Release No: 1025-06
October 12, 2006
Air Force Pilot Missing in Action From Vietnam War is Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will soon be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is 1st Lt. James L. Hull, U.S. Air Force, of Lubbock, Texas. He will be buried Nov. 13 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On Feb. 19, 1971, Hull and a fellow crew member were flying a mission near the Laos/Vietnam border when their O-2A Skymaster crashed. Both men died, but Hull’s body was buried in the wreckage and could not be recovered because of hostile enemy action.
Between 1993 and 1997, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) led three investigations with U.S. and Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, and one trilateral investigation with a Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team. During the first investigation, the team interviewed a Vietnamese citizen who produced human remains and an identification tag for Hull that he claimed to have recovered from a crash site located just inside Laos. The joint team was not allowed to cross the border and the investigation was suspended. The Vietnamese turned over the bone fragment to U.S. officials, but the ID tag’s whereabouts are still unknown.
Additional investigations yielded some information concerning a crash site located just inside the Laotian border. The S.R.V. allowed a Vietnamese national to walk to the purported crash site and collect a fragment of the wreckage. Based on the location, type of aircraft and retrieved wreckage, analysts determined it was Hull’s crash site.
In May 2006, a joint U.S. and L.P.D.R. team excavated the site where they recovered additional evidence and human remains.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA from a known maternal relative in the identification of the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.