The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted for from the Vietnam War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Air Force Col. Edgar F. Davis, 32, of Goldsboro, North Carolina, accounted for on Dec. 19, 2017, will be buried April 6 in his hometown. On Sept. 17, 1968, Davis was a navigator aboard a RF-4C Phantom fighter-bomber aircraft, assigned to the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. Davis and his pilot were on a night photo-reconnaissance mission over the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) when they were shot down by anti-aircraft artillery fire. The pilot ejected out of the aircraft and was rescued, however no contact could be established with Davis. Because of this, he was declared missing in action. Search and rescue efforts were suspended after failing to locate Davis or the aircraft wreckage. Davis was later declared deceased.
Between August 2001 and February 2015, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams investigated a crash site six times that correlated with Davis’ loss. Excavations recovered personal effects, but analysis could not confirm whether Davis was in the aircraft at the time of the crash. A subsequent team excavated an ejection seat location associated with the crash.
In 2015, a Stony Beach debriefer in Bangkok, Thailand obtained information from a villager concerning the burial location of a U.S. service member in Boulapha District, Khammouan Province, L.P.D.R. The villager claimed that in 1968, his father came across the remains of a U.S. pilot and buried them near his house. The villager turned over bone fragments, which were sent to DPAA for analysis.
To identify Davis’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as material and circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful to Stony Beach and the government of Laos for their partnerships in this recovery.
Today there are 1,600 American servicemen and civilians still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Davis’ name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others unaccounted-for 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 Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.