affect the aircraft’s mission. Approximately thirty minutes after the last radio transmission from the OV-10A aircraft the ground team heard an impact or explosion to their northeast, but could not determine the distance to the explosion. Extensive search efforts failed to locate the crash site.

After multiple negative attempts to investigate the crash site, in April 2014 a Vietnamese witness provided a photograph of an ID tag associated with one of the two crewmembers. In August 2014, possible human remains were approved for repatriation and accessioned. DPAA analysis of aircraft wreckage and life support items indicated both aircrew members were in the aircraft at the time of impact. Additionally, through research, analysis, and DNA testing, the DPAA Laboratory identified the second crewmember, Maj. Donald Carr, in August 2015.

On April 12, 2016, the DPAA lab received dental remains, ID tag, and other material evidence from the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons. Laboratory analysis of this evidence, as well as circumstantial evidence were used in the identification of his remains.

Interment services are pending.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Barnett)

By | | February 22, 2017

The remains of Air Force Capt. Robert R. Barnett, missing from the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.

On April 7, 1966, Barnett was a member of the 8th Bomb Squadron, and was the pilot of a B-57B aircraft on a strike mission over Laos. While making a dive-bombing attack, the aircraft reportedly crashed, disintegrated and burned. No parachutes were seen and the hostile threat in the area prevented a search and rescue or ground inspection of the site. Following the crash, Barnett was declared killed in action.

In January and May 2005, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team visited the site of the crash. In late 2014, and early 2015, three excavations of the site were conducted, recovering possible human remains, life support items and material evidence. The remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Barnett’s remains, scientists from DPAA used circumstantial evidence and dental comparisons, which matched his records.

The support from the government of Laos was vital to the success of this recovery.

Interment services are pending.

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Marine Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Ryan)

By | | January 06, 2017

Marine Corps Reserve 1st Lt. William C. Ryan, missing from the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.

On May 11, 1969, Ryan was the radar intercept officer of an F-4B aircraft, for the Marine Fighter Attack Force 115, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force Pacific, on a combat mission over Savannakhet Province, Laos. While pulling out of a bombing pass, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire. The pilot lost control and called several times for his radar officer to eject, but received no response. The pilot ejected before the aircraft crashed, and other members of the flight only witnessed one parachute leave the aircraft. The location of the crash site precluded a search and recovery effort, but the pilot was rescued. Ryan was declared deceased as of May 11, 1969.

From January 1990 until May 2012, joint teams with the U.S., Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Vietnamese Office for Research and Investigative Teams interviewed numerous witnesses to the crash, gathering information regarding where Ryan may have died.

From May 2012 until January 2016, joint teams conducted six excavations of a crash site near Ban Alang Noi, recovering life support items, aircraft wreckage and possible human remains. On Feb. 17, 2016, the remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

Laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence were used in the identification of his remains.

Interment services are pending.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Klenda)

By | | September 09, 2016

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Maj. Dean A. Klenda, 25, of Marion, Kansas, will be buried Sept. 17 in Pilsen, Kansas. On Sept. 17, 1965, Klenda was assigned to the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron as the pilot of an F-105D Thunderchief that was attacking enemy targets in Son La Province, Vietnam. During Klenda’s mission, his aircraft was struck by enemy fire causing him to eject from the Thunderchief. He failed to separate from his ejection seat before it impacted the ground. Klenda was reported as missing in action; however, a military review board later amended his status to dead, body not recovered.

Between 1993 and 1999, multiple joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams conducted investigations of the crash site. The teams identified the site that was believed to be where Klenda’s ejection seat impacted the ground. No remains were recovered at the time of the investigations.

On Nov. 10, 2011, another joint U.S./S.R.V. team re-investigated the loss in Son La Province and interviewed a Vietnamese national who claimed that in 1996 he found remains at the site where the ejection seat was believed to have impacted. The Vietnamese man told the team that he discarded the remains in an agricultural field five kilometers away from the crash site.

From Nov. 4 to Nov. 29, 2014, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team excavated the site where the Vietnamese national claimed to have discarded the remains. The recovery team located and recovered human remains.

In the identification of Klenda, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and dental comparisons, including isotopic analysis, which matched his records.

The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,618 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at http://www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.

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Marine Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Johnson)

By | | August 05, 2016

Marine Corps 1st Lt. Stanley Johnson, missing from the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.

On Dec. 3, 1965, Johnson was the co-pilot of an UH-34D helicopter assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, tasked to insert Army of the Republic of Viet Nam troops into South Vietnam. Johnson’s aircraft, with three other Americans and nine Vietnamese soldiers onboard, was hit by enemy fire. At 100 to 200 feet above the ground with the entire cargo compartment in flames, the helicopter lost one of its main rotor blades, and crashed approximately 30 kilometers west of Tam Ky Town. Everyone onboard the aircraft was killed in the crash.

Between 1993 and 2008, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams traveled to the area and conducted investigations which resulted in multiple excavations at the incident crash site and possible burial locations.

Lab analysis, in conjunction with the totality of circumstantial evidence available, established Johnson’s remains were included.

Interment services are pending.

Welcome home and rest in peace, 1st Lt. Johnson.

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Soldier Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Boyer)

By | | June 16, 2016

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Alan L. Boyer, 22, of Chicago, will be buried June 22 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On March 28, 1968, Boyer was a member of Spike Team Asp, an 11-man reconnaissance team assigned to Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), conducting a classified reconnaissance mission in Savannakhet Province, Laos, when they were attacked by enemy forces and requested extraction. Due to the rugged terrain, the U.S. Air Force CH-3 extraction helicopter was forced to use a ladder in an attempt to recover the team. The helicopter came under heavy fire, and after recovering seven of the Vietnamese team members, began pulling away. Reports indicated that Boyer began climbing the ladder, which broke as the helicopter pulled away, sending him falling to the ground. The other two Americans on the team and the remaining Vietnamese commando, while at one point were last seen on the ground, may also have started climbing the ladder when it broke. On April 1, 1968, a search team was inserted into the area, but found no evidence of the missing team members.

On Oct. 30, 1992, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic team traveled to Savannakhet Province to investigate the case. Two local Laotians reported seeing three men fall from a helicopter in 1968 when the rope ladder broke as they were climbing. The Laotians reported that local militia buried the bodies in graves near where they were found, but the men were unable to pinpoint a specific location.

Multiple subsequent investigations and three excavations of reported burial areas failed to yield the remains of Boyer.

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel office received remains from an American citizen who claimed to have received them from several unnamed Lao emigres. One of the remains was determined to be that of Boyer. To identify Boyer’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched his mother and sister.

Today there are 1,618 American service members still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1169.

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Sailor Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Clark)

15-019 | April 10, 2015

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman missing from the Vietnam War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Lt. j.g. Richard C. Clark, 26, of Richland, N.D., will be buried April 18, in Tacoma, Wash. On Oct. 24, 1967, Clark was the radar intercept officer of an F-4B Phantom II that launched off of the USS Coral Sea on a combat air patrol mission over Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam. While on patrol, the aircraft was struck by an enemy missile causing it to crash. The pilot of the aircraft successfully ejected from the aircraft and was captured by enemy forces; he was later returned to U.S. control. However, Clark, who could not be confirmed as having successfully ejected the aircraft, was carried as missing in action. A military review board later amended his status to presumed killed in action.

On Jan. 16, 1991, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) repatriated 11 boxes of remains to the U.S. that allegedly contained the remains of unaccounted for American servicemen. One box contained remains reportedly recovered in 1990 from the area where Clark’s aircraft crashed.

Between 1998 and 2002, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams investigated and excavated an F-4B crash site in Vinh Phuc Province. Vietnamese locals indicated that the crash site was the same site from which remains were recovered in 1990. The joint teams collected aircraft wreckage which correlated to Clark’s aircraft. The support from Vietnam was vital to this recovery operation.

In 2014, due to the advances in technology, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), a predecessor organization to DPAA, and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) re-examined the remains and made an identification.

In the identification of Clark, scientists from DPAA and the AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA, which matched his mother and sister.

Today there are 1,628 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Chorlins)

15-014 | April 07, 2015

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Richard D. Chorlins, 24, of St. Louis, will be buried April 14, 2015, at the Air Force Academy in, Colorado Springs, Colo. On Jan. 11, 1970, Chorlins was the pilot of an A-1H Skyraider aircraft that crashed into a mountain while attacking enemy targets in Khammouan Province, Laos. Neither the forward controller directing the attack, nor Chorlins’ wingman saw him exit the aircraft before impact. Chorlins was reported as missing in action. A military review board later amended his status to dead, body not recovered.

From 1994 through 2013, joint U.S./ Lao People’s Democratic Republic and joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams investigated the A-1H loss both in Laos and Vietnam. Investigations revealed that the crash site was scavenged after the war, and all attempts to recover human remain were unsuccessful.

On Feb. 11, 2003, the Department of Defense (DoD) laboratory received a package labeled with Chorlins’ information from an American citizen, who had previously received the remains from a Vietnamese local living near Cam Ranh Bay. The remains received were too small to test for DNA at that time, but by 2014 advances in technology enabled the remains to be tested again by the Armed Forces Identification Laboratory (AFDIL).

In the identification of Chorlins, scientists from DPAA and AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched his mother.

Today there are 1,628 American service members that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

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Soldier Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Van Bendegom)

14-009 | October 31, 2014

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, who died in captivity in 1967, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Staff Sgt. James L. Van Bendegom, 19, of Kenosha, Wis., will be buried Nov. 11, 2014, in Kenosha, Wis. On July 12, 1967, Van Bendegom was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, as a member of a patrol that was overrun by enemy forces in South Vietnam, near the Cambodian border. During this attack, Van Bendegom was captured by enemy forces and returning POWs later reported that he died from wounds sustained during the attack.

On March 14, 1986, a Vietnamese national in a refugee camp in Thailand, turned over to U.S. custody, remains of what were purported to be an American service member. Information provided by the Vietnamese national did not correlate with any unaccounted for service members.

In mid 2000, due to the advances in technology, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) re-examined the remains and determined that there was a possibility for identification.

In the identification of Van Bendegom, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including two forms of DNA analysis; mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome Short Tandem Report DNA (Y-STR), which matched his brothers.

Today there are 1,639 American service members that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

Additional Article:

By DPAA Public Affairs | November 19, 2014

He didn’t want to make a sound, but as U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James Van Bendegom’s heavy boots made way through the patrol route on the border between South Vietnam and Cambodia on July 12, 1967, there was no stopping the rustle of leaves as they made a closer marriage to the ground. And so he trudged along the path following the man in front of him and leading those behind, until they all heard the sound of enemy arms: “pop, pop, pop.”

Van Bendegom and his men were under attack, and though they fought valiantly, they were overrun by the enemy forces. Unable to navigate away from the melee, Van Bendegom was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp. Through reports brought back by POWs who returned after the war, it was learned that Van Bendegom lost his life from wounds sustained during the attack.

For nearly 47 years, Van Bendegom’s whereabouts were unknown. Though his family understood he would not be returning home from Vietnam, the fact that his remains were unrecovered broadened the sense of hurt surrounding his death.

That hurt was partially relieved in October 2014 when the scientist at the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii positively identified a set of remains in its possession as those belonging to Van Bendegom.

“It helped us in healing,” said Mike Van Bendegom, James’ brother, in regards to the news his brother was identified and would be returned to Wisconsin. Mike was surprised that the search for his brother continued years after his death, and views the efforts of his country and the personnel accounting community to account for his brother as “phenomal.”

James Van Bendegom was an All-American boy who grew up in Wisconsin. Interested in hunting and fishing, he was filled with love for life and love for his country. Dropping out of high school his junior year in order to enlist into the army, Van Bendegom continued the tradition of military service that his father, a World War II veteran, began.

Mike, now 68, still remembers the time he spent with his brother when they shared bunk beds in his childhood home, and how they delivered newspapers together during their teenage years. Such memories flood back and mingle with the pronounced feeling of loss that he holds when he thinks of James.

“We miss him everyday, and [his identification] brings it to the surface,” said Mike. “[But] thanks to the military for doing this, and thanks for bringing closure to our family.”

It is that sense of closure that gently relieves the void left by losing his beloved brother.

“He’s looking down on us and smiling that [we] finally got some closure,” said Mike.

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Soldier Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Woods)

14-040 | March 12, 2014

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, were recently accounted for and will be buried in a group burial ceremony.

Army Staff Sgt. Lawrence Woods, 39, of Clarksville, Tenn., will be buried as part of group on March 21, at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. in a ceremony honoring the servicemen who were lost in an aircraft crash on Oct. 24, 1964.

Woods and seven other service members were aboard a C-123 Provider aircraft that crashed when it was struck by enemy fire while resupplying the U.S. Special Forces camp at Bu Prang, Vietnam. Also on board the aircraft were Air Force service members Capt. Valmore W. Bourque, 1st Lt. Edward J. Krukowiski, 1st Lt. Robert G. Armstrong, Staff Sgt. Ernest J. Halvorson, Staff Sgt. Theodore B. Phillips, Airman 1st Class Eugene Richardson and Army Pfc. Charles P. Sparks. Shortly after the crash, U.S. forces arrived at the site and recovered remains of seven of the crew members, but they could not locate Woods. The remains for the seven crew members were individually identified and the men were laid to rest at that time.

