The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from the Vietnam War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
U.S. Air Force Reserve Col. Fredric M. Mellor, 30, of Cranston, Rhode Island, accounted for on July 13, will be buried Sept. 28, in Exeter, Rhode Island. On Aug. 13, 1965, