A serviceman missing in action from the Vietnam War has been identified and returned to his family for burial.
He is Army Capt. Clinton A. Musil Sr. of Minneapolis, Minn.
On May 31, 1971, Musil was aboard an OV-1A Mohawk fixed wing aircraft flying a daylight reconnaissance mission over Savannakhet Province in Laos. Though enemy antiaircraft artillery was known to be in the area, none of the crewmembers in other aircraft noted any attack on Musil’s aircraft. Several people did see a large fireball when the aircraft crashed. Attempts to contact him by radio were unsuccessful, and search and rescue efforts were precluded by enemy forces in the area.
During two investigations in 1993 and 1995, U.S. and Lao specialists learned of a potential crash site from local residents. The purported site was located on a steep slope, and appeared to correlate within 200 meters with the loss location in U.S. wartime records. The site had been scavenged, but the team found small pieces of aircraft wreckage and possible human remains. Following the recommendations of the investigators, other U.S. and Lao teams excavated the site twice in 2001 and once in 2002. During these three excavations, they recovered aircraft wreckage, personal effects, aircrew-related items and human remains.
The recovered remains were identified in 2003 by the Central Identification Laboatory through skeletal analysis and mitochondrial DNA. The remains of a second crew member have yet to be identified. The Defense Department’s POW/Missing Personnel Office establishes policy and directs the effort to account for the more than 88,000 missing in action from all conflicts. Of these, 1,871 are from the Vietnam War.
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