Army Sgt. John R. Jones, of Louisville, Ky., was 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.