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Fri, Jun 15, 2012

Airmen Missing From Vietnam War Identified

Crew Of Two Went Down Flying An F-4C In 1966

The remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling, 27, of Phoenix, will be buried June 15, at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. There will be a group burial honoring Walling and fellow crew member, Maj. Aado Kommendant, 25, of Lakewood, N.J., at Arlington National Cemetery, on Aug. 8 – the 46th anniversary of the accident that took their lives.

On Aug. 8, 1966, Walling and Kommendant were the crew of an F-4C aircraft that crashed while on a close air support mission over Song Be Province, Vietnam. Other Americans in the area reported seeing the aircraft crash and no parachutes were deployed. Search and rescue efforts were not successful in the days following the crash.

In 1992, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team investigated the crash site and interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who had recovered aircraft pieces from the site. In 1994, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered a metal identification tag, bearing Walling’s name, and other military equipment. In 2010, the site was excavated again, and human remains and additional evidence were recovered.

Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence, along with forensic identification tools including mitochondrial DNA – which matched Walling’s living sister – in the identification of the remains.

FMI: www.dtic.mil/dpmo

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