Two servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families for burial.
They are Navy Lt. j.g. Robert A. Clark of North Hollywood, Calif., and another officer whose name will not be released at the request of his family.
On Jan. 10, 1973, the two took off in an A-6A aircraft from USS Midway on a mission to suppress surface-to-air missiles in North Vietnam. Near the target area in Nghe An Province in North Vietnam, aircrew reported an estimated 15 surface-to-air missiles fired, as well as numerous antiaircraft rounds. Clark’s A-6A was not seen again.
Attempts to contact the crew for four days through radio and visual searches were unsuccessful.
In July 1991, U.S. researchers discovered in a Vietnamese military museum a data plate which correlated to the downed aircraft. Later, in another museum, they discovered photos of a crash site which also correlated to the missing aircraft. U.S. researchers examined Vietnamese wartime records which confirmed the downing of that aircraft in Nghe An Province in January 1973.
Between 1993 and 2002, U.S. researchers and joint U.S.-Vietnam teams conducted four field investigations and one excavation. During one of their field visits, a witness to the 1973 crash turned over remains he claimed to have recovered at the site. During the excavation in 2002, additional remains were recovered.
The remains were identified in 2003 by the Central Identification Laboratory through skeletal analysis and mitochondrial DNA. Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,871 are from the Vietnam War.