In early 1997, a joint U.S./Kingdom of Cambodia team investigated the crash site and found it to be on the Vietnam side of the border. Subsequently, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam team surveyed the site in 1999 and confirmed that the wreckage correlated to a U.S. C- 123 Provider aircraft.

In 2009-2010, U.S. and Vietnamese teams excavated the site and recovered human remains and additional evidence, including a metal identification tag from the aircraft’s commander.

To identify those remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used forensic and circumstantial evidence, which allowed them to account for Woods.

Today there are 1,642 American service members that are still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (McGouldrick)

13-055 | December 10, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, has been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Air Force Col. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr. of New Haven, Conn., will be buried Dec. 13, at Arlington National Cemetery. On Dec. 13, 1968, McGouldrick was on a night strike mission when his B-57E Canberra aircraft collided with another aircraft over Savannakhet Province, Laos. McGouldrick was never seen again and was listed as missing in action.

After the war in July 1978, a military review board amended his official status from missing in action to presumed killed in action.

Between 1993 and 2004, joint U.S/Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams attempted to locate the crash site with no success. On April 8, 2007, a joint team located a possible crash site near the village of Keng Keuk, Laos.

From October 2011 to May 2012, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams excavated the site three times and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage consistence with a B-57E aircraft.

In the identification of McGouldrick, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as mitochondrial DNA – which matched McGouldrick’s great nephew and niece.

Today there are 1,643 American service members that are still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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Missing Airmen From Vietnam War Accounted For (Pietsch, Guillermin)

13-047 | September 30, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been accounted for and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert E. Pietsch, 31, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Maj. Louis F. Guillermin, 25, of West Chester, Pa., will be buried as a group Oct. 16, in a single casket representing the two servicemen at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. Guillermin’s individual remains will be buried Oct. 5, 2013, in Broomall, Pa.

On April 30, 1968, Guillermin and Pietsch were on an armed-reconnaissance mission when their A-26A Invader aircraft crashed in Savannakhet Province, Laos. Witnesses saw an explosion on the ground and did not see any signs of survivors. Search and rescue efforts were unsuccessful, and Guillermin and Pietsch were listed as Missing in Action.

In 1994, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) team, lead by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), surveyed the crash site in Savannakhet Province, Laos. The team recovered human remains and evidence, but was unable to fully survey the site due to the presence of dangerous unexploded ordinance.

In 2006, joint U.S./LPDR teams assisted by Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel cleared the site and gathered additional human remains and evidence such as personal effects and crew-related equipment.

The remains recovered were analyzed by scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory using circumstantial evidence and forensic analysis such as mtDNA comparisons. Portions of the remains were individually identified as Guillermin through an mtDNA match from a hair sample from Guillermin’s medical file. The rest of the remains recovered were not individually identified, but correspond to both Pietsch and Guillermin.

There are more than 1,640 American service members that are still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Dugan)

13-062 | August 26, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

The two servicemen are U.S. Air Force Cols. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr., of New Haven, Conn., and Thomas W. Dugan, of Reading, Pa. McGouldrick will be buried Dec. 13 at Arlington National Cemetery. Group remains representing McGouldrick and Dugan will be buried Aug. 21 in Reiffton, Pa. On Dec. 13, 1968, McGouldrick and Dugan were on a night strike mission when their B-57E Canberra aircraft collided with another aircraft over Savannakhet Province, Laos. McGouldrick and Dugan were never seen again and were listed as missing in action.

After the war in July 1978, a military review board amended their official status from missing in action to be presumed killed in action.

Between 1993 and 2004, joint U.S/Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams attempted to locate the crash site with no success. On April 8, 2007, a joint team located a possible crash site near the village of Keng Keuk, Laos.

From October 2011 to May 2012, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams excavated the site three times and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage consistence with a B-57E aircraft.

In the identification of McGouldrick, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, to include mitochondrial DNA – which matched McGouldrick’s great nephew and niece. The accounting for Dugan was based upon circumstantial evidence as the remains not identified could not be associated with either, or both, Dugan and McGouldrick.

Today there are 1,641American service members that are still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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Airmen From Vietnam War Identified

September 19, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of Air Force pilots Maj. James E. Sizemore of Lawrenceville, Ill., and Maj. Howard V. Andre Jr., of Memphis, Tenn., have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors on Sept. 23 at Arlington National Cemetery.

On July 8, 1969, Sizemore and Andre were on a night armed reconnaissance mission when their A-26A Invader aircraft crashed in Xiangkhoang Province, Laos. Both men died in the crash but their remains were unaccounted for until April 2013.

In 1993, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic team investigated an aircraft crash site in Laos. They recovered aircraft wreckage from an A-26. The team was not able to conduct a complete excavation of the site at that time.

Twice in 2010, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic teams conducted excavations of the crash site recovering human remains, aircraft wreckage, personal effects and military equipment associated with Sizemore and Andre.

In the identification of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparison – which matched Sizemore’s records.

There are more than 1,640 American service members that are still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1169 or visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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SAILOR MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

13-030 | July 08, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael B. Judd, 21, of Cleveland, will be buried on July 15, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On June 30, 1967, Judd was aboard a CH-46A Sea Knight helicopter that was attempting to insert a U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance team into hostile territory in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. As the helicopter approached the landing zone, it was struck by enemy fire from the surrounding tree line, causing the aircraft to catch fire and crash. Although most of the reconnaissance team survived, Judd and four other crew members, died in the crash.

In 1993, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams investigated the case in Thua Thien-Hue Province. The team interviewed local villagers who claimed to have discovered an aircraft crash site in the nearby forest while searching for firewood in 1991. The team surveyed the location finding aircraft wreckage that could not be associated with a CH-46A.

During the 1990s, joint U.S./ S.R.V. teams continued to investigate the loss in Thua Thien-Hue Province. In 1999, the team re-interviewed local villagers who provided relevant case information and the joint team re-surveyed the crash site again, this time uncovering aircraft wreckage consistent with a U.S. military helicopter.

In 2012, joint U.S./ S.R.V. recovery teams began excavating the crash site and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage from the CH-46A helicopter that Judd was aboard.

Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, including dental comparisons, in the identification of Judd’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.

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AIRMAN MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

July 8, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Maj. Larry J. Hanley, 26, of Walla Walla, Wash., will be buried on July 13, in his hometown. On Nov. 4, 1969, Hanley, an F-105D Thunderchief pilot, was attacking an enemy anti-aircraft position, when his aircraft crashed in Khammouan Province, Laos. Neither Hanley’s wingman, in a separate aircraft, nor the forward air controller directing the attack, witnessed the impact, and the location of the crash site was unknown. As a result of this incident Hanley was declared missing in action.

In 1979, a military review board reevaluated Hanley’s case, and amended Hanley’s status to killed in action.

In 1994 and 1998, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams investigated the case in Khammoua n Province but were unable to correlate a crash site with the loss of Hanley’s aircraft.

On Feb. 24, 2012, the Joint Prisoner of War Accounting Command (JPAC) received human remains from the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) Stony Beach division. The remains were obtained from an indigenous source, who found the remains at a crash site in Khammouan Province.

To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic tools, such as dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Hanley’s mother and sister.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.

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Soldier Missing from Vietnam War Accounted For

June 25, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a soldier, missing from the Vietnam War, has been accounted for and will be buried with full military honors along with two of his crew members.

Army Spc. 5 John L. Burgess, of Sutton Bay, Mich., was the crew chief of a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter that crashed in Binh Phuoc Province, South Vietnam. Also, killed in the crash were 1st Lt. Leslie F. Douglas Jr., of Verona, Miss.; lst Lt. Richard Dyer, of Central Falls, R.I.; and Sgt. 1st Class Juan Colon-Diaz, of Comerio, Puerto Rico. Another crew member, Pfc. John Goosman, survived the crash and was rescued. Remains representing Dyer, Colon-Diaz, and Burgess, will be buried as a group in a single casket, on July 2, at Arlington National Cemetery.

On June 30, 1970, while on a command and control mission, the helicopter was struck by enemy fire, causing it to crash. Shortly thereafter, friendly forces recovered remains of Douglas, Colon-Diaz, and Dyer. The three men were individually identified and buried with full military honors. At that time, no remains were attributed to Burgess.

From 1992 to 2012, more than a dozen joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams investigated the case, in Binh Phuoc Province, recovering human remains, personal effects, military equipment, and aircraft wreckage associated with this loss.

Burgess was accounted for using forensic and circumstantial evidence.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420.

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Marine Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Allen)

13-053 | June 24, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Merlin R. Allen, 20, of Madison, Wis., will be buried on June 29, in Washburn, Wis. On June 30, 1967, Allen was aboard a CH-46A Sea Knight helicopter attempting to insert a U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance team into hostile territory in Thua Thien- Hue Province, Vietnam. As the aircraft approached the landing zone, it was struck by enemy fire, causing the aircraft to catch fire and crash land. Most of the reconnaissance team survived; however, Allen, and four others died in the crash.

In 1993 and 1994, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams investigated the case in Thua Thien-Hue Province. The teams interviewed local villagers who claimed to have discovered an aircraft crash site in the nearby forest while searching for firewood in 1991. The team surveyed the area finding aircraft wreckage; however, the wreckage could not be associated with a CH-46A.

Throughout the 1990s, joint U.S./ S.R.V. teams continued to investigate the loss in Thua Thien-Hue Province. In 1999, the team re-interviewed the local villagers from the 1993 and 1994 investigation. The joint team surveyed the crash site again, this time uncovering aircraft wreckage consistent with a CH-46A helicopter.

In 2012, a joint U.S./ S.R.V. recovery teams began excavating the crash site and recovered human remains, aircraft wreckage, and military equipment that correlated the CH-46A helicopter Allen was on.

To identify the remains, scientists from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) used circumstantial evidence and dental comparisons.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.

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Marine Missing from Vietnam War to be Buried with Crew (Benedett, Maxwell, Rivernburgh)

May 10, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, was recently accounted for and will be buried along with the 12 other servicemen who were lost in the same crash.

U.S. Marine Pfc. Daniel A. Benedett of Seattle, Wash., will be buried May 15, at Arlington National Cemetery, along with Air Force 2nd Lt. Richard Vandegeer of Cleveland, Ohio; Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Bernard Gause Jr., of Birmingham, Ala.; Hospitalman Ronald J. Manning of Steubenville, Ohio; Marine Corps servicemen Lance Cpl. Gregory S. Copenhaver of Lewistown, Pa.; Lance Cpl. Andres Garcia of Carlsbad, N.M.; Pfc. Lynn Blessing of Lancaster, Pa.; Pfc. Walter Boyd of Portsmouth, Va.; Pfc. James J. Jacques of La Junta, Colo.; Pfc. James R. Maxwell of Memphis, Tenn.; Pfc. Richard W. Rivernburgh of Schenectady, N.Y.; Pfc. Antonio R. Sandoval of San Antonio, Texas; and Pfc. Kelton R. Turner of St. Louis, Mo.

On May 12, 1975, Khmer Rouge gunboats captured the S.S. Mayaguez in the Gulf of Thailand, approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of Cambodia. After the vessel was taken to Koh Tang Island, U.S. aircraft began surveillance flights around the island. When efforts to secure the release of the ship and its crew failed, U.S. military forces began a rescue mission.

Three days after the Mayaguez seizure, the Air Force dispatched six helicopters to the island. One of the helicopters came under heavy enemy fire and crashed into the surf with 26 men on board. Thirteen of the men were rescued at sea, leaving Benedett and 12 other service members unaccounted-for from the crash.

Between 1991 and 2008, investigators conducted more than 10 investigations and excavations, led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). On three occasions, Cambodian authorities turned over remains believed to be those of American servicemen. In 1995, U.S. and Cambodian specialists conducted an underwater recovery of the helicopter crash site where they located remains, personal effects and aircraft debris associated with the loss. Between 2000 and 2004, all of the missing service members from this helicopter, except Benedett, were accounted-for.

On Jan. 30, 2013, Benedett was accounted-for. Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and DNA process of elimination to account for his remains.

Today, more than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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Navy Pilot From Vietnam War Identified (Laws)

13-018 | May 07, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, killed in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Lt. Richard L. Laws, 26, of West Sacramento, Calif., will be buried May 10, in Annapolis, Md. On April 3, 1966, Laws was strafing enemy targets in Thanh Hoa Province, North Vietnam, when his F-8E Crusader was struck by enemy ground fire. His mission commander saw his aircraft crash into a nearby hillside and explode. As a result, Laws was declared killed in action.

From 1994 to 2003, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams conducted interviews and excavations of the crash site in Thanh Hoa Province, based on an investigative lead from the Vietnam Central Armed Forces Museum in Hanoi. The teams recovered human remains, U.S. aircraft wreckage, personal effects and life-support equipment; however, no remains could be attributes to Laws given the technology of the time.

In 2006, another U.S./S.R.V. team expanded the excavated site in Thanh Hoa Province. The team recovered additional human remains, aircraft wreckage, life-support equipment, and personal effects from the site.

In the identification of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as mitochondrial DNA–which matched Laws’ mother.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1420 or visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Ferguson)

14-034 | April 25, 2014

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Douglas D. Ferguson, 24, of Tacoma, Wash., will be buried May 2, in Lakewood, Wash. On Dec. 30, 1969, Ferguson was on an armed reconnaissance mission when his F-4D Phantom II aircraft crashed in Houaphan Province, Laos. A U.S. forward air controller saw an explosion on the ground and interpreted it to be that of Ferguson’s aircraft. He reported seeing no survivors. Ferguson was carried as missing in action until a military review board later amended his status to presumed killed in action.

