The remains of an American serviceman missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to his family in the United States. Identified is Navy Cmdr. John A. Feldhaus, of Lawrenceberg, Tenn.
On Oct. 8, 1966, Feldhaus took off from the carrier USS Oriskany in an A-1H Skyraider on an armed reconnaissance mission over Thanh Hoa Province, North Vietnam. As he and his wingman entered heavy clouds, Feldhaus radioed that he had been hit by enemy ground fire and his right wing was on fire. His wingman never saw Feldhaus' aircraft again, but he did report seeing a fireball on the ground which he believed to be an aircraft crash.
The wingman and another aircrew searched the area of the crash without success. They saw no parachute and heard no emergency radio signals. The visual search was hampered by enemy ground fire and deteriorating weather. Electronic surveillance continued on the succeeding days, but revealed nothing.
In October 1993, a joint U.S./Vietnamese team led by Joint Task Force-Full Accounting conducted an investigation in Thanh Hoa Province where they believed the crash occurred, but they found no aircraft debris or remains. Between 1996 and 2000, another four investigations or excavations were conducted in Vietnam, yielding aircraft debris, pilot-related artifacts, personal effects and remains.
Among the forensic tools used by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) to confirm the identification was that of mitochondrial DNA, in which DNA from a skeletal fragment was matched to that of a Feldhaus family member.
There are currently more than 1,900 Americans unaccounted-for from the war in Southeast Asia.