The remains of an airman who went missing during the Vietnam War have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial.

Air Force Maj. Larry Hanley, 26, of Walla Walla, Wash., is to be buried Saturday with full military honors in his hometown, according to a statement Monday by the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office.

Hanley was declared missing in action on Nov. 4, 1969, after the F-105D Thunderchief he was piloting crashed in Laos’ Khammouan Province while assaulting an enemy anti-aircraft position, the statement said. Other pilots in the area did not witness the crash and the exact location remained unknown.

A military review board re-evaluated Hanley’s case in 1979 and amended his status to killed in action.

Two joint U.S./Laos teams investigated the case in the 1990s but were unable to locate the crash site, the statement said.

On Feb. 24, 2012, the Joint Prisoner of War Accounting Command received remains from the Defense Intelligence Agency, which had gotten them from a local source.

Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence as well as dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Hanley’s mother and sister, to positively identify the remains, the statement said.

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