Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Return

Guess who's back? After a two week hiatus I have returned. Wednesday Hero will resume next week, as will Music Monday. While I was gone there were some MIA servicemen who had been found and returned home and I wanted to post them.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Allen J. Avery of Arlington, Mass., will be buried April 6 at Arlington National Cemetery. 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 (SRV) turned over remains they attributed to an American serviceman; however, the name provided by the SRV did not match anyone lost or missing from the Vietnam War. The remains were held by JPAC pending improved technology to facilitate a later identification. From 1989 to 1992, Joint U.S./SRV 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. Three airmen were also individually identified at that time. In the mid-2000s, JPAC's laboratory's improved scientific capability enabled them to match 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 matched with four of the six airmen from the 1972 crash, including Avery.

Army Cpl. Patrick R. Glennon of Rochester, N.Y., will be buried April 11, at Arlington National Cemetery. On Nov. 1, 1950, Glennon, and the G Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, were holding a defensive position along the Nammyon River near Unsan, North Korea, when they were attacked by Chinese forces. Glennon was listed as missing in action following the heavy fighting. In April 2007, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) handed over six boxes of remains of American service members to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi, who were visiting North Korea. The remains had been recovered from areas near Unsan, where Glennon had been lost. Metal identification tags bearing Glennon's name, and other material evidence 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 Glennon's cousins.

Army Pfc. Richard E. Clapp, 19, of Seattle, Wash., will be buried April 25, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On Sept. 2, 1950, Clapp and the C Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment came under fire near Yulchon, South Korea, and Clapp was killed in action. The Army was unable to identify his remains at the time, and the remains were buried as "Unknown" in a military cemetery on the Korean Peninsula. In 1951, the U.S. consolidated cemeteries on the peninsula. The unknown remains were interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. In 2011, due to advances in identification technology, the remains were exhumed for identification. Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as radiograph comparison, and dental records to identify Clapp.

Army Capt. Charles R. Barnes of Philadelphia, Pa., will be buried May 2, in Arlington National Cemetery. 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 United States 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.