Support our mission

Stars and StripesPYEONGTAEK, South Korea — The remains of nine U.S. airmen who’d been missing in action since their plane went down during the Vietnam War were buried as a group Thursday with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, the Defense Department said.

The airmen were identified as Air Force Col. William H. Mason of Camden, Ark; Lt. Col. Jerry L. Chambers of Muskogee, Okla.; Maj. William T. McPhail, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Maj. Thomas B. Mitchell, Littleton, Colo.; Chief Master Sgt. John Q. Adam, Bethel, Kan.; Chief Master Sgt. Calvin C. Glover, Steubenville, Ohio; Chief Master Sgt. Thomas E. Knebel, Midway, Ark.; Chief Master Sgt. Melvin D. Rash, Yorktown, Va.; and Master Sgt. Gary Pate, Brooks, Ga.

According to a DOD news release, the nine were aboard a C-130A Hercules on an evening mission over northern Salavan province, Laos, on May 22, 1968, when contact was lost.

Because of heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area, no search-and-rescue attempts were made, the release said.

Records searches, field investigations and other efforts led to four excavations in Vietnam’s Quang Tri province between 1989 and 2008. Human remains and personal effects were recovered along with aircraft wreckage and crew equipment. Experts used DNA and dental records in identifying the remains, the release said.

Since late 1973, authorities have accounted for the remains of 927 Americans killed in the Vietnam War, and have returned them to their families. With the accounting of the nine airmen buried Thursday, 1,719 servicemembers remain missing from the war.

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up