Between 1994 and 1997, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams conducted investigations of the crash site. U.S. aircraft wreckage and personal effects were found that confirmed this as the crash site of Ferguson’s F-4D.

From October 2009 to April 2013, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams excavated the site three times and recovered human remains.

In the identification of Ferguson, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparisons, which matched his records, and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Ferguson’s maternal line sister and nephew.

Today there are 1,642 American service members that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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Sailors Missing From Vietnam War Identified

April 30, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a Navy pilot, missing from the Vietnam War, has been accounted for and will be buried with full military honors along with his crew.

Navy Lt. Dennis W. Peterson of Huntington Park, Calif., was the pilot of a SH-3A helicopter that crashed in Ha Nam Province, North Vietnam.  Peterson was accounted for on March 30, 2012.  Also, aboard the aircraft was Ensign Donald P. Frye of Los Angeles, Calif.; Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Technicians William B. Jackson of Stockdale, Texas; and Donald P. McGrane of Waverly, Iowa.  The crew will be buried, as a group, on May 2 at Arlington National Cemetery.

On July 19, 1967, the four servicemen took off from the USS Hornet aboard an SH-3A Sea King helicopter, on a search and rescue mission looking for a downed pilot in Ha Nam Province, North Vietnam.  During the mission, an enemy concealed 37mm gun position targeted the helicopter as it flew in.  The helicopter was hit by the anti-aircraft gunfire, causing the aircraft to lose control, catch fire and crash, killing all four servicemen.

In October 1982, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) repatriated five boxes of remains to U.S. officials.  In 2009, the remains within the boxes were identified as Frye, Jackson, and McGrane.

In 1993, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team investigated a loss in Ha Nam Province.  The team interviewed local villagers who identified possible burial sites linked to the loss.  One local claimed to have buried two of the crewmen near the wreckage, but indicated that both graves had subsequently been exhumed.

Between 1994 and 2000, three joint U.S./S.R.V. teams excavated the previous site and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage that correlated to the crew’s SH-3A helicopter.  In 2000, U.S. personnel excavated the crash site recovering additional remains.  Analysis from the Joint POW/MIA Command Central Identification Laboratory subsequently designated these additional remains as the co-mingled remains of all four crewmen, including Peterson.

DoD scientists used forensic tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420.

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December 07, 2012

Soldier KIA During Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, killed in action during the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Capt. James M. Johnstone, of Baton Rouge, La., will be buried Dec. 12, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On Nov. 19, 1966, Johnstone was the pilot of an OV-1A Mohawk aircraft that crashed while conducting a daytime reconnaissance mission over Attapu Province, Laos.  Nearby U.S. aircrews reported seeing the wing of Johnstone’s aircraft hit a tree during a climb to avoid a nearby ridgeline.  No parachutes were seen exiting the aircraft.  Heavy enemy presence in the area prevented recovery efforts.

From 1993 to 2009, joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed multiple witnesses, and conducted several investigations and excavations of the crash site in Attapu Province.  The teams located human remains, military equipment, an identification card bearing Johnstone’s name, and aircraft wreckage of an OV-1A, which correlated with the last known location of Johnstone’s aircraft.

To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC analyzed circumstantial evidence and used forensic identification tools, such as dental comparisons.

Today, the U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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December 03, 2012

Soldier Missing from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. John R. Jones, of Louisville, Ky., will be buried Dec. 6, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On June 4, 1971, Jones was part of a U.S. team working with indigenous commandos to defend a radio-relay base, known as Hickory Hill, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.  When enemy forces attacked the site, Jones and another serviceman took up a defensive position in a nearby bunker.  The following morning, Jones was reportedly killed by enemy fire and the other soldier was captured and held as a POW until 1973.

From 1993 to 2010, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted several investigations, surveyed the site and interviewed multiple witnesses, including those involved in the battle.  During that time, analysts from JPAC and DPMO evaluated wartime records and eyewitness accounts to determine possible excavation sites.  In 2011, another joint U.S.-S.R.V team located human remains in a bunker suspected to be the last known location of Jones.

For the identification of the remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental records and mitochondrial DNA that matched Jones’ mother and brother.

Since 1973 more than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from the Vietnam War, and returned to their families for burial with military honors.  The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

Welcome home, Soldier … [gdw]

Click here for a downloadable print quality .pdf of this press release.

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Oct. 26, 2012

SOLDIER KIA DURING VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, killed in action during the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Maj. James L. Whited, 42, of Norman, Okla., will be buried Nov. 2, in his hometown.

On Nov. 19, 1966, Whited was the co-pilot of an OV-1A Mohawk aircraft that crashed while conducting a daytime reconnaissance mission over Attapu Province, Laos. Nearby U.S. aircrews reported seeing the wing of Whited’s aircraft hit a tree during a climb to avoid a nearby ridgeline. No parachutes were seen exiting the aircraft. Heavy enemy presence in the area prevented recovery efforts.

From 1993 to 2009, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), inteviewed multiple witnesses, and conducted several investigations and excavations of the crash site in Attapu Province. The teams located human remains, military equipment, and aircraft wreckage of an OV-1A, which correlated with the last known location of Whited’s aircraft.

To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC analyzed circumstantial evidence and used forensic identification tools, such as dental comparisons.

Today, the U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Oct. 23, 2012

AIRMAN KIA FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, killed in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Jerry M. Wall, 24, of Jacksonville, Texas, will be buried Oct. 26, in San Antonio. On May 18, 1966, Wall and four other crew members were aboard a C-123B Provider aircraft that crashed while carrying out a nighttime flare-drop mission over Binh Dinh, South Vietnam. Nearby U.S. ground troops reported seeing Wall’s aircraft hit by enemy ground fire and crash. Heavy enemy presence in the area prevented immediate search and rescue efforts.  Later that day the remains of three of the five crew members were recovered.

From 2007 to 2012, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams conducted interviews and excavations of the crash site in Binh Dinh Province. Department of Defense casualty and life support experts identified the location as Wall’s possibleloss site. The teams excavated the site and found human remains, military equipment, a military identification tag bearing Wall’s information, and aircraft wreckage of a C-123.

 In the identification of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as radiograph, dental records and mitochondrial DNA–which matched Wall’s mother.

 For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1420 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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October 16, 2012

Airmen Missing From Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be buried, as a group, with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Wendell Keller of Fargo, N.D., and Capt. Virgil K. Meroney III of Fayetteville, Ark., will be buried as a group, in a single casket representing the crew, on Oct. 19, in Arlington National Cemetery.  Meroney was interred individually on June 9, in his hometown.

On March 1, 1969, Keller and Meroney were the crew of an F-4D Phantom II aircraft that crashed while carrying out a nighttime strike mission in Khammouan Province, Laos.  Nearby U.S. aircrews reported seeing the aircraft hit by enemy fire.  No parachutes were seen after the aircraft was hit.  Heavy enemy presence in the area prevented recovery efforts. 

From 1994 to 2011, joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams, led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted several investigations and excavations of the crash site in Khammouan Province, Laos.  The teams located human remains, military equipment, a military identification card, and aircraft wreckage of an F-4, including an engine data plate and radio call-sign plate.  During the 17 years of investigations, analysts evaluated the material evidence and the accounts of more than 40 eyewitnesses to confirm the information correlated with the crew’s loss location.

To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools including dental comparisons and radiograph comparisons.

Today, 1,655 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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Oct. 4, 2012

MARINE MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Pfc. James J. Jacques, 18, of Denver, will be buried Oct. 9, in his hometown. On May 12, 1975, Khmer Rouge gunboats captured the S.S. Mayaguez in the Gulf of Thailand, approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of Cambodia. The vessel was taken to Koh [island] Tang. Alerted to the capture, U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft began surveillance flights around the island. After efforts to secure the release of the ship and its crew failed, U.S. military forces were ordered to undertake a rescue mission.

Three days after the Mayaguez seizure, six Air Force helicopters were dispatched to the island. One of the helicopters came under heavy enemy fire as it approached the eastern beach of the island. The aircraft crashed into the surf with 26 men on board. Half were rescued at sea, leaving Jacques and 12 other service members unaccounted-for.

The United States, Cambodian and Vietnamese government efforts to resolve the cases of these unaccounted-for service members was massive. Between 1991 and 2008, U.S. and Cambodian investigators conducted multiple joint investigations, led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).

Additionally, on three occasions Cambodian authorities unilaterally turned over remains believed to be those of American servicemen. In 1995, U.S. and Cambodian specialists conducted an underwater recovery of the helicopter crash site where they located remains, personal effects and aircraft debris associated with the loss. The U.S.S. Brunswick, a Navy salvage vessel, enabled the specialists to conduct their excavation off shore.

In the identification of the recovered remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) analyzed circumstantial evidence and used forensic identification tools, such as mitochondrial DNA–which matched Jacques’ brother.

Today, 1,655 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the Vietnam War.

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Sept. 11, 2012

AIRMAN MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Lt. Col. Clarence F. Blanton, 46, of El Reno, Okla., will be buried Sept. 15, in his hometown. In 1968, Blanton and 18 other men were assigned to Lima Site 85, a tactical air navigation radar site on a remote, 5,600-foot mountain peak known as Phou Pha Thi in Houaphan Province, Laos. In the early morning of March 11, the site was overrun by Vietnamese commandos, causing the Americans to seek safety on a narrow ledge of the steep mountain. A few hours later, under the protective cover of A-1 Skyraider aircraft, U.S. helicopters were able to rescue eight of the men. Blanton, who was the U.S. commander of the site, and 10 other Americans were killed in action and unable to be recovered.

In 1994, a joint U.S. /Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) recovery operation, led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), took place near the top of Phou Pha Thi with negative results. A second recovery operation, in 2003, resulted in the discovery of remains which were subsequently identified as one of the missing U.S. servicemen—Tech Sgt. Patrick L. Shannon. Since that time, JPAC has evaluated the feasibility of conducting recoveries on Phou Pha Thi but logistics and safety concerns precluded further attempts.

From 1994 to 2009, in cooperation with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) and L.P.D.R., teams pursued multiple leads from dozens of witnesses interviewed, including those involved with the attack. In 2005, a Laotian citizen provided U.S. officials an identification card bearing Blanton’s name and human remains purportedly found at the base of Phou Pha Thi. Scientists from the JPAC and the AFDIL determined the identity of the remains using circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as mitochondrial DNA–which matched Blanton’s sister.

Today, 1,660 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Since 1973, 986 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Sept. 7, 2012

NAVY PILOT MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward J. Broms, Jr., 25, of Meadville, Penn., was buried on Sept. 7, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On Aug. 1, 1968, Broms was the pilot of an A-4C Skyhawk aircraft that crashed while attacking enemy targets in Ha Tinh Province, North Vietnam. Three other U.S. pilots in the flight did not witness the crash, and search-and-rescue teams found no sign of the aircraft or Broms.

In 1993, a joint U.S/Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), traveled to Ha Tinh Province to interview villagers and analyze leads. As a result, the team found and surveyed the crash site locating aircraft wreckage and military equipment. In addition, a villager turned over human remains that his father found at the site in 1968. The remains could not be identified given the technology of the time.

During an excavation of the site in 1995, a second joint team located more aircraft wreckage but no additional remains.

In 2011, given advances in DNA technology, the remains were reanalyzed. Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) identified the remains as Broms, using circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his mother and sister.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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August 27, 2012

Soldiers Missing From Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were recently identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown of La Habra, Calif., Sgt. 1st Class Donald M. Shue of Kannapolis, N.C., and Sgt. 1st Class Gunther H. Wald of Palisades Park, N.J., will be buried as a group on Aug. 30, in a single casket representing the three soldiers, in Arlington National Cemetery.  Brown and Shue were each individually buried on Sept. 26, 2011, at Arlington and May 1 in Kannapolis, N.C.

On Nov. 3, 1969, the men and six Vietnamese soldiers were part of a Special Forces reconnaissance patrol operating in Quang Tri Province, near the Vietnam-Laos border.  The patrol was ambushed by enemy forces and all three Americans were wounded.   Brown was reported to have suffered a gunshot wound to his side.  Due to heavy enemy presence and poor weather conditions, the search-and-rescue team was not able to reach the site until eight days later.  At that time, they found military equipment belonging to Shue, but no other signs of the men.

Between 1993 and 2010, joint United States/Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted multiple interviews on nine different occasions in Quang Tri Province.  Additionally, the S.R.V. teams unilaterally investigated this case, but were unable to develop new leads.  Among those interviewed by the joint teams were former Vietnamese militiamen who claimed in 1969 they ambushed three Americans in the area near the Laos-Vietnam border.  In 2007, a Vietnamese citizen led investigators to human remains that he had discovered and buried near the site of the ambush.  In 2008, a military identification tag for Brown was turned over to the U.S. Government from a U.S. citizen with ties to Vietnam.  Finally, in April 2010, joint teams excavated a hilltop area near Huong Lap Village, recovering additional human remains, military equipment, another military identification tag for Brown, and a “Zippo” lighter bearing the name “Donald M. Shue” and the date “1969.”

Scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence, along with mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of some of the soldiers’ family members – in the identification of the remains.

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Sgt. John R. Jones, U.S. Army, Task Force 1, was lost on June 4, 1971, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. He was accounted for on Aug. 10, 2012.

