Colleen Shine was 8 years old when her father, an Air Force fighter pilot, was listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War. DPAA conducts global search, recovery and laboratory operations to identify unaccounted-for Americans from past conflicts in order to support the Department of Defense’s personnel accounting efforts. As an adult, Colleen made a trip to Vietnam in the ‘90s that would answer many of her questions.
Many different organizations and personnel within DPAA are involved in the effort to bring missing veterans home to their families. The techniques and procedures used on DPAA sites are generally in line with standard archeological methods, such as those used on the pyramids in Egypt or Mexico, the scientist added. Over time, nature has a tendency to reclaim the burial or crash sites, and it’s further expedited by Vietnam’s highly acidic soil, which can erode remains entirely. At the Central Identification Laboratory, forensic anthropologists do what they can to glean answers from the bones found on site. The work that goes into bringing a missing service member home and definitively identifying them is tremendous, but, ultimately, it’s all worth it. In November, he met with the wife and daughter of an NCO, who was recently recovered and identified. After the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973, 591 POWs who had been captured during the war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia were returned, according to the DPAA; however, the number of veterans who were still unaccounted for quadrupled that count. Once they got to the crash site, the recovery team realized that houses had been built over the area.
The mission was something the Vietnamese found they could empathize with because they had thousands of missing soldiers from the war as well. In search of any information that can drive a recovery effort forward, Ward and his fellow researchers investigate leads from many sources.
Because Vietnam is growing so quickly, structurally and economically, some of the sites DPAA is looking for end up impacted. As time passes, the DPAA investigators become increasingly familiar with each unresolved case. In fiscal year 16, the DPAA plans to conduct four joint field activities in country – involving 95 U.S. At Arlington National Cemetery in October 1996, Colleen and her family presided over a memorial service for her father.
About AirmanAIRMAN is produced by the Defense Media Activity for the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs.


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While traveling with a guide to check out a site, she saw the wreckage of her father’s plane, along with a helmet with his name scribed inside.
Denise To, a supervisory forensic anthropologist, performs the recovery analysis and identification of human skeletal remains at the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii.
By the time the pieces of aircraft, gear, and bone fragments make their way into the labs for analysis, they can be difficult to identify. Johnie Webb, the DPAA deputy director of external communications, is reminded of the organization’s value each time a family is reunited with their missing loved one. He can recall what it was like for those at home waiting on their loved ones who were fighting abroad.
The laboratory has a small collection of military artifacts from previous wars and conflicts.
In addition to speaking with witnesses, they scan through Vietnamese books, newspapers, documents and previous interviews. After working in the Air Force for 20 years as a Vietnamese linguist, he takes the job personally. The laboratory has a small collection of military artifacts from previous wars and conflict.
The vietnamese women you will find on this site are all hoping to become Vietnamese brides in a beautiful Vietnamese wedding. As a scientist, To is not above getting her feet dirty and has also joined previous search teams in Vietnam. Also, unlike a common misperception, the country isn’t just composed of small villages scattered in the jungle; the economy is quickly expanding into cities with large high-rise hotels and bustling enterprise. The wet screening station uses water to sift through mud in search for human remains at a U.S. They also use other lines of evidence, such as historical data, clavicular data, dental records, material evidence and archeological data. As the site recovery leader, she’s responsible for mapping out specific coordinates to ensure the digging and search of the area is as close to the reported wreckage as possible. The effort kept the crew in Vietnam over the Thanksgiving holiday, but their work paid off sooner than they had expected.


A team of 35 American military and civilians service members received assistance from approximately 75 Vietnamese local workers to retrieved remains from military members lost in the Vietnam War.
A team of 35 Americans and approximately 75 Vietnamese locals are in search for remains of a service member shot down in the Vietnam War.
Though the incidents in question happened 40 to 50 years ago, the group continuously searches for any new clue that will provide them with answers. Upon the realization that he wouldn’t be able to recover the service member at the industrial site, his heart sank. They make an effort to find every single unaccounted service member from previous conflicts, but, unfortunately, they may not always be able to bring them home. The researchers get to know more about the person they are looking for and many times also know the service members’ families. The remains of the service member were found in Vietnam and transported back to the laboratory in Hawaii for DNA testing and further examination.
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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and the joint field teams are finding remains as small as teeth fragments, therefore exact reference points are valuable.
After 22 feet of dirt had been removed, they recovered one engine, landing gear, and began to find some remains. Sadly, he told the missing man, “We came and looked for you, and I’m so close to you right now.
As such, each case is more than just a number on a folder to Ward – he sees the person, and that motivates him to work even harder. Approximately 75 Vietnamese local workers were employed to help DPAA recovery remains from a service member who was shot down in the Vietnam war. Anthony Shine: some had pictures of remains reputed to be his, and some were live sightings. These reports continued into the mid-1990s, and the family faced each lead while trying to track down the truth.



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