SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The remains of an airman who went missing in action during the Vietnam War will be buried with full military honors Friday at Arlington National Cemetery, the Defense Department has announced.
The burial for Air Force Tech. Sgt. Allen J. Avery, of Arlington, Mass., comes precisely 40 years to the day after the HH-53C Super Jolly Green Giant helicopter that he and five fellow airmen were riding in was shot down over Quang Tri province in South Vietnam. The crew was conducting a combat search-and-rescue mission when their aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire, according a the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office news release.
In 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam turned over a set of remains they attributed to an American serviceman, but the name provided by the Vietnamese did not match anyone lost or missing from the Vietnam War, the release said. The remains were held by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command pending improved technologies that could facilitate identification.
A few years later, a joint American and Vietnamese recovery team found an aircraft crash site as well as two reported burial sites where human remains and personal effects were recovered, the release said. In 1997, the crew was accounted for and buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery. Three of the airmen were individually identified at that time.
As a result of further technological improvements, the 1988 remains were matched in 2010 with four of the six airmen from the 1972 crash, including Avery.