The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a U.S. Air Force officer missing in action from the Vietnam War has been identified and is being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Maj. John F. Conlon III, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. His funeral is tentatively scheduled for Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., in the fall.
On March 4, 1966 Conlon and another crewmember took off from Qui Nhon Air Field, Binh Dinh Province, South Vietnam, in their O-1E Bird Dog light observation aircraft. They were on a visual reconnaissance mission to Cheo Reo, an airstrip approximately 60 miles southwest of Qui Nhon. The last radio contact with the crew was with a U.S. Special Forces Camp about 30 minutes after take-off. The crew reported the aircraft’s position but made no mention of problems. When the aircraft failed to arrive at Cheo Reo, a search and rescue effort was initiated, but failed to find the aircraft or crew after six days of searching.
Between May of 1993 and August of 2005 teams from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted six investigations in the Binh Dinh Province. They developed leads which took them to a site which was later scheduled for excavation.
In February of 2006 a joint JPAC-Vietnamese team excavated that site and found aircraft debris, personal effects, human remains and a dog tag that related to Conlon’s crew. JPAC scientists used Conlon’s dental records to confirm his identity from those remains excavated at the site.
Of those Americans unaccounted-for from all conflicts, 1,803 are from the Vietnam War.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703)-699-1169.