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News Releases

Press Release | March 30, 2017

Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Barnett)

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Robert R. Barnett, 32, of Gladewater. Texas, will be buried April 7, 2017 in Austin, Texas. On April 7, 1966, Barnett was a member of the 8th Bomb Squadron, and was the pilot of a B-57B aircraft on a strike mission over Laos. While making a dive-bombing attack, the aircraft reportedly crashed, disintegrated and burned. No parachutes were seen and the hostile threat in the area prevented a search and rescue or ground inspection of the site. Following the crash, Barnett was declared killed in action.

In January and May 2005, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team visited the site of the crash. In late 2014, and early 2015, three excavations of the site were conducted, recovering possible human remains, life support items and material evidence. The remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Barnett’s remains, scientists from DPAA used circumstantial evidence and dental comparisons, which matched his records.

The support from the government of Laos was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,611 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at, find us on social media at or call (703) 699-1420.