The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory have identified the remains of an airman who went missing during the Vietnam War.
Air Force Col. Francis McGouldrick Jr., of New Haven, Conn., is to be buried Friday with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on the 45th anniversary of his loss, according to a Pentagon statement Monday.
McGouldrick was listed as missing in action on Dec. 13, 1968, after his B-57E Canberra aircraft collided with another aircraft over Laos’ Savannakhet Province during a night strike mission, the statement said. In 1978, a military review board changed his status from missing in action to presumed killed in action.
Between 1993 and 2004, joint teams from the U.S. and Laos unsuccessfully tried to locate the crash site, the statement said. On April 8, 2007, a team found a promising site near the village of Keng Keuk.
From October 2011 to May 2012, joint teams excavated the site three times and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage consistent with a B-57E, the statement said. JPAC used circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA, which matched McGouldrick’s great-nephew and niece, to identify the remains.
McGouldrick once taught at The Ohio State University. His daughters told The Columbus Dispatch they were informed of the identification on Sept. 3. They asked for burial on the 45th anniversary of the crash.
“This is all still a kind of pinch-me experience,” daughter Megan Genheimer told the Dispatch. “But when we’re in Washington and at that grave, then we’ll know: He’s home.”
There are 1,644 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.