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 Chief Master Sgt. Donald J. Hall, 29, of Stroud, Oklahoma, will be buried March 26 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On Feb. 6, 1967, Hall was a member of Detachment 5, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, when he, along with three other service members, were flying an HH-3E helicopter on a rescue and recovery mission over northern Vietnam. After rescuing the pilot of a downed aircraft, Hall’s helicopter was hit by enemy ground fire, resulting in an internal explosion and crash. Hall was subsequently reported missing in action. His status was later amended to deceased.
In March 2017, a Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) team excavated a crash site associated with Hall’s loss, near Bai Dinh Hamlet, Dan Hoa Village, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam, and recovered possible osseous remains and material evidence. On March 31, 2017, a Joint Forensic Review team examined the possible remains in Da Nang and recommended them for repatriation to the United States. The remains were sent to DPAA on April 2, 2017.
To identify Hall’s remains, DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as anthropological analysis, which matched his records and circumstantial evidence.
The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.
Today there are 1,600 American servicemen and civilians who are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Hall’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.