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August 06, 2012

Airmen Missing from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling of Phoenix, Ariz., and Maj. Aado Kommendant of Lakewood, N.J., will be buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 8 — the 46th anniversary of the crash that took their lives.  Walling was individually buried on June 15, at Arlington National Cemetery.

On Aug. 8, 1966, Walling and Kommendant were the crew of an F-4C aircraft that crashed while on a close air support mission over Song Be Province, Vietnam.  Other Americans in the area reported seeing the aircraft crash and no parachutes being deployed.  Search and rescue efforts were not successful in the days following the crash.

In 1992, a joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team investigated the crash site and interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who had recovered aircraft pieces from the site.  In 1994, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered a metal identification tag bearing Walling‘s name, and other military equipment.  In 2010, the site was excavated again, and additional evidence was recovered, including human remains.

Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence, along with forensic identification tools including mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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July 05, 2012

Airmen Missing from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of six servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were recently identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Joseph Christiano of Rochester, N.Y.; Col. Derrell B. Jeffords of Florence, S.C.; Lt. Col. Dennis L. Eilers of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chief Master Sgt. William K. Colwell of Glen Cove, N.Y.; Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger of Lebanon, Ore.; and Chief Master Sgt. Larry C. Thornton of Idaho Falls, Idaho, will be buried as a group in a single casket representing the entire crew on July 9 in Arlington National Cemetery.  On Dec. 24, 1965, the crew was aboard an AC-47D aircraft nicknamed “Spooky” that failed to return from a combat strike mission in southern Laos.  After a “mayday” signal was sent, all contact was lost with the crew.  Following the crash, two days of search efforts for the aircraft and crew were unsuccessful.

In 1995, a joint United States-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team investigated a crash in Savannakhet Province, Laos.  Local villagers recalled seeing a two-propeller aircraft, similar to an AC-47D, crash in December 1965.  A local man found aircraft wreckage in a nearby field while farming, and led the team to that location.  The team recovered small pieces of aircraft wreckage at that time and recommended further investigative visits.

Joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. investigation and recovery teams re-visited the site four times from 1999 to 2001.  They conducted additional interviews with locals, recovered military equipment, and began an excavation.  No human remains were recovered, so the excavation was suspended pending additional investigation.

In 2010, joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. recovery teams again excavated the crash site.  The team recovered human remains, personal items, and military equipment.  Three additional excavations in 2011 recovered additional human remains and evidence.

Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental records and circumstantial evidence in the identification of their remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420.

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June 20, 2012

Airman Missing from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Clyde W. Campbell of Longview, Texas, will be buried June 21 at Arlington National Cemetery.  On March 1, 1969, Campbell was a pilot aboard an A-1J Skyraider aircraft that crashed while carrying out a close air-support mission in Houaphan Province, Laos.  American forward air controllers directing the mission in the area reported hearing an explosion that they believed to be Campbell’s bombs, but later learned Campbell’s aircraft had crashed.  No parachutes were seen in the area.

In 1997, a joint United States – Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team investigated a crash site in Houaphan Province, Laos, within 330 feet of the last known location of Campbell.  In addition to human remains, the team located aircraft wreckage and military equipment, which correlated with Campbell’s aircraft.

From 2009 to 2010, additional joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. recovery teams investigated and excavated the crash site three times.  Teams recovered additional human remains, military equipment — including an aircraft data plate — and a .38-caliber pistol matching the serial number issued to Campbell.

Scientists from the JPAC used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools in the identification of Campbell.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1420 or visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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June 14, 2012

Airmen Missing from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling of Phoenix will be buried June 15 at Arlington National Cemetery. There will be a group burial honoring Walling and fellow crew member, Maj. Aado Kommendant of Lakewood, N.J., at Arlington National Cemetery, on Aug. 8 — the 46th anniversary of the crash that took their lives.

On Aug. 8, 1966, Walling and Kommendant were flying an F-4C aircraft that crashed while on a close air support mission over Song Be Province, Vietnam. Other Americans in the area reported seeing the aircraft crash and no parachutes were deployed. Search and rescue efforts were not successful in the days following the crash.

In 1992, a joint United States-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team investigated the crash site and interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who had recovered aircraft pieces from the site. In 1994, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered a metal identification tag, bearing Wallings name, and other military equipment. In 2010, the site was excavated again. Human remains and additional evidence were recovered.

Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence, along with forensic identification tools including mitochondrial DNA which matched Wallings living sister in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Departments mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420.

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April 27, 2012

SOLDIER MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Capt. Charles R. Barnes, 27, of Philadelphia, Pa., will be buried May 2, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On March 16, 1969, Barnes and four other service members departed Qui Nhon Airfields bound for Da Nang and Phu Bai, in a U-21A Ute aircraft.  As they approached Da Nang, they encountered low clouds and poor visibility. Communications with the aircraft were lost, and they did not land as scheduled. Immediate search efforts were limited due to hazardous weather conditions, and all five men were list as missing in action.

From 1986-1989, unidentified human remains were turned over to the U.S. from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) in several different instances. None of the remains were identified given the limits of the technology of the time.

In 1993, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted investigations in Quang Nam-Da Nang, and Thua Thien-Hue Provinces.  They interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who supplied remains and an identification tag bearing Barnes’ name, which he claimed to have recovered from an aircraft crash site.

In 1999, another joint U.S./S.R.V. team interviewed additional Vietnamese citizens about the crash and they were led to the crash site.  In 2000, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered human remains and material evidence.  Scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, and forensic identification tools such as mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Barnes’ sister – in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing
Americans, call (703) 699-1420 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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April 3, 2012

AIRMAN MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Allen J. Avery, 29, of Arlington, Mass.; will be buried April 6 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Exactly 40 years prior, on April 6, 1972, six airmen were flying a combat search and rescue mission in their HH-53C Super Jolly Green Giant helicopter over Quang Tri Province in South Vietnam, when they were hit by enemy ground fire and crashed.

In 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V) turned over remains they attributed to an American serviceman, however, the name provided did not match anyone lost or missing from the Vietnam War.  The remains were held by JPAC pending improved technology which might have facilitated a later identification.

From 1989 to 1992, Joint U.S./S.R.V field investigations, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), found evidence leading to an aircraft crash site as well as two reported burial sites.  Team members recovered human remains and personal effects as well as aircraft debris. As a result, the crew was accounted-for in 1997 and buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.  Three of them were also individually identified at that time.

In the mid-2000s, JPAC’s laboratory gained increased scientific capability to associate the 1988 remains to the correct loss.  The Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) tested these remains against all servicemen who were MIA from the Vietnam War with negative results.  Later AFDIL expanded its search to make comparisons with previously-identified individuals.  In 2010, as a result of mitochondrial DNA testing, the remains were associated with four of the six airmen from the 1972 crash, including Avery.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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April 27, 2012

SOLDIER MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Capt. Charles R. Barnes, 27, of Philadelphia, Pa., will be buried May 2, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On March 16, 1969, Barnes and four other service members departed Qui Nhon Airfields bound for Da Nang and Phu Bai, in a U-21A Ute aircraft.  As they approached Da Nang, they encountered low clouds and poor visibility. Communications with the aircraft were lost, and they did not land as scheduled. Immediate search efforts were limited due to hazardous weather conditions, and all five men were list as missing in action.

From 1986-1989, unidentified human remains were turned over to the U.S. from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) in several different instances. None of the remains were identified given the limits of the technology of the time.

In 1993, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted investigations in Quang Nam-Da Nang, and Thua Thien-Hue Provinces.  They interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who supplied remains and an identification tag bearing Barnes’ name, which he claimed to have recovered from an aircraft crash site.

In 1999, another joint U.S./S.R.V. team interviewed additional Vietnamese citizens about the crash and they were led to the crash site.  In 2000, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered human remains and material evidence.  Scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, and forensic identification tools such as mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Barnes’ sister – in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1420 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Nov. 28, 2011

AIRCREW MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Lt. Col. Glenn McElroy, 35, of Sidney, Ill., and Capt. John M. Nash, 28, of Tipton, Ind., will be buried as a group, in a single casket representing the crew, on Nov. 30, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

On March 15, 1966, the men were flying an OV-1A Mohawk aircraft that failed to return from a reconnaissance mission over southern Laos in Savannakhet Province. An American forward air controller, operating in the area, reported witnessing the OV-1A aircraft crash after encountering heavy enemy anti-aircraft artillery. He saw one parachute deploy shortly before the crash but he believed the crewman descended into the ensuring fireball. Immediate search-and-rescue teams flew over the crash site but were unable to locate any survivors.

Twice in 1988, joint U.S. /Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.R.D.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), surveyed the crash site and found OV-1 aircraft wreckage and crew-related equipment—including an identification tag bearing Nash’s name.  Records indicate there was only one OV-1 loss within 18 miles of Savannakhet Province.

Between 2005 and 2009, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams, interviewed witnesses, investigated, surveyed and excavated the crash site several times. They recovered human remains, more aircraft wreckage and crew-related equipment.  Scientists from the JPAC used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence to identify the crew.

Today more than 1,600 American remain un-accounted for from the Vietnam War. More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.

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Nov. 8, 2011

VIETNAM WAR SOLDIER IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from the Vietnam War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. David E. Lemcke, 20, of Rochester, N.Y., will be buried Nov. 12, in Hilton, N.Y. On May 21, 1968, Lemcke and four other servicemen were in an Army bunker in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, when a fire broke out due to the accidental firing of a weapon. Two of the servicemen escaped, but Lemcke and two others were presumed dead. After searching the site of the accident for a month, no remains were found that could be associated with Lemke.

From 1993 to 2011, multiple investigations were carried out by joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams. Early investigations were unable to excavate the bunker site due to a large quantity of assorted unexploded ordinances scattered throughout the area. After those explosives were removed, and the site was deemed safe, teams were able to excavate and locate human remains and other items such as Lemcke’s metal identification tags, and prescription eyeglass lenses.  Along with forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental analysis to identify Lemcke’s remains.

More than 1,600 Americans remain missing from the Vietnam War. More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing

Americans, call (703) 699-1420 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Nov. 2, 2011

SOLDIERS MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Capt. Arnold E. Holm, Jr., 28, of Waterford, Conn.; Specialist 4 Robin R. Yeakley, 23, of South Bend, Ind.; and Pfc. Wayne Bibbs, 17, of Chicago, will be buried as a group, in a single casket representing the entire crew, on Nov. 9, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

On June 11, 1972, Holm was the pilot of an OH-6A Cayuse helicopter flying a reconnaissance mission in Thua Thien-Hue Province, South Vietnam. Also on board were his observer, Yeakley, and his door gunner, Bibbs. The aircraft made a second pass over a ridge, where enemy bunkers had been sighted, exploded and crashed, exploding again upon impact.  Crews of other U.S. aircraft, involved in the mission, reported receiving enemy ground fire as they overflew the crash site looking for survivors.

Between 1993 and 2008, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed witnesses, investigated, surveyed and excavated possible crash sites several times.  They recovered human remains, OH-6A helicopter wreckage and crew-related equipment—including two identification tags bearing Yeakley’s name.  Scientists from the JPAC used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence to identify the crew.

Today more than 1,600 American remain un-accounted for from the Vietnam War. More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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Oct. 28, 2011

MISSING VIETNAM WAR AIRMAN IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Gilbert S. Palmer Jr., 37, of Upper Darby, Pa., will be buried Nov. 1, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On Feb. 27, 1968, Palmer and one other crew member were carrying out photo-reconnaissance of enemy targets in Quang Binh, North Vietnam, in their RF-4C aircraft. After losing radio communication, Palmer’s plane crashed in an unknown location and could not be located during search efforts at the time.

In 1999, a U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) recovery team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), was taken by a local villager to a crash site in Savannakhet Province, near the Vietnamese border. Aircraft wreckage from an RF-4 reconnaissance aircraft was found. Additional investigations of the crash site, between 2001 and 2010, recovered human remains and military equipment specific to Palmer’s aircraft.

In addition to forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the JPAC, and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Palmer’s brother – in the identification of the remains.

More than 1,600 Americans remain missing from the Vietnam War. More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Oct. 18, 2011

MISSING VIETNAM WAR AIRMAN IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Thomas E. Clark, 29, of Emporium, Pa. will be buried Oct. 22 in his hometown. On Feb. 8, 1969, Clark was attacking an anti-aircraft artillery position in Savannakhet Province, Laos, when his F-100D Super Sabre aircraft was struck by enemy fire and crashed.  Three other American pilots on the mission did not see a parachute or any other signs of Clark.  Immediate search and rescue missions were not able to locate the crash site.

In 1991, and again in 1992, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams investigated the area of the crash and recovered aircraft wreckage and military equipment.  The teams also conducted interviews with locals who reported witnessing the crash. Local Laotians gave the investigators two military identification tags that identified Clark, and human remains, which had been recovered from the site shortly after the crash.

In 2009, an additional excavation of the site recovered dental remains which also helped to identify Clark.  Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command were able to use dental analysis to help identify Clark.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1420 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Sept. 23, 2011

SOLDIER MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Specialist 4 Marvin F. Phillips, 20, of Palmer, Tenn., will be buried Sept. 26 in his hometown.

