The remains of two U.S. soldiers missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.
Chief Warrant Officer Donald L. Wann of Shawnee, Okla., will be buried on Aug. 21 in Fort Gibson, Okla. First Lt. Paul G. Magers, of Sidney, Neb., will be buried Aug. 27 in Laurel, Mont.
Both men were flying aboard an AH-1 Cobra gunship on June 1, 1971, in support of an emergency extraction of an Army ranger team in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, the DOD said in a news release. After the rangers were extracted, helicopters were ordered to destroy claymore mines which had been left behind.
Magers and Wann’s helicopter, however, was hit by ground fire, crashed and exploded. There was no possibility they survived, and enemy activity in the area prevented a ground search for remains, according to the release.
Working with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a Vietnamese team in 2008 and 2009 found remains and other evidence used to identify the men during an excavation of the crash site.
The Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory confirmed the identification of the remains, the release said.