Tue, Nov 01, 2011
RF-4C Aircraft Went Down During Photo-Recon Mission
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced
Friday that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action
from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his
family for burial with full military honors.
RF-4C File Photo
Air Force Col. Gilbert S. Palmer Jr., 37, of Upper Darby, PA,
will be buried November 1, in Arlington National Cemetery near
Washington, D.C. On Feb. 27, 1968, Palmer and one other crew member
were carrying out photo-reconnaissance of enemy targets in Quang
Binh, North Vietnam, in their RF-4C aircraft. After losing radio
communication, Palmer’s plane crashed in an unknown location
and could not be located during search efforts at the time.
In 1999, a U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic
(L.P.D.R.) recovery team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting
Command (JPAC), was taken by a local villager to a crash site in
Savannakhet Province, near the Vietnamese border. Aircraft wreckage
from an RF-4 reconnaissance aircraft was found. Additional
investigations of the crash site, between 2001 and 2010, recovered
human remains and military equipment specific to Palmer’s
aircraft. In addition to forensic identification tools and
circumstantial evidence, scientists from the JPAC, and the Armed
Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA –
which matched that of Palmer’s brother – in the
identification of the remains.
More than 1,600 Americans remain missing from the Vietnam War.
More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that
conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military
honors since 1973. The U.S. government continues to work closely
with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all
Americans lost in the conflict.
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