Six servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and are being buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery Friday with full military honors.
They are Air Force Col. Theodore E. Kryszak of Buffalo, NY; Air Force Col. Harding E. Smith of Los Gatos, Calif.; Air Force Lt. Col. Russell D. Martin of Bloomfield, Iowa; Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Harold E. Mullins; Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luther L. Rose of Howe, Texas, and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ervin Warren, of Philadelphia.
On June 3, 1966, the crew was aboard an AC-47 Spooky gunship flying a nighttime armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. At about 9:25 p.m., the aircraft radioed, we have a hot fire, and another radio transmission was heard to order bail out. Witnesses reported the aircraft was on fire, then crashed into a heavily wooded area 30 miles northeast of Tchepone, in Khannouan Province, Laos. No parachutes from the crew were observed and no emergency beepers were heard. An aerial search of the site found no evidence of survivors.
In cooperation with the Lao government, a joint team of U.S. and Lao specialists traveled to a suspected crash site in Khammouan Province in October 1994 where a villager took them to an area where personal effects, aircraft wreckage, crew-related materials and a crew members identification tag were found.
In May-June 1995, a joint U.S.-Lao team excavated the site where they recovered human remains as well as identification media of other aircrew members. The U.S. recovery team members were from the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI). CILHI scientists applied a wide array of forensic techniques to the recovered remains, including comparisons of dental charts and x-rays, as well as the use of mitochondrial DNA sequencing.
The DNA sequencing was done by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, whose results aided the CILHI scientists in identifying the remains. More than 88,000 Americans are missing in action from all conflicts. Of these, 1,849 are from the Vietnam War. The CILHI is now part of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
For more information please call the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) at (703) 699-1169, or visit