Forty-five years earlier, on Sept. 26, 1966, Phillips and three aircrew members crashed into nine feet of water, off the coast of South Vietnam, when their UH-1B Huey helicopter was struck by small arms fire.  The only surviving crew member was rescued and the remains of a second soldier were recovered by other aircrews in the area.  Extensive searches were conducted but no sign of the remaining two crew members were found.

From 1992 to 1998, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed witnesses and investigated locations where an American soldier had purportedly been buried. In 2010, the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons notified U.S. officials that a villager in Tra Vinh Province was in possession of human remains thought to be related to a U.S. aircraft crash. Following an interview with the villager, the remains were turned over to the joint U.S./S.R.V. team. At the time he recovered the remains there were three U.S. aircraft crashes in the water near the villager’s home.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Phillips’ sister—in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Sept. 23, 2011

MISSING VIETNAM WAR SOLIDER IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown, 24, of Lahabra, Calif., will be buried Sept. 26 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On Nov. 3, 1969, Brown, two other American soldiers, and six Vietnamese soldiers were part of a Special Forces reconnaissance patrol operating in Quang Tri Province, near the Vietnam-Laos border. That afternoon the patrol was ambushed by enemy forces and all three Americans were wounded. Brown was reported to have suffered a gunshot wound to his side. Search and rescue teams were not able to reach the site until eight days later. At that time, due to enemy presence and poor weather conditions, they found military equipment but no other signs of the three men.

Between 1993 and 2010, in an effort to pinpoint a possible burial site, investigators from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Lao’s People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R) and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) conducted multiple interviews and re-interviews on nine different occasions in Quang Tri Province. Additionally, the L.P.D.R. and S.R.V. unilaterally investigated this case, but were unable to develop new leads. Among those interviewed by the joint teams were former Vietnamese militiamen who claimed that sometime in 1969 they ambushed three Americans in the area near the Laos-Vietnam border. In 2007, a Vietnamese citizen led investigators to human remains that he had discovered and buried near the site of the ambush. In 2008, Brown’s identification tags were turned in to the U.S. Government from a U.S. citizen with Vietnamese ties. Finally, in April 2010, joint teams excavated a hilltop area near Huong Lap Village and recovered additional human remains, and non-biological material evidence that indicated the identities of the three Americans.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Brown’s cousin—in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Sept. 21, 2011

AIR FORCE PILOT MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Maj. Bruce E. Lawrence, 25, of Easton Pa., will be buried Sept. 24 in his hometown. On July 5, 1968, Lawrence and Maj. Edward D. Silver were flying the lead F-4C Phantom II aircraft of a two-ship formation, on a night armed-reconnaissance of enemy targets, in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. Other pilots flying in the area reported that they witnessed anti-aircraft fire striking the aircraft shortly before it crashed. No parachutes or signs of survivors were seen.

In 1993, a join U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team traveled to Quang Binh Province to investigate a possible site related to the crash. Harsh terrain and safety concerns limited access to the location of the aircraft. From 1998 to 2000, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams interviewed witnesses, excavated several aircraft crash sites in the area, and recovered human remains. Additional recovery of military equipment, related to Lawrence’s crash, confirmed that two individuals were in the aircraft at the time of the incident.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of both Lawrence and Silver — as well as nuclear DNA to identify the two men.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Vietnam MIA Remains Come Home

September 08, 2011

AFP

Remains believed to be of an American Special Forces soldier listed as missing during the Vietnam War have been repatriated after a fellow serviceman helped locate the body, a US official said Thursday.

After a ceremony Wednesday in the central city of Danang, the remains, along with others from a separate incident, were flown to Hawaii for further identification, said Ron Ward of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).

They were recovered during a recent mission to find Americans missing in action from the war which ended almost four decades ago.

Ward said the special forces soldier and his colleague were the only two Americans left defending a strategic high point in 1971 above Khe Sanh, near the then-Demilitarized Zone.

One received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on the hill — he was captured and later released by North Vietnamese troops who overran the site — while the other was listed as missing, Ward said.

The decorated soldier returned to help JPAC, which worked alongside Vietnamese colleagues, locate where the other soldier was last seen in Quang Tri province, Ward said.

JPAC does not release any names until the identification of remains has been confirmed.

In a second case, investigators located possible remains from at least one American missing after a helicopter crash in Quang Nam province in 1968, Ward said.

The US and Vietnam began cooperating on investigations into missing American servicemen in 1985, helping pave the way for a normalization of diplomatic relations 10 years later.

With witnesses aging and acidic soil eating into the buried remains, investigators are racing to find the bodies of those still classed as missing.

The latest mission included an excavation team run primarily by Vietnamese — the first time they have led a routine excavation, according to Ward.

Since the end of US combat involvement in 1973, the remains of 678 Americans listed as missing during the war have been repatriated from Vietnam and identified, but 1,293 are still unaccounted for, the US says.

About 300,000 North Vietnamese soldiers are still missing from the war, according to Hanoi.

© Copyright 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Sept. 2, 2011

SOLDIER MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains a U.S. serviceman and 12 Vietnamese citizens, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Master Sgt. Ralph J. Reno, 36, of Chicago, will be buried on Sept. 8 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., along with 12 Vietnamese citizens. The remains representing the group will be buried together, in a single casket. On July 3, 1966, with three U.S. soldiers from 5th Special Forces Group, three Vietnamese aircrew and nine Vietnamese passengers took off from Kham Duc, South Vietnam, on board an H-34 helicopter. The aircraft crashed in the mountains of Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam, after they encountered severe air turbulence. Three search and rescue missions conducted in the days after the crash recovered the remains of two U.S. soldiers and seven Vietnamese.

Between 1993 and 1997, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), attempted to survey the crash site but the hazards of the steep mountainous terrain and dense foliage forced them to turn back.

In September 1999, a team successfully located the wreckage of the helicopter and recommended the site for excavation.  Excavation of the location started in 2000 and a joint team recovered human remains and military equipment.

Another joint team returned to the site in 2007 and recommended a second excavation.  In 2010, the second excavation recovered human remains and more military equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his brother — in the identification of Reno’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing

Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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Aug. 31, 2011

AIR FORCE PILOT MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Major Thomas E. Reitmann, 34, of Red Wing, Minn., will be buried on Sept. 8 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. In 1965, Reitmann was assigned to the 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron deployed out of Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., to Takhli Air Base, Thailand. On Dec 1, 1965, he was flying a strike mission as the number three aircraft in a flight of four F-105D Thunderchiefs as part of Operation Rolling Thunder. His target was a railroad bridge located about 45 nautical miles northeast of Hanoi. As the aircrew approached the target area, they encountered extremely heavy and accurate anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). While attempting to acquire his target and release his ordnance, Reitmann received a direct AAA hit and crashed in Lang Son Province, North Vietnam. Other pilots in the flight observed no parachute, and no signals or emergency beepers were heard. Due to the intense enemy fire in the area a search-and-rescue team was not able to survey the site and a two-day electronic search found no sign of the aircraft or Reitmann.

In 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) repatriated remains to the United States believed to be those of Reitmann. The remains were later identified as those of another American pilot who went missing in the area on the same day as Reitmann.

Between 1991 and 2009, joint U.S.-S.R.V. teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), analyzed numerous leads, interviewed villagers, and attempted to locate the aircraft. Although no evidence of the crash site was found, in 2009 and 2011 a local farmer turned over remains and a metal button he claimed to have found in his corn field.  Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his brother — in the identification of Reitmann’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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Aug. 1, 2011

SOLDIER MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 George A. Howes, 19, of Knox, Ind., will be buried Aug. 5 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On Jan. 10, 1970, Howes and three aircrew members were returning to their base at Chu Lai, South Vietnam aboard a UH-1C Huey helicopter. Due to bad weather, their helicopter went down over Quang Nam Province, Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.). A search was initiated for the crew, but no sign of the helicopter or crew was spotted.

In 1989, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) gave to U.S. specialists 25 boxes that reportedly contained the remains of U.S. servicemen related to this incident. Later that year, additional remains and a military identification tag from one of the other missing servicemen were obtained from a Vietnamese refugee.

Between 1993 and 1999, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted three investigations in Ho Chi Minh City and two investigations in Quang Nam-Da Nang Province (formerly Quang Nam Province). A Vietnamese citizen in Ho Chi Minh City turned over a military identification tag bearing Howes’ name and told the team he knew where the remains of as many as nine American servicemen were buried. He agreed to lead the team to the burial site. In 1994, the team excavated the site and recovered a metal box and several bags containing human remains. In 2006, the remains of three of the four men were identified and buried. No remains could be attributed to Howes given the technology of the time.

In 2008, given advances in DNA technology, the remains were reanalyzed.  Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Howes’ sister and brother—in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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July 21, 2011

SOLDIER MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Specialist Four Randall D. Dalton, 20, of Collinsville, Ill., will be buried July 24 in Glen Carbon, Ill. On July 24, 1971, he was the door gunner of an OH-6A Cayuse helicopter, with two other soldiers on board, when the aircraft was struck by enemy ground fire and crashed in Kracheh Province, Cambodia.  A search and rescue team arrived at the location shortly after the crash and found the pilot alive.  Dalton and the third soldier did not survive. Enemy activity in the area forced the team to rapidly evacuate the pilot.  The next day as second team returned to recover the remains of the other two men but they were missing.

In September 1989, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam gave the United States three boxes of remains believed to U.S. servicemen.  Documents turned over with the boxes listed two servicemen by name and scientists confirmed their identities.  The third box contained remains from two individuals—one was determined to be of Southeast Asian descent and returned to Vietnam, the other wasn’t able to be identified given the available forensic technology.

Between 1992 and 2007, joint U.S./Kingdom of Cambodia teams interviewed witnesses, conducted investigations and excavated the crash site.  The team found helicopter wreckage but no evidence of human remains.  Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his sister – in the identification of Dalton’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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July 13, 2011

NAVY PILOT MISSING IN ACTION FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. William P. Egan, 35, of Denton, Texas, will be buried on July 16 in Webster, Texas. On April 29, 1966, Egan was killed after his A-1H Skyraider crashed as a result of enemy ground fire during an attack on targets in Khammouan Province, Laos. His wingman observed the crash and immediately flew over the area but saw no sign of Egan.

Between 1994 and 1998, joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams led by JPAC, analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, surveyed possible crash site locations and conducted excavations. During several joint field surveys, teams recovered crew-related equipment and aircraft wreckage—that directly correlated to Egan’s aircraft—but no human remains. In late 2009, a Laotian farmer turned over bone fragments recovered from his field, approximately 10 meters from a joint excavation site.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of Egan’s niece—in the identification of his remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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July 6, 2011

AIR FORCE PILOT MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

 The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Maj. Richard G. Elzinga, 27, of Shedd, Ore., will be buried on July 8 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C. On March 26, 1970, Elzinga and his co-pilot went missing when their O-1G Birddog aircraft failed to return to base from a familiarization flight over Laos. Fifteen minutes after the last radio contact, a communication and visual search showed no sign of the men or their aircraft. Search and rescue missions continued for two days with no results.

Between 1994 and 2009, joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams led by JPAC, analyzed leads, interviewed villagers and surveyed possible crash site locations.  During several joint field surveys, teams recovered human remains, aircraft wreckage, and crew-related equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his aunt and cousin– in the identification of Elzinga’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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July 6, 2011

MISSING VIETNAM WAR AIRMAN IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Leo S. Boston, 30, of Canon City, Colo., will be buried on July 15 at the Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, Colo. On April 29, 1966, Boston was aboard an A-1E Skyraider aircraft that disappeared while flying a search-and-rescue mission in North Vietnam. Reports of an enemy aircraft in the area forced him and the pilot of another A-1E to divert to a holding position over Son La Province until the area was clear. When the lead aircraft directed they return, he observed Boston following him but reported no sign of his aircraft once he arrived at the location. Enemy activity in the area precluded search efforts.

Between 1996 and 2005, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), analyzed numerous leads, interviewed villagers in Son La Province, and conducted excavations that recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains and crew-related equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Boston’s mother and brother – in the identification.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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June 16, 2011

AIRMAN MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force 1st Lt. David A. Thorpe, 24, of Seneca Falls, N.Y., will be buried June 23 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On Oct. 3, 1966, Thorpe’s C-130E, with four other men aboard, failed to arrive at Nha Trang Air Base following their departure from Tan Son Nhut Air Base in South Vietnam.  Rescue personnel found their remains at the crash site in South Vietnam eight days later approximately 40 miles west of Nha Trang. The cause of the crash is not known.

Between 1984 and 1996 the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) received human remains tentatively linked to Thorpe and the other crew members from various sources including refugees from the Vietnam War and Vietnamese citizens. But lacking advanced scientific tools and complete records during this time period, JPAC was unable to make an individual identification of Thorpe’s remains so he was buried as part of a group at Arlington.  Other remains associated with the entire group were held at JPAC’s laboratory for future testing.

As DNA testing procedures improved in the late 1990s, JPAC’s forensic anthropologists applied the latest technologies from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory to include mitochondrial testing, a sample of which matched the DNA from Thorpe’s sister. His dental records also helped confirm the identification.

With the accounting of this airman, 1,687 service members still remain missing from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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June 7, 2011

MISSING VIETNAM WAR AIRMAN IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Darrell J. Spinler, 29, Browns Valley, Minn., will be buried on June 18 near his hometown. On June 21, 1967, Spinler was aboard an A-1E Skyraider aircraft attacking enemy targets along the Xekong River in Laos when villagers reported hearing an explosion before his aircraft crashed. The pilot of another A-1E remained in the area for more than two hours but saw no sign of Spinler.

