Soldiers Missing in Action from Vietnam War are Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are Maj. Frederick J. Ransbottom, of Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Staff Sgt. William E. Skivington Jr.; of Las Vegas, Nev.; both U.S. Army. Ransbottom will be buried in Edmond, Okla. on Jan. 13, and Skivington will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23.
Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
On May 12, 1968, North Vietnamese forces overran the Kham Duc Special Forces camp and its surrounding observation posts in Quang Nam-Da Nang Province (formerly Quang Tin Province), South Vietnam. Ransbottom and Skivington were two of the 17 U.S. servicemen unaccounted-for after the survivors evacuated the camp. Search and recovery efforts at the site in 1970 succeeded in recovering remains of five of the 17 men. A sixth man was returned alive during Operation Homecoming in 1973 after having been captured and held prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese.
Between 1993 and 2006, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted eight investigations and four excavations in the vicinity of the camp site. The team interviewed former North Vietnamese officers and soldiers who participated in the battle. Some recalled seeing the bodies of U.S. servicemen near one of the observation posts, and U.S. eyewitness accounts placed Ransbottom and Skivington near the post.
During an excavation conducted in 1998, two U.S. servicemen who survived the battle accompanied JPAC to help locate the observation posts, but found no evidence of human remains. Later excavations conducted in the area yielded human remains, identification media and personal effects for Ransbottom, Skivington and several other soldiers.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.