The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Army Capt. Arnold E. Holm Jr. of Waterford, Conn.; Spc. Robin R. Yeakley of South Bend, Ind.; and Pfc. Wayne Bibbs of Chicago, will be buried as a group, in a single casket representing the entire crew, on Nov. 9, in Arlington National Cemetery. On June 11, 1972, Holm was the pilot of an OH-6A Cayuse helicopter flying a reconnaissance mission in Thua Thien-Hue Province, South Vietnam. Also on board were his observer, Yeakley, and his door gunner, Bibbs. The aircraft made a second pass over a ridge, where enemy bunkers had been sighted, exploded and crashed, exploding again upon impact. Crews of other U.S. aircraft, involved in the mission, reported receiving enemy ground fire as they overflew the crash site looking for survivors.
Between 1993 and 2008, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed witnesses, investigated, surveyed and excavated possible crash sites several times. They recovered human remains, OH-6A helicopter wreckage and crew-related equipment—including two identification tags bearing Yeakley’s name.
Scientists from the JPAC used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence to identify the crew.
Today more than 1,600 American remain un-accounted for from the Vietnam War. More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the Vietnam War.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.