In 1993, a joint U.S./Laos People’s Democratic Republic team, led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed villagers who witnessed the crash. They claimed Spinler’s body was on the river bank after the crash but likely washed away during the ensuing rainy season. The team surveyed the location and found wreckage consistent with Spinler’s aircraft.

In 1995, the U.S. government evaluated Spinler’s case and determined his remains unrecoverable based on witness statements and available evidence. Teams working in the area revisited the location in 1999 and 2003 and confirmed Spinler’s remains had likely been carried away by the Xekong River. However, in 2010, JPAC conducted a full excavation of the location and recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental x-rays in the identification of Spinler’s remains.

With the accounting of this airman, 1,689 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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June 3, 2011

AIRMAN MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. James H. Graff, 27, of Marengo, Ill., will be buried tomorrow in Anderson, S.C. On Oct. 3, 1966, Graff’s C-130E, with five men aboard, failed to arrive at Nha Trang Air Base following their departure from Tan Son Nhut Air Base in South Vietnam.  Rescue personnel found their remains at the crash site in South Vietnam eight days later approximately 40 miles west of Nha Trang. The cause of the crash is not known and the remains of each individual crew member could not be identified.

Between 1984 and 1996 the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) received human remains from various sources in Vietnam, tentatively linked to Graff and the other crew members. But lacking advanced scientific tools and complete records during this time period, JPAC was unable to make an individual identification of Graff’s remains so he was buried as part of a group in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Other remains associated with the entire group were held at JPAC’s laboratory for future testing.

As DNA testing procedures improved after the late 1990s, JPAC’s forensic anthropologists applied the latest technologies from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory to include mitochondrial testing, a sample of which matched the DNA from his mother. His dental records also helped confirm the identification.

With the accounting of these airmen, 1,687 service members still remain missing from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.

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April 29, 2011

NAVY CREW MIA FROM VIETNAM WAR ARE ACCOUNTED-FOR

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Lt. j.g. Andrew G. Zissu, of Bronx, N.Y. will be buried on May 4 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On Oct. 8, 1967, Zissu and Lt. j.g. Norman L. Roggow were the pilots of an E-1B Tracer en route from Chu Lai Air Base, Vietnam, back to the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany. Also on board were Lt. j.g. Donald F. Wolfe, Atc. Roland R. Pineau and JO3 Raul A. Guerra. Radar contact with the aircraft was lost approximately 10 miles northwest of Da Nang, Vietnam. Adverse weather hampered immediate search efforts, but three days later, a search helicopter spotted the wreckage of the aircraft on the face of a steep mountain in Da Nang Province. The location, terrain and hostile forces in the area precluded a ground recovery.

In 1993 and 1994, human remains were repatriated to the United States by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) with information that linked the remains to unassociated losses in the same geographical area as this incident. Between 1993 and 2004, U.S/S.R.V. teams, all led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the incident more than 15 times in Da Nang city and Thua Thien-Hue Province.

Between 2004 and 2005, the joint teams surveyed and excavated the crash site. They recovered human remains and crew-related items. During the excavation in 2005, the on-site team learned that human remains may have been removed previously from the site. S.R.V. officials concluded that two Vietnamese citizens found and collected remains at the crash site, and possibly buried them near their residence in Hoi Mit village in Thua Thein-Hue Province.

In 2006, another joint U.S./S.R.V. team excavated the suspected burial site in Hoi Mit village, but did not find additional remains. In 2007, more remains associated with this incident were repatriated to the United States by S.R.V. officials.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, Zissu’s remains were identified by making extensive dental comparisons with his medical records.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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April 22, 2011

MISSING VIETNAM WAR SOLDIERS IDENTIFIED

 The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert S. Griffith, of Hapeville, Ga., Staff Sgt. Melvin C. Dye, of Carleton, Mich., and Sgt. 1st Class Douglas J. Glover, of Cortland, N.Y., will be buried as a group on April 26, 2011, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. The men were aboard a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter on Feb. 19, 1968, when it was shot down by enemy fire in Laos. They were involved in an attempt to extract a long-range reconnaissance patrol in the mountains of Attapu Province. Three other American service members survived the crash and were rescued, but three Vietnamese Montagnards did not survive.

Several hours after the crash a team was dispatched to survey the location and reported seeing remains of at least five people. Enemy activity prevented remains recovery at that time.  The following month a second team was sent to the crash site but found no remains.

In 1995, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic team traveled to the recorded grid coordinates for the crash site but found no evidence of a helicopter crash. The team then surveyed a second location in the area where they found helicopter wreckage and human remains.

In 2006, a follow-on team was not able to resurvey the same site due to severe overgrowth and time constraints. Another team excavated the location in late 2007 recovering human remains, wreckage and military-related equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of some of the crewmembers’ families – as well as dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Jan. 11, 2011

AIRMEN MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. James E. Dennany, 34, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Maj. Robert L. Tucci, 27, of Detroit, will be buried as a group Jan. 14, in the Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery. On Nov. 12, 1969, they were flying the number three aircraft of three F-4Ds escorting an AC-130 gunship on a night strike mission over Laos. After the gunship attacked six trucks, setting two of them on fire, the AC-130 crew’s night vision equipment was impacted by the glow from the fires. They requested that Tucci attack the remaining trucks. During the attack, gunship crew members observed anti-aircraft artillery gunfire directed at Tucci’s plane followed by a large explosion. No radio transmissions were heard from the F-4D following the attack and no parachutes were seen in the area. An immediate electronic search revealed nothing and no formal search was initiated due to heavy antiaircraft fire in the area.

Beginning in the mid-1990s analysts at DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) developed case leads they collected from wartime reporting and archival research.

In 1994, a joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team led by JPAC analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, and surveyed five reported crash sites near the record loss location with negative results.

In 1999, during another joint survey, officials in Ban Soppeng, Laos, turned over remains later determined to be human, two .38 caliber pistols and other crew-related equipment that villagers had recovered from a nearby crash site. Between 1999 and 2009, other joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. teams pursued leads, interviewed villagers, and conducted three excavations. They recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.

JPAC scientists used forensic tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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Dec. 17, 2010

AIR FORCE PILOT MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Maj. Thomas J. Beyer, 27, of Fargo, N.D., will be buried on Dec. 18 in his hometown. On July 30, 1968, he flew out of Chu Lai on a reconnaissance and forward air controller mission in an O-2A Skymaster over a target area in South Vietnam. He made initial radio contact with his ground controllers while headed for Quang Tri sector, but later was more than two hours overdue with a radio check-in. Ground troops reported seeing his aircraft fly over their position, headed west toward Kham Duc. Moments later they heard an explosion which they assumed was his aircraft. Search and rescue flights for six days failed to locate his aircraft, or to pick up any distress signals from Beyer.

Between 1993 and 1998, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), analyzed numerous leads, interviewed villagers, and attempted to locate the last known position of the aircraft but found no evidence of the crash site.

In September 2009, an S.R.V. team, investigating an unrelated case, was informed of human remains and military-related equipment—including an identification tag for Thomas J. Beyer—that residents had turned over to local officials in the 1980s. The remains had been reportedly buried at that time near a district police station and forgotten. In December 2009, the remains and equipment were given to U.S. officials.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his sister — in the identification of Beyer’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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Nov. 18, 2010

MARINE MISSING IN ACTION FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Samuel E. Hewitt, 19, of Walkerton, Ind. will be buried Nov. 19 in Rittman, Ohio, at the Western Reserve National Cemetery. Hewitt’s unit, Company I of the 9th Marines, had just returned from combat patrol on March 22, 1966, when he left a secured encampment near the village of Viem Dong in South Vietnam. He did not return by early evening, so a search party was dispatched the following morning. Unable to find him or any evidence associated with his disappearance, Company I declared him missing on March 23.

In 1992 a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) team interviewed a Vietnamese woman in Da Nang who recalled that in 1966, three Americans had stopped by her house near Hewitt’s encampment. Three days later, one of them returned and was killed by the Viet Cong when they attempted to capture him.

Between 1992 and 2010, in an effort to pinpoint a possible burial site, investigators from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the SRV conducted multiple interviews and re-interviews on nine different occasions in Quang Nam Province. Additionally, the SRV unilaterally investigated this case, but was unable to develop new leads. Among those interviewed by the joint teams were witnesses who had firsthand knowledge of Hewitt’s burial location. Finally, in June 2010, JPAC conducted its second excavation and located his remains.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC made extensive use of Hewitt’s dental records in the identification of his remains.

With the identification of Hewitt, 939 Americans who were once missing from the Vietnam War have been accounted-for and returned to their families.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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October 15, 2010

MISSING VIETNAM WAR SOLDIERS IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert S. Griffith, of Hapeville, Ga., will be buried on Oct. 23 in Fairburn, Ga. The group remains of the other two soldiers which could not be individually identified — Army Staff Sgt. Melvin C. Dye, of Carleton, Mich., and Sgt. 1st Class Douglas J. Glover, of Cortland, N.Y., will be buried at a later date. The men were aboard a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter on Feb. 19, 1968, when it was shot down by enemy fire in Laos. They were involved in an attempt to extract a long-range reconnaissance patrol in the mountains of Attapu Province. Three other American service members survived the crash and were rescued, but three Vietnamese Montagnards did not survive.

Several hours after the crash a team was dispatched to survey the location and reported seeing remains of at least five people. Enemy activity prevented remains recovery at that time. The following month a second team was sent to the crash site but found no remains.

In 1995, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic team traveled to the recorded grid coordinates for the crash site but found no evidence of a helicopter crash. The team then surveyed a second location in the area where they found helicopter wreckage and human remains. In 2006, a follow-on team was not able to resurvey the same site due to severe overgrowth and time constraints. Another team excavated the location in late 2007 recovering human remains, wreckage and military-related equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental x-rays in the identification of Griffith’s remains.

Since late 1973, the remains of 938 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been accounted-for and returned to their families with 1,708 service members still missing.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Aug. 10, 2010

SOLDIERS MISSING IN ACTION FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are 1st Lt. Paul G. Magers of Sidney, Neb., and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Donald L. Wann of Shawnee, Okla., both U.S. Army. Magers is to be buried Aug. 27 in Laurel, Mont., and Wann’s funeral is on Aug. 21st in Fort Gibson, Okla. Representatives from the Army’s mortuary office met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.

On June 1, 1971, both men were flying aboard an AH-1 Cobra gunship in support of an emergency extraction of an Army Ranger team in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. After the Rangers were extracted, helicopters were ordered to destroy claymore mines which had been left behind in the landing zone. During this mission their helicopter was hit by ground fire, crashed and exploded. The ordnance aboard the aircraft began to detonate, tearing the aircraft apart. Pilots who witnessed the explosions concluded that no one could have survived the crash and explosions. Enemy activity in the area precluded a ground search.

In 1990, analysts from DPMO, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and their predecessor organizations interviewed both American and Vietnamese witnesses and produced leads for field investigations. In 1993 and 1998, two U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, led by JPAC, surveyed the suspected crash site and found artifacts and debris consistent with a Cobra gunship. In mid-1999, another joint team excavated the site, but it stopped for safety reasons when the weather deteriorated. No remains were recovered, but the team did find wreckage associated with the specific crash they were investigating.

The Vietnamese government subsequently declared the region within Quang Tri Province where the aircraft crashed as off-limits to U.S. personnel, citing national security concerns. As part of an agreement with JPAC, a Vietnamese team unilaterally excavated the site and recovered human remains and other artifacts in 2008. The Vietnamese returned to the site in 2009, expanded the excavation area and discovered more remains and additional evidence.

Forensic analysis, circumstantial evidence and the mitochondrial DNA match to the Magers and Wann families by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory confirmed the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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June 15, 2010

AIRMEN MIA FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of 14 U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Lt. Col. Henry P. Brauner, Franklin Park, N.J.; Lt. Col. Richard Castillo, Corpus Christi, Texas; Lt. Col. Irving B. Ramsower II, Mathis, Texas; Lt. Col. Howard D. Stephenson, Bolton, Mass.; Maj. Curtis D. Miller, Palacios, Texas; Maj. Barclay B. Young, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Capt. Richard C. Halpin, San Diego, Calif.; Capt. Charles J. Wanzel III, New York, N.Y.; Chief Master Sgt. Edwin J. Pearce, Milford, Penn.; Senior Master Sgt. James K. Caniford, Brunswick, Md.; Senior Master Sgt. Robert E. Simmons, DeRuyter, N.Y.; Senior Master Sgt. Edward D. Smith, Jr., Red Creek, N.Y.; Master Sgt. Merlyn L. Paulson, Fargo, N.D.; and Master Sgt. William A. Todd, Mahopac, N.Y. All were U.S. Air Force. Remains that could not be individually identified are included in a group which will be buried together Thursday in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. The individually-identified remains of several of the airmen were previously returned to their families for burial.

On March 29, 1972, the men were aboard an AC-130A Spectre gunship that took off from Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, on an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. The aircraft was struck by an enemy surface-to-air missile and crashed. Search and rescue efforts were stopped after a few days due to heavy enemy activity in the area.

