Wed, Jun 29, 2005
The DoD POW/MIA Personnel Office
(DPMO) has announced that the remains of a U.S. serviceman,
missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and
are being returned to his family for burial.
He is Air Force Lt. Col. Darel D. Leetun of Hettinger, N.D.
Leetun will be buried with full military honors July 8 at Arlington
On Sept. 17, 1966, Leetun led a bombing mission over Lang Son
province, North Vietnam when his F-105D 'Thunderchief' aircraft was
hit by enemy fire. Other pilots in the flight observed the aircraft
crash, but did not receive emergency beeper signals nor observe a
Vietnamese and U.S. specialists from the Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted three investigations between
1991 and 1995 as they sought information on Leetun's crash site.
During one of the investigations, Vietnamese villagers led
investigators to a hillside location where human remains were
Additional site investigations by a Vietnam team and a JPAC team
in 1999 and 2004 respectively yielded no new evidence.
JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory
specialists used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to
help identify the remains as those of Leetun.
Of those Americans unaccounted-for from all conflicts, 1,833 are
from the Vietnam War, with 1,397 of those within the country of
Vietnam. Another 750 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast
Asia since the end of the Vietnam War. Of the Americans identified,
524 are from within Vietnam.
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