Compiled from the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office
to recover Remains of WWII U.S. Airmen in Russia
August 6, 2001
A team of 10 specialists left Hawaii for Russia to bring home the remains of seven Navy airmen missing in action from World War II.
The wreckage of an U.S. Navy PV- 1 Ventura bomber was discovered on Russias Kamchatka peninsula in 1999. In August 2000, a survey team at the isolated crash site on the slopes of a volcano, confirmed that the Navy aircraft was the one missing from a March 25, 1944, mission from Alaska to the Kurile Islands, south of the Kamchatka peninsula, to bomb Japanese targets.
The survey team found large pieces of aircraft debris and unexploded 500- pound bombs in the wreckage. The team also recovered some human remains and brought them to the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI).
Since 1978, CILHI scientists have identified the remains of nearly 300 servicemen missing in action from World War II.
War MIA Identified
August 2, 2001
Remains of a U.S. Air Force pilot missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and were returned to his family. The formerly missing serviceman is Maj. Victor J. Apodaca, Jr. of Englewood, Colo.
On June 8, 1967, Apodaca and Capt. Jon T. Busch were flying an armed reconnaissance mission over Quang Binh province, North Vietnam, when their F-4C Phantom was struck by enemy fire. Other U.S. aircrews in the area reported receiving a radio transmission from Apodaca that he had lost use of the hydraulic system on his aircraft. Soon after, a weak emergency beeper signal was heard, but no aircrew saw where Apodacas plane might have crashed. A visual and electronic search of the area continued into the next day without results.
Apodacas remains were returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
of Eight U.S. Servicemen Recovered in North Korea
July 11, 2001
The Department of Defense announced that remains believed to be those of eight American soldiers missing in action from the Korean War were repatriated in formal ceremonies at Yokota Air Base, Japan, on July 10.
A joint U.S.-North Korean team operating about 60 miles north of Pyongyang, recovered the remains during operations that began in June. The area was the site of battles between Communist forces and the U.S. Armys 1st Cavalry Division, and 2nd and 25th Infantry Divisions in November 1950.
Of the 88,000 U.S. servicemembers missing in action from all conflicts, more than 8,100 are from the Korean War.
Arrival Ceremony Held
June 28, 2001
Remains believed to be those of 12 unaccounted-for American servicemen from the Vietnam and Korean Wars were honored at an arrival ceremony at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
Eight sets of remains from the Vietnam War were recovered by military and civilian members of Joint Task Force-Full Accounting and the U.S. Armys Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI) during search and recovery missions in Laos and Vietnam. Four sets of remains from the Korean War were recovered by CILHI teams during excavations in North Korea.
Following the ceremony, the remains will be taken to CILHI where the forensic identification process will begin.
Ceremony held in Savannakhet
June 28, 2001
Remains believed to be those of three American servicemen from the war in Southeast Asia were repatriated during a repatriation ceremony at Laos Savannakhet Airport.
The remains from Laos were recovered by military and civilian members of Joint Task Force-Full Accounting and the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory-Hawaii during a search and recovery mission.
Since 1973, more than 600 American service members, formerly listed as missing and unaccounted-for from the war in Southeast Asia, have been identified and returned to their families.
War MIAs Identified
June 19, 2001
A U.S. Air Force pilot and a Marine Corps aerial observer missing in action from the Vietnam War were identified and returned to their families. Identified were Air Force Col. Harley B. Pyles of Enon, Ohio, and Marine Col. Winfield W. Sisson of Berkeley, Calif.
On Oct. 18, 1965, their O-1E Bird Dog aircraft encountered low-level cloud cover and rain en route to Da Nang Air Base from Kham Duc, South Vietnam. About 10 minutes out from Da Nang, Pyles attempted to make radio contact with the control tower. No further radio transmissions were received, and their aircraft failed to return. An aerial search was initiated hours later and continued for seven days but ended when no evidence of the men or their aircraft was found.
The evidence suggests that Pyles and Sisson died in what is now Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, when their aircraft crashed on the side of a mountain. There is no evidence that either man survived the crash. Human remains were recovered by local villagers who scavenged the crash site, as well as by CILHI personnel who excavated the site. Some of the remains were confirmed to be those of Pyles and Sisson on the basis of dental records and DNA analysis.
Airmen Found in Tunisia
June 6, 2001
Remains believed to be those of the six-man crew of a World War II bomber have been located in Tunisia and were repatriated in Tunis.
The aircraft wreckage was discovered in November 2000 during a dredging operation of Lake Tunis, near the capital city of Tunis. The aircraft was under approximately six feet of silt and mud. The government of Tunisia halted the dredging operation and contacted U.S. authorities. The U.S. Armys Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI), mounted underwater excavations in November and January, recovering remains and personal effects.
The bomber, a Martin Marauder B- 26, crashed in the water after having been struck by enemy anti-aircraft fire during a raid on El Aouina air base in December 1942. Based on serial numbers from the aircraft, the Army has made an association with a specific aircraft, and has located most of the surviving family members of the crew.
During the past 28 years, CILHI teams have recovered remains believed to be those of 389 World War II servicemen, more than 250 of these have been identified.
of Three U.S. Servicemen Recovered in North Korea
May 29, 2001
Remains believed to be of three American soldiers, missing in action from the Korean War, were repatriated at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
A joint U.S.-North Korean team operating in Unsan and Kujang counties and along the Chong Chon River, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang, recovered the remains during operations that began earlier this month. The area was the site of battles between Communist forces and the U.S. Armys 1st Cavalry Division, and 2nd and 25th Infantry Divisions in November 1950.
Seventeen operations were conducted between 1996 and 2000 in North Korea, which resulted in the recovery of 107 sets of remains believed to be those of U.S. soldiers.
Editor's Note: Regular updates from the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office may be found on their Web site at HTTP://WWW.DTIC.MIL/DPMO