Soldier Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For
The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting
Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from
the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be buried with full military
Army Maj. Dale W. Richardson of Mount Sterling, Illinois, will be buried Aug.
29, in Mountain View, Ark. Richardson was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor
Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and was the passenger aboard an UH-1H Iroquois
(Huey) helicopter that was en route to Fire Support Base Katum, South Vietnam,
when it was diverted due to bad weather. After flying into Cambodian airspace,
the aircraft came under heavy enemy ground fire, causing the pilot to make an
emergency landing in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia. The Huey’s four crewmen
and its four passengers survived the landing. One crewman was able to evade
being captured by enemy forces and later returned to friendly lines. The other
three crewmen and one passenger were captured. Two of the captured crewmen were
released by the Vietnamese in 1973, and the remains of the other two captured
men were returned to U.S. control in the 1980s and identified. Richardson died
at the site of the crash during a fire fight with enemy forces. His remains
were not recovered after the fire fight.
From 1992 through 2008, joint U.S. / Kingdom of Cambodia (K.O.C.) teams
investigated the site without success. On Feb. 18, 2009, a joint team
interviewed witnesses in the Memot District of Cambodia who claimed to have
information on the loss. The witnesses identified a possible burial site for
the unaccounted for servicemen. The team excavated the burial site but was
unsuccessful locating the remains.
From Jan. 16, 2010 to March 11, 2011, joint U.S. / K.O.C. teams excavated the
area, but were unsuccessful recovering the crewman’s remains.
In February 2012, another joint U.S. / K.O.C. team re-interviewed two of the
witnesses. The witnesses identified a secondary burial site near the previously
excavated site. The team excavated the secondary burial site and recovered human
remains and military gear from a single grave.
In the identification of Richardson, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces
DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) analyzed circumstantial evidence and used
forensic identification tools, to include mitochondrial DNA, which matched his
Today there are 1,627 American service members that are still unaccounted for
from the Vietnam War.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for
missing Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA
website at www.dpaa.mil or call 703-699-1420.
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