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Remains of Former Army Sergeant Returned to Family

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 13, 1998 – Skeletal remains of Army Sgt. Douglas Alan Ross who died during the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to his family in Temple City, Calf., for burial.

At the time of his death, Ross was a 20-year-old radiotelephone operator with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. He was on a combat operation in Chu Pah District, Gia Lai Province South Vietnam when his unit came under fire on Jan. 22, 1969, said Larry Greer, spokesman for DoD's POW/Missing Person Office.

Ross was reportedly struck in the head by enemy fire and died on the battlefield during the heavy enemy sniper and grenade attack. The other members of his unit were forced to take cover in nearby caves and didn't rejoin friendly forces until the following day, Greer said.

American search teams were unable to locate his remains after the battle, he noted.

"The first joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam team traveled to Gia Lai Province and interviewed local villagers on Jan. 19, 1994," Greer said. "They were told that no one lived in the vicinity of the battlefield during the war, and none of the villagers had any first-hand knowledge of the incident.

"Since there were no other leads to pursue, the case was placed in a 'pending' category," he said. "But in 1997, the provincial and central government reported to the U.S. detachment in Hanoi that villagers had found some remains."

On Aug. 6, 1997, another joint team visited the province to interview four Vietnamese nationals who reported discovering the remains, Greer said. "U.S. and Vietnamese officials traveled to the location and recovered the remains and some personal artifacts, including two dog tags," he said.

The remains were identified by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii as those of Ross.

"Had it not been for those villagers and officials at the provincial and central government level, these remains might never have been recovered as U.S. investigators had no further information on which to base another search," Greer said.

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