The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a soldier, missing from the Vietnam War, has been accounted for and will be buried with full military honors along with two of his crew members.
Army Spc. 5 John L. Burgess, of Sutton Bay, Mich., was the crew chief of a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter that crashed in Binh Phuoc Province, South Vietnam. Also, killed in the crash were 1st Lt. Leslie F. Douglas Jr., of Verona, Miss.; lst Lt. Richard Dyer, of Central Falls, R.I.; and Sgt. 1st Class Juan Colon-Diaz, of Comerio, Puerto Rico. Another crew member, Pfc. John Goosman, survived the crash and was rescued. Remains representing Dyer, Colon-Diaz, and Burgess, will be buried as a group in a single casket, on July 2, at Arlington National Cemetery.
On June 30, 1970, while on a command and control mission, the helicopter was struck by enemy fire, causing it to crash. Shortly thereafter, friendly forces recovered remains of Douglas, Colon-Diaz, and Dyer. The three men were individually identified and buried with full military honors. At that time, no remains were attributed to Burgess.
From 1992 to 2012, more than a dozen joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams investigated the case, in Binh Phuoc Province, recovering human remains, personal effects, military equipment, and aircraft wreckage associated with this loss.
Burgess was accounted for using forensic and circumstantial evidence.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420.