In 1986, joint U.S.- Lao People’s Democratic Republic teams, lead by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), surveyed and excavated the crash site in Savannakhet Province, Laos. The team recovered human remains and other evidence including two identification tags, life support items and aircraft wreckage. From 1986 to 1988, the remains were identified as those of nine men from this crew. Between 2005 and 2006, joint teams resurveyed the site and excavated it twice. They found more human remains, personal effects and crew-related equipment, leading to the identification of the rest of the aircrew.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of the crewmembers’ families – as well as dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

Since late 1973, the remains of 931 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been accounted-for and returned to their families with 1,715 service members still missing.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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June 8, 2010

AIRMEN MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of nine U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been accounted-for and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Col. William H. Mason, Camden, Ark.; Lt. Col. Jerry L. Chambers, Muskogee, Okla.; Maj. William T. McPhail, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Maj. Thomas B. Mitchell, Littleton, Colo.; Chief Master Sgt. John Q. Adam, Bethel, Kan.; Chief Master Sgt. Calvin C. Glover, Steubenville, Ohio; Chief Master Sgt. Thomas E. Knebel, Midway, Ark.; Chief Master Sgt. Melvin D. Rash, Yorktown, Va.; and Senior Master Sgt. Gary Pate, Brooks, Ga., all U.S. Air Force. These men will be buried as a group Thursday in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. The individually-identified remains of each airman were previously returned to their families for burial.

On May 22, 1968, these men were aboard a C-130A Hercules on a nighttime flare mission over northern Salavan Province, Laos. Fifteen minutes after the aircraft made a radio call, the crew of another U.S. aircraft observed a large ground fire near the last known location of Mason’s aircraft. Search and rescue attempts were not initiated due to heavy antiaircraft fire in the area.

Analysts from DPMO developed case leads with information spanning more than 40 years. Through interviews with eyewitnesses and research in the National Archives, several locations in Laos and South Vietnam were pinpointed as potential crash sites.

Between 1989 and 2008, teams from Laos People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R) and Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.), led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), pursued leads, interviewed villagers, conducted 10 field investigations and four excavations in Quang Tri Province, S.R.V. The teams recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of the crewmembers’ families – as well as dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

Since late 1973, the remains of 927 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been accounted-for and returned to their families. With the accounting of these airmen, 1,719 servicemembers still remain missing from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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June 2, 2010

AIR FORCE PILOT MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Col. Elton L. Perrine, U.S. Air Force, of Pittsford, N.Y. He was buried last week at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

On May 22, 1967, Perrine and Capt. Kenneth F. Backus completed a nighttime strike against the Cao Nung Railroad Yard near the town of Kep in North Vietnam. Seconds after the bomb run, a nearby aircrew reported seeing an isolated explosion approximately three miles east of the target, thought to be Perrine’s F-4C Phantom aircraft crashing. Search and rescue attempts were not initiated due to heavy antiaircraft fire in the area.

Analysts from DPMO developed case leads with information spanning more than 28 years. Through interviews with eyewitnesses and research in the National Archives, four locations in Lang Son Province were pinpointed as potential crash sites, separated by as many as 10 miles.

Between 1999 and 2008, U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), further analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, conducted two surveys and four excavations. The teams recovered small pieces of aircraft wreckage, human remains, personal effects and life-support equipment from the four locations.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his mother — in the identification of Perrine’s remains. No remains that can be connected to Backus were recovered at the locations.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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10 April 08, 2010

U.S. Soldiers MIA from Vietnam War Identified

(Soldiers recovered from Gia Lai Province Helicopter shoot down, Dec. 28, 1965)

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of four U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

A group burial for U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth L. Stancil, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Chief Warrant Officer Jesse D. Phelps, Boise, Idaho; Spc. Thomas Rice, Jr., Spartanburg, S.C.; and Spc. Donald C. Grella, Laurel, Neb., as well as Rice’s individual remains burial will be tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery. Stancil, Phelps and Grella were buried individually last year.

The four men were aboard a UH-1D Huey helicopter which failed to return from a mission over Gia Lai Province, South Vietnam to pick up special forces soldiers on Dec. 28, 1965.  The exact location of the crash site was not determined during the war, and search and rescue operations were suspended after failing to locate the men after four days.

From 1993-2005, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command attempted unsuccessfully to locate the site. But in April 2006, a joint team interviewed two local villagers, one of whom said he had shot down a U.S. helicopter in 1965. The villagers escorted the team to the crash site where wreckage was found. In March 2009, another joint team excavated the area and recovered human remains and other artifacts including an identification tag from Grella.

JPAC’s scientists employed traditional forensic techniques in making these identifications, including comparisons of dental records with the remains found at the site.

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10 March 16, 2010

Air Force Pilot MIA From Vietnam War is Identified

(Airmen recovered from Laos – March 29, 1972, AC-130A Spectre gunship shootdown)

The Department of Defense announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Maj. Curtis Daniel Miller of Palacios, Texas, will be buried on March 29 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery. Miller was part of a 14-man aircrew, all of which are now accounted-for. Remains that could not be individually identified are included in a group that will be buried together in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

On March 29, 1972, 14 men were aboard an AC-130A Spectre gunship that took off from Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, on an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. The aircraft was struck by an enemy surface-to-air missile and crashed. Search and rescue efforts were stopped after a few days due to heavy enemy activity in the area.

In 1986, joint U.S.- Lao People’s Democratic Republic teams, lead by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), surveyed and excavated the crash site in Savannakhet Province, Laos. The team recovered human remains and other evidence including two identification tags, life support items and aircraft wreckage. From 1986 to 1988, the remains were identified as those of nine men from this crew.

Between 2005 and 2006, joint teams resurveyed the crash site and excavated it twice. The teams found more human remains, personal effects and crew-related equipment. As a result, JPAC identified the other crewmen using forensic identification tools, circumstantial evidence, mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons.

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10 January 29, 2010

Soldier Missing in Action from Vietnam War Identified

(Recovered Soldier from May 6, 1968, Binh Dinh Province battle)

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial.

Army Specialist Lawrence L. Aldrich will be buried in his home town of Fort Worth, Texas tomorrow.

On May 6, 1968, Aldrich was a member of a search-and-clear mission in Binh Dinh Province in what was then South Vietnam. He was last seen with two other Americans engaged in a battle with enemy forces while manning a M-60 machine gun position. An air strike was called in, but one of the bombs inadvertently landed on Aldrich’s position, killing the three soldiers. Members of his unit later recovered the remains of the two other men, but Aldrich could not be found.

In July 1992, a joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam team traveled to the province to investigate the loss. They interviewed a local citizen who remembered a large ground battle in the area in May or June 1968. He took the team to a location where he indicated the remains were buried, but an excavation in 1994 found no evidence of a grave or remains.

Vietnamese officials unilaterally investigated the case in 2006 and interviewed two villagers who recalled finding a body of an American after the battle and burying it where it lay. A second joint investigation in 2007, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, recommended another excavation based on the information provided by the Vietnamese.

The excavation in March 2009 unearthed human remains and other non-biological evidence.  The identification of the remains was confirmed by matching the remains with Aldrich’s dental records.

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10 January 12, 2010

Air Force Pilot Missing In Action From Vietnam War Is Identified

(Recovered USAF Pilot from Feb. 20, 1967, F-4B Phantom shot down in Thanh Hoa Province, North Vietnam)

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial.

Air Force Maj. Russell C. Goodman of Salt Lake City, Utah, will be honored this week at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., home of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird demonstration team. At the time of his loss, Goodman was assigned to the Thunderbirds and was flying with the U.S. Navy on an exchange program. He will be buried in Alaska at a date determined by his family.

On Feb. 20, 1967, Goodman and Navy Lt. Gary L. Thornton took off in their F-4B Phantom from the USS Enterprise for a bombing mission against a railroad yard in Thanh Hoa Province, North Vietnam. They were struck by enemy antiaircraft fire and their plane exploded. Thornton was able to eject at just 250 feet altitude, but Goodman did not escape. Thornton survived and was held captive until his release in 1973.

Search and rescue attempts were curtailed because of heavy anti-aircraft and automatic weapons fire in the area of the crash.

Between October 1993 and March 2008, joint U.S.-Vietnamese teams led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) investigated the crash site twice and conducted two excavations, recovering human remains and pilot equipment. The aircraft debris recovered correlates with the type of aircraft the men were flying.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA which matched two of his maternal relatives — in the identification of Goodman‘s remains.

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10 Sept. 22, 2009

JPAC Arrival Ceremony Sept. 25

Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii — The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command will conduct an Arrival Ceremony at 9 a.m., Friday, Sept. 25, in Hangar 35, to honor fallen U.S. personnel whose identities remain unknown.

There will be four flag-draped transfer cases. One case from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is associated with the Vietnam War. Three cases are associated with World War II:  one from Vanuatu, one from Germany and one from Papua New Guinea.

Following the ceremony, the remains of these fallen Americans will be transported to the JPAC Central Identification Laboratory where the forensic identification process begins. Once identifications are established, the names will be announced following the notification of next-of-kin.

Media who would like to attend the ceremony must contact JPAC Public Affairs before noon on Sept. 24 to receive instructions for base access. All media will be escorted.

A public tour of JPAC will be offered from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. for the first 25 requests received.  Contact Navy MC1 Leeanna Taylor at (808) 448-1940 no later than 12:00 p.m. on Sept. 18 to reserve a spot for the public tour. Walk-up requests the day of the ceremony will not be accepted.

“Until they are home”

This message was sent by: JPAC, 310 Worchester Ave, Bldg 45, Hickam, HI 96853

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09 April 02, 2009

Airman Missing In Action From The Vietnam War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. airman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Lt. Col. Earl P. Hopper Jr., U.S. Air Force, of Phoenix, Ariz. He is to be buried on April 3 at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.

On Jan. 10, 1968, Hopper and Capt. Keith Hall were flying an F-4D Phantom near Hanoi, North Vietnam, as part of a four-ship MiG combat air patrol. Before they reached the target, an enemy surface-to-air missile exploded slightly below their aircraft. Hall radioed that he and Hopper were ejecting. He told Hopper to eject, but when he heard no response, he repeated “Earl get out!” Hopper replied, “I’ve pulled on it and it [the ejection seat] did not go,” followed by “you go!” Hall then pulled on his primary ejection handle but it failed to initiate, forcing him to use the alternate. Hall was captured and held as a prisoner of war until 1973, but Hopper was unable to get out of the aircraft.

Between 1993-1998, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted three joint investigations and five excavations at the crash site in Son La Province, west of Hanoi. The team interviewed four informants who had knowledge of the site. The excavations recovered numerous skeletal fragments and crew-related items which were ultimately used in the forensic identification process.

Among other forensic tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists used extensive dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169 or (703) 699-1420.

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08 December 15, 2008

Servicemen MIA From Vietnam War are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the group remains of six U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, are soon to be buried with full military honors.

They are Maj. Bernard L. Bucher, of Eureka, Ill.; Maj. John L. McElroy, of Eminence, Ky.; 1st Lt. Stephen C. Moreland, of Los Angeles; and Staff Sgt. Frank M. Hepler, of Glenside, Pa., all U.S. Air Force. These men will be buried as a group on Dec. 18 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

Two other servicemen, who were individually identified in October 2007, are also represented in this group. They are Capt. Warren R. Orr Jr., U.S. Army, of Kewanee, Ill., and Airman 1st Class George W. Long, U.S. Air Force, of Medicine, Kan.

Representatives from the Air Force and the Army mortuary offices met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Air Force and the secretary of the Army.

On May 12, 1968, these men were on board a C-130 Hercules evacuating Vietnamese citizens from the Kham Duc Special Forces Camp near Da Nang, South Vietnam. While taking off, the crew reported taking heavy enemy ground fire. A forward air controller flying in the area reported seeing the plane explode in mid-air soon after leaving the runway.

In 1986 and 1991, U.S. officials received remains and identification tags from sources claiming they belonged to men from this incident. Scientific analysis revealed they were not American remains, but it was believed the Vietnamese sources knew where the crash site was located.

In 1993, a joint/U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), traveled to Kham Duc and interviewed four local citizens concerning the incident. They led the team to the crash site and turned over remains and identification tags they had recovered in 1983 while looking for scrap metal. During this visit, the team recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage at the site. In 1994, another joint team excavated the crash site and recovered remains, pieces of life-support equipment, crew-related gear and personal effects.

JPAC scientists used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the DOD’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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08 November 05, 2008

Marines Missing From Vietnam War Are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of four U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Lance Cpl. Kurt E. La Plant, of Lenexa, Kan., and Lance Cpl. Luis F. Palacios, of Los Angeles, Calif. Remains that could not be individually identified are included in a group. Among the group remains are Lance Cpl. Ralph L. Harper, of Indianapolis, Ind., and Pfc. Jose R. Sanchez, of Brooklyn, N.Y. All men were U.S. Marine Corps.   Palacios will be buried Friday in Bellflower, Calif., and the other Marines will be buried as a group in the spring in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

On June 6, 1968, these men were aboard a CH-46A Sea Knight helicopter that was attempting an emergency extraction of elements of the 1st Battalion, 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division then engaged against hostile forces in the mountains southwest of Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. The helicopter was struck by enemy ground fire and crashed, killing 12 of the 23 crewmen and passengers on board. All but four of the men who died were subsequently recovered and identified.

Between 1993 and 2005, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the incident in Quang Tri Province, interviewed witnesses and surveyed the crash site three times. The team found a U.S. military boot fragment and wreckage consistent with that of a CH-46 helicopter.

