WASHINGTON --- The Department of Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office announced June 14 that the remains of four Airmen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are: Capt. Peter H. Chapman II, of Centerburg, Ohio; Tech. Sgt. Allen J. Avery, Auburn, Mass.; Tech. Sgt. Roy D. Prater, Tiffin, Ohio; and Sgt. James H. Alley, Plantation, Fla.
Prater is to be buried in Columbia City, Ind., on Saturday, June 19. Other burials are being scheduled individually by the families of the Airmen.
On April 6, 1972, six Airmen were flying a combat search and rescue mission in an HH-53C Super Jolly Green Giant over Quang Tri Province in Vietnam when they were hit by enemy ground fire and crashed.
Joint U.S. and Socialist Republic of Vietnam field investigations from1989 to 1992, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, yielded evidence leading to an excavation at the crash site in 1994 as well as two reported burial sites. Team members recovered human remains and personal effects as well as aircraft debris. As a result of these recoveries, all six men on the aircraft were accounted-for in 1997 and buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Three were individually identified at that time. Recent technical advances enabled JPAC officials to identify additional remains to be those of Sergeant Prater.
In 1988, the SRV turned over remains they attributed to an American service member, however, the name did not match anyone lost or missing from the Vietnam War. The remains were held by JPAC officials pending improved technology which might have facilitated an identification later.
In the mid-2000s, JPAC laboratory officials gained increased scientific capability to associate the 1988 remains to the correct loss. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory members tested these remains against all those servicemembers who were MIA from the Vietnam War with negative results. In 2009, AFDIL officials expanded their search to make comparisons with previously resolved individuals. As a result of AFDIL's mitochondrial DNA testing, JPAC scientists determined that these remains were associated with four of the six Airmen from the 1972 crash.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.