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Post-WW2 Military and Naval Aviation Please use this forum to discuss Military and Naval Aviation after the Second World War.

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Old 9th July 2011, 08:57
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Vietnam war missing airmans

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 of 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 703-699-1420 or visit the DPMO Website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo .

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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 are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force 1st Lt. David A. Thorpe of Seneca Falls, N.Y., will be buried June 23 at Arlington National Cemetery. 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. 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 website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.
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