POW MIA

Posted: June 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
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"Keeping the Promise", "Fulfill their Trust" and "No one left behind" are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation. More than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II (73,000+), the Korean War (7,900+), the Cold War (126), the Vietnam War (1,666), 1991 Gulf War (0), and OEF/OIF (6). Hundreds of Defense Department men and women — both military and civilian — work in organizations around the world as part of DoD's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. For a listing of all personnel accounted for since 2007 refer to http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/accounted_for. For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420. The remains of the following MIA/POW’s have been recovered, identified, and scheduled for burial since the publication of the last RAO Bulletin:
Vietnam
 DPMO announced 30 MAY that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger, 32, of Lebanon, Ore., burial was scheduled for 8 JUN in his hometown. On Dec. 24, 1965, Hassenger, and the crew of the AC-47D aircraft nicknamed “Spooky” failed to return from a combat strike mission in southern Laos. After a “mayday” signal was sent, all contact was lost with the crew. Two days of search efforts for the aircraft and crew were unsuccessful. In 1995, a joint U.S./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. One man had 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 material evidence to identify Hassenger. With the accounting of this airman, 1,666 service members still remain missing from the Vietnam War.
 DPMO announced 5 JUN that the remains of two U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Air Force Lt. Col. Edward D. Silver, 34, of Junction City, Ore., will be buried on June 6, in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington D.C. On June 7, there will be a group burial service at Arlington National Cemetery honoring Silver and the other crew member, Maj. Bruce E. Lawrence, 25, of Easton Pa. Lawrence was buried on Sept. 21, 2011, in his hometown. On July 5, 1968, Silver and Lawrence, 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 joint 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 Silver and 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’s living relatives –as well as nuclear DNA to identify the two men.
 DPMO announced 7 JUN that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Navy Lt. William E. Swanson, 27, of Zimmerman, Minn., will be buried June 11, at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis. On April 11, 1965, Swanson was the pilot of an A-1H Skyraider aircraft that crashed while on an armed reconnaissance mission over Khammouan Province, Laos. Other Americans in the area reported seeing his aircraft being struck by enemy fire and no parachute was deployed prior to the crash. Recovery efforts were not possible due to enemy presence in the days following the crash. In October 2000, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team was investigating a different crash in Khammouan Province. Local villagers reported an aircraft crash site nearby, in the mountains north of the town of Boualapha. The team surveyed the site and found small pieces of aircraft wreckage, and unexploded bombs and rockets of the same type that Swanson’s A-1H had been carrying. In 2009, a joint U.S./L.P.D.R. recovery team excavated the site and found material evidence and military equipment. In 2010, another U.S./L.P.D.R. team completed the excavation and recovered human remains and additional evidence. Two data plates, with numbers matching Swanson’s aircraft, were found at the site. Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used circumstantial and material evidence to identify Swanson’s remains.
 DPMO announced 7 JUN that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Air Force Capt. Virgil K. Meroney III, 25, of Fayetteville, Ark., will be buried June 9, in his hometown. On March 1, 1969, Meroney was a crew member aboard an F-4D Phantom II aircraft that crashed while carrying out a nighttime strike mission in Kahammouan Province, Laos. Nearby U.S. aircrews reported seeing Meroney’s aircraft hit by enemy fire. No parachutes were seen after the aircraft was hit. Heavy enemy presence in the area prevented recovery efforts. In 1994, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team investigated the crash site in Khammouan Province, Laos. The team located aircraft wreckage of an F-4 and military equipment, which correlated with Meroney’s aircraft. From 2000 to 2011, additional joint U.S/L.P.D.R recovery teams investigated and excavated the crash site multiple times. Teams recovered human remains, and military equipment, including an engine data plate, a radio call-sign plate, and a military identification card bearing Meroney’s name. Scientists from the JPAC used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools including dental comparisons, and radiograph comparisons in the identification of Meroney.
Korea
 DPMO announced 5 JUN that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the KoreanWar, were identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Army Cpl. Dick E. Osborne, 17, of Brookville, Pa., will be buried June 6, in Sigel, Pa. On Nov. 2, 1950, Osborne and members of the 8th Cavalry, 3rd Battalion, L Company, were fighting Chinese forces near the Kuryong River, North Korea, in an area known as “Camel’s Head.” Following the fighting, Osborne was listed as missing in action. His body was not recovered at the time, and he was likely buried on the battlefield by Chinese or North Korean forces. On April 12, 2007, North Korea gave the United States six sets of human remains believed to be U.S. servicemen. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the area where Osborne had reportedly died in battle. Evidence such as military items and uniform fragments were included with the remains. To identify the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, and forensic identification tools such as dental records, and mitochondrial DNA – which matched Osborne’s living nephew.
World War II
 DPMO announced 5 JUN that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and were scheduled to be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Marine Corps Pfc. John A. Donovan, 20, of Plymouth, Mich., will be buried June 8, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Donovan was a crewmember aboard a PBJ-1 aircraft that failed to return from a night training mission over the island of Espiritu Santo, in what is known today as Vanuatu. None of the crew was recovered and in 1945 they were officially presumed deceased. In 1994, a group of private citizens notified the U.S. that aircraft wreckage had been found on the island of Espiritu Santo. Human remains were recovered from the site at that time and turned over to the Department of Defense. In 1999, a survey team traveled to the site, which was located at an elevation of 2,600 ft. in extremely rugged terrain, and determined that recovery teams would need specialized mountain training to safely complete a recovery mission. In 2000, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team visited the site and recovered human remains. From 2009 to 2011, multiple JPAC recovery teams excavated the site and recovered additional remains, aircraft parts and military equipment. Scientists and analysts from JPAC used circumstantial evidence and dental records in the identification of Donovan’s remains.
[Source: http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/ Jun 2012 +]

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