The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial at Arlington National Cemetery today.
He is Air Force Col. James L. Carter of Johnson City, Tenn.
On Feb. 3, 1966, Carter was the aircraft commander of a C-123 Provider aircraft which had taken off from Khe Sanh in South Vietnam on a supply mission to Dong Ha, South Vietnam. The plane was not seen again, and searches along the flight route did not find a crash site.
Joint U.S. and Vietnamese teams investigated potential crash sites in Quang Tri Province on three occasions between 1993 and 1999. They interviewed Vietnamese villagers who took them to three different crash sites. Only one of the sites revealed wreckage consistent with that of a C-123 aircraft. Several of the informants said that the bodies of the crew and passengers were buried near the site where the aircraft crashed into a mountain in 1966.
Specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted four excavations at the site between 2000 and 2003. During these four excavations, they recovered human remains, personal effects and other debris. Laboratory analysis of the remains by forensic scientists at JPAC led to Carters identification. Comparison of dental records with the recovered remains was a key factor in the identification.
Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,833 are from the Vietnam War, with 1,397 of those within the country of Vietnam. Another 750 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the war. Of the Americans identified, 524 are from within Vietnam.
For additional information on the Defense Departments mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.