The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, has been identified.
He is Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Manuel R. Denton, U.S. Navy, of Kerrville, Texas. He will be buried as part of a group on Thursday in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On Oct. 8, 1963, Denton was one of six men who crewed a UH-34D Choctaw helicopter that was on a search-and-rescue mission. While over Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, the helicopter came under intense enemy ground fire and crashed. There were no survivors. Over the next several days, the remains of four of the crewmen were recovered, however the remains of Denton and one other crewman, U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Luther E. Ritchey Jr., were not recovered.
Between 1991 and 2000, several joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), traveled to Quang Nam Province to investigate the incident and interview witnesses. Teams also surveyed the crash site and found wreckage consistent with a UH-34D.
In 2000 and 2001, human remains associated with this incident were turned over to U.S. officials. In 2002, a joint team excavated the crash site and recovered human remains.
As a result of the remains turned over in 2000 and 2001, and of those recovered from the crash site in 2002, Ritchey’s remains were identified in 2003. Some of these remains could not be individually identified, and they are included in a group representing the entire crew. Denton’s remains are in this group, which will be buried together in Arlington.
JPAC used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence in Denton’s identification.
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) 699-1420.