In 2006, a team began excavating the site and recovered human remains and non-biological material evidence including La Plant‘s identification tag. While at the site, a Vietnamese citizen turned over to the team human remains the he claimed to have found amid the wreckage. In 2007, another team completed the excavation and recovered additional human remains, life support material and aircraft wreckage.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/ or call (703) 699-1420.

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08 October 08, 2008

Pilot Missing in Action From The Vietnam War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Capt. Lorenza Conner, U.S. Air Force, of Cartersville, Ga. He will be buried Oct. 25 in Cartersville.

On Oct. 27, 1967, Conner and his copilot flew an F-4D Phantom II fighter jet in a flight of four on a combat air patrol mission over North Vietnam where the plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Tuyen Quang Province, North Vietnam. The copilot ejected safely, was captured and later released by Vietnamese forces, but Conner could not eject from the aircraft before it crashed.

In 1992, Vietnamese citizens told U.S. officials that they had information concerning the remains of missing U.S. servicemen and they turned over Conner’s identification tag.

Between 1992 and 2003, several joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated this incident, interviewed witnesses and surveyed the crash site. At the crash site, teams found aircrew-related equipment and aircraft wreckage consistent with an F-4 Phantom II.

In 2007, another joint team excavated the site and recovered human remains.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the identification of Conner’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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08 September 30, 2008

Pilot Missing In Action From The Vietnam War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Col. David H. Zook, Jr., U.S. Air Force, of West Liberty, Ohio. He will be buried Oct. 4 in West Liberty.

On Oct. 4, 1967, Zook was on a psychological warfare operation over Song Be Province, South Vietnam, when his U-10B Super Courier aircraft collided in mid-air with a C-7A Caribou. The C-7 pilot said he saw the other aircraft hit the ground and explode. Several search and rescue attempts failed to locate Zook‘s remains.

In 1992, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the incident in Song Be Province. The team interviewed Vietnamese citizens who witnessed the crash and saw remains amid the wreckage. The team surveyed the site and found evidence consistent with Zook‘s crash. While later examining the evidence recovered from the site, a small fragment of bone was found.

In 1993, another joint team excavated the crash site and recovered a bone fragment and non-biological material including small pieces of military clothing. In March 2008, a final excavation was conducted and more human remains were recovered.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and also used dental comparisons in the identification of Zook’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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08 September 23, 2008

Soldier Missing From The Vietnam War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Sgt. Timothy J. Jacobsen, U.S. Army, of Oakland, Calif. He will be buried on Oct. 4 in Ferndale, Calif.

Representatives from the Army met with Jacobsen‘s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.

On May 16, 1971, Jacobsen was one of four U.S. soldiers and an unknown number of Republic of Vietnam (R.V.N.) Marines who were aboard a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter. The crew was on a combat assault mission near Hue, South Vietnam when they came under heavy enemy ground fire as their aircraft touched down at the landing zone. The pilot tried to lift off, but the damaged aircraft struck a tree line and exploded. A few days later, a search and rescue team recovered the remains of some of the Vietnamese Marines, but there were remains still trapped under the helicopter wreckage. No remains for the U.S. soldiers were recovered.

In 1994, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the incident. The team surveyed the crash site and found wreckage consistent with a UH-1. The next year, another joint team excavated the site and recovered human remains, but they were not those of the U.S. soldiers.

In 2002, a joint team traveled to Hue and interviewed two Vietnamese citizens who showed the team two re-burial sites associated with this incident. In 2006, another team excavated the two sites and recovered human remains from one of them.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the identification of Jacobsen‘s remains, which were recovered in 2006. The other U.S. soldiers associated with this incident are still unaccounted-for.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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08 August 04, 2008

Sailor Missing from The Vietnam War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, has been identified.

He is Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Manuel R. Denton, U.S. Navy, of Kerrville, Texas. He will be buried as part of a group on Thursday in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

On Oct. 8, 1963, Denton was one of six men who crewed a UH-34D Choctaw helicopter that was on a search-and-rescue mission. While over Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, the helicopter came under intense enemy ground fire and crashed. There were no survivors. Over the next several days, the remains of four of the crewmen were recovered, however the remains of Denton and one other crewman, U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Luther E. Ritchey Jr., were not recovered.

Between 1991 and 2000, several joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), traveled to Quang Nam Province to investigate the incident and interview witnesses. Teams also surveyed the crash site and found wreckage consistent with a UH-34D.

In 2000 and 2001, human remains associated with this incident were turned over to U.S. officials. In 2002, a joint team excavated the crash site and recovered human remains.

As a result of the remains turned over in 2000 and 2001, and of those recovered from the crash site in 2002, Ritchey‘s remains were identified in 2003. Some of these remains could not be individually identified, and they are included in a group representing the entire crew.  Denton‘s remains are in this group, which will be buried together in Arlington.

JPAC used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence in Denton‘s identification.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.

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08 July 17, 2008

Soldiers Missing From The Vietnam War Are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Chief Warrant Officer Bobby L. McKain, of Garden City, Kan.; and Warrant Officer Arthur F. Chaney, of Vienna, Va., both U.S. Army. McKain will be buried on Aug. 11 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., and Chaney will be buried Sept. 16 in Arlington.

Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.

On May 3, 1968, these men flew an AH-1G Cobra gunship on an armed escort mission to support a reconnaissance team operating west of Khe Sanh, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. Their helicopter was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire, exploded in mid-air and crashed west of Khe Sanh near the Laos-Vietnam border. The crew of other U.S. aircraft flying over the area immediately after the crash reported no survivors, and heavy enemy activity prevented attempts to recover the men’s bodies.

In 1985, an American citizen with ties to Southeast Asian refugees turned over to U.S. officials human remains supposedly recovered from an AC-130 aircraft crash in Laos. While subsequent laboratory analysis disproved the association of the remains to the AC-130 crash, some of the remains were those of McKain and Chaney.

Between 1989 and 2003, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) investigative teams working in Laos and Vietnam made five attempts to locate the crew’s crash site, but could not confirm the location.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in identifying the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

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08 June 20, 2008

Navy Pilot Missing In Action From the Vietnam War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Lt. Cmdr. Ralph C. Bisz, U.S. Navy, of Miami Shores, Fla.  His funeral arrangements are being set by his family.

On Aug. 4, 1967, Bisz took off in an A-4E Skyhawk from the USS Oriskany to bomb an enemy petroleum depot near Haiphong, Vietnam.  As he neared the target, his aircraft was struck by an enemy surface-to-air missile and crashed near the town of Hai Duong in Hai Hung Province.  No parachute was observed and no emergency beeper signal was received.

In 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) repatriated to the United States human remains from Hai Hung Province, which they attributed to Bisz on the basis of their historical records of the shootdown as well as documentation of his burial.

Between 1988 and 2004, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted several investigations of the incident and surveyed the crash site.  A team found aircraft wreckage at the site which was consistent with an A-4E Skyhawk.  Teams also interviewed witnesses who recalled the crash and burial of the pilot in a nearby cemetery.  Additionally, one witness indicated that he oversaw the exhumation of the American’s remains from the cemetery, and their turnover to district officials.

Between 1993 and 2004, 25 samples from the remains turned over in 1988 were submitted to several laboratories for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, but yielded inconclusive results.  In 2007, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used refined DNA collection techniques and succeeded in obtaining verifiable mtDNA.

Using forensic identification tools, circumstantial evidence, mtDNA analysis and dental comparisons, scientists from JPAC identified the remains as those of Bisz.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 509-1905 or (703) 699-1420.

********************************

08 May 27, 2008

Airmen MIA From Vietnam War are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of four U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Maj. Barclay B. Young, of Hartford, Conn.; and Senior Master Sgt. James K. Caniford, of Brunswick, Md. The names of the two others are being withheld at the request of their families. All men were U.S. Air Force. Caniford will be buried May 28 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., and Young‘s burial date is being set by his family.

Remains that could not be individually identified are included in a group which will be buried together in Arlington. Among the group remains is Air Force Lt. Col. Henry P. Brauner of Franklin Park, N.J., whose identification tag was recovered at the crash site.

On March 29, 1972, 14 men were aboard an AC-130A Spectre gunship that took off from Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, on an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. The aircraft was struck by an enemy surface-to-air missile and crashed. Search and rescue efforts were stopped after a few days due to heavy enemy activity in the area.

In 1986, joint U.S.- Lao People’s Democratic Republic teams, lead by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), surveyed and excavated the crash site in Savannakhet Province, Laos. The team recovered human remains and other evidence including two identification tags, life support items and aircraft wreckage. From 1986 to 1988, the remains were identified as those of nine men from this crew.

Between 2005 and 2006, joint teams resurveyed the crash site and excavated it twice. The teams found more human remains, personal effects and crew-related equipment. As a result, JPAC identified Young, Caniford and the other crewmen using forensic identification tools, circumstantial evidence, mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

********************************

Fri, 4 Apr 2008

Last Colorado Air Guard MIA Laid to Rest in Arlington Cemetery (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=49479)

By Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith, USAF

Special to American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., April 4, 2008 – The remains of Colorado Air National Guard Maj. Perry H. Jefferson, who vanished during an observation flight 39 years ago over the jungles of South Vietnam, were at last laid to rest yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard carry the remains of Colorado Air National Guard Maj. Perry Jefferson into the Old Chapel on Fort Myer, Va., April 3, 2008, 39 years after Jefferson went missing in action in Vietnam. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith, USAF

(high-resolution image <http://www.defenselink.mil/dodcmsshare/newsstoryPhoto/2008-04/hrs_080404-F-5495S-023a.jpg&gt;)

Three days of events here were a high-profile attempt to put closure to a missing-in-action mystery, but what exactly happened to the intelligence officer and his Army Reserve pilot, then-1st Lt. Arthur Ecklund, during their fateful observation flight may never be known.

A closed-casket viewing was held at a funeral home here April 1. Families, fellow servicemembers, veterans and friends to both men attended full-honors funerals April 2 and 3, which started at the Old Post Chapel on Fort Myer, Va., followed by platoon, band and caisson escorts to their gravesites on the nation’s most sacred property.

Ecklund was interred at Arlington on April 2; he was previously interred in Knoxville, Ill., by his family in 2004. The Reservist attended Arizona State University and was drafted in 1966. He attended helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft training prior to his combat deployment.

More than 150 people attended Jefferson‘s services here, including nearly 100 from Colorado who watched the state’s reported last Guard Vietnam MIA put to rest.

Jefferson was an intelligence officer at Colorado’s 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which flew the F-100C Super Saber. He received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist College and worked for Aramco in the Middle East before joining the Air Guard. His wife, Sylvia, died in 1992.

Jefferson and 375 other Colorado Air Guard members deployed to Phan Rang, Vietnam, in April 1968. They were the first Air Guard fighter squadron assigned to active duty in Vietnam.

For retired Col. Don Neary, an F-100 pilot who served with Jefferson, thinking of his friend still brought up a mix of tears and happy memories of home at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., and deployed to Vietnam.

Neary said Jefferson didn’t need to fly on visual reconnaissance missions from Phan Rang.

“I think what his motivation was he probably wanted to be a pilot, … but also the aircraft was our forward air control airplane,” Neary said. “I think it gave him an appreciation for us, and he went out to get that experience for when he would come in and brief us in the morning.”

On April 3, 1969, 37-year-old Jefferson was flying aboard an O-1 Bird Dog observation aircraft piloted by 24-year-old Ecklund. They never returned to their base.

Defense officials said a three-day search found no evidence of a crash, and hostile forces in the area prevented other searches. Both men were listed as MIA.

“We were within a month of coming home,” said Maj. Gen. John L. France in “Colorado Pride,” a Colorado Air Guard history book.

France was the unit’s operations officer in Vietnam and later served as Colorado’s adjutant general. In the book, he shares the moments leading up to Jefferson‘s disappearance.

Clyde Seiler and Don Neary were on (an F-100) mission together; Clyde got shot down and went into the jungle, … (and with) no parachute, he didn’t get out. … Then, we lost Perry Jefferson a few days after Clyde. It was a rough time,” France said.

The unit returned home in April 1969, and the Air Guard members who served at Phan Rang were immortalized later in the National Guard Heritage Series painting “Scramble at Phan Rang.”

Across the nation, 22,745 Army and Air Guardsmen mobilized during the Vietnam War. More than 9,000 deployed to Vietnam.

Jefferson‘s and Ecklund‘s case remained unsolved, and there were even rumors of them being seen after the fateful flight.

After defense officials received human remains in 1984 from a suspected military crash, eyewitnesses were interviewed. One witness said the aircraft crashed on a mountainside, and that the pilots died and were buried there. An excavation led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command uncovered the aircraft’s wreckage, but no human remains were found at the crash site.

In 2000, the remains turned over in 1984 were identified as Ecklund‘s.

Defense officials said Jefferson‘s remains were not identified until 2007, after a Vietnamese national living in California turned them in.

The day before Jefferson‘s interment ceremony, visiting Colorado Guard members walked among blossoming cherry trees to the Vietnam War Memorial to lay a wreath. They also located Jefferson‘s name on the dark granite and took a rubbing for their military museum.

“Perry was everybody’s friend. … He took off on a normal observation run and never returned. He just vanished,” France said.

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office’s Web site states “efforts continue to recover nearly 1,800 Americans who remain unaccounted for from Vietnam.”

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

Related Sites:

Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command <http://www.jpac.pacom.mil/&gt;

Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office <http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/&gt;

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