The remains of Army Capt. Larry F. Lucas of Marmet, W.Va., a U.S. soldier previously unaccounted-for from the war in Vietnam, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with military honors.
Lucas and another crewman were flying a reconnaissance mission in their OV-1 Mohawk aircraft over Savannakhet Province, Laos, when they were hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire. As the crew of another OV-1 watched, the aircraft entered a steep dive, crashed and exploded. The other crewmember ejected from the aircraft before the crash and was rescued.
Other aircraft searched the area for a survivor, but with negative results. No parachute was seen and no radio transmissions were heard from Lucas.
Between January 1990 and September 1999, four joint U.S.-Lao on-site investigations were led by the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting. During two of these investigations, excavations recovered aircraft debris, pilot-related artifacts and human remains. Forensic scientists from the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii identified the remains.
There are currently more than 1,900 Americans unaccounted-for from the war in Southeast Asia.