The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that group remains of five U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, will be returned to their families soon for burial with full military honors.
They are Chief Warrant Officer Dennis C. Hamilton, of Barnes City, Iowa; Chief Warrant Officer Sheldon D. Schultz, of Altoona, Pa.; Sgt. 1st Class Ernest F. Briggs Jr., of San Antonio, Texas; Sgt. 1st Class John T. Gallagher, of Hamden, Conn.; and Sgt. 1st Class James D. Williamson, of Olympia, Wash.; all U.S. Army. The group remains of this crew will be buried on Aug. 14 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Gallagher's remains were individually identified, and his burial date is being set by his family.
Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
On Jan. 5, 1968, these men crewed a UH-1D helicopter that was inserting a patrol into Savannakhet Province, Laos. As the aircraft approached the landing zone, it was struck by enemy ground fire, causing it to nose over and crash. There were no survivors. All attempts to reach the site over the next several days were repulsed by enemy fire.
Between 1995 and 2006, numerous U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic /Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, all led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted more than five investigations, including interviews with Vietnamese citizens who said they witnessed the crash. Between 2002 and 2006, JPAC led three excavations of the site, recovering remains and other material evidence including identification tags for Schultz, Hamilton and Briggs.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons 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.