Thursday, June 21, 2012

MIA Korean War Soldier & Vietnam Airman Identified

Army Cpl. Robert I. Wax of Detroit was buried yesterday, June 20, at Arlington National Cemetery. In August 1950, Wax and Battery A, 555th Field Artillery Battalion, were fighting against North Korean forces in a battle known as the "Bloody Gulch," near Pongam-ni, South Korea. After the battle, on Aug. 11, 1950, Wax was listed as missing in action. In late 1950, U.S. Army Graves Registration Service personnel recovered remains of service members from that battlefield, including nine men who were unidentified. These men were buried at the 25th Infantry Division Cemetery in South Korea. In 1951, the U.S. consolidated cemeteries on the peninsula. The unknown remains were re-interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. In 2011, due to advances in identification technology, the remains were exhumed for identification.

Based on available evidence such as metal identification tags, military clothing, and wartime records, analysts from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) were able to conclude that the remains were those of a soldier who died at Pongam-ni. Scientists from JPAC used the circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools including radiograph and dental comparisons in the identification of Wax.

Air Force Capt. Clyde W. Campbell of Longview, Texas, will be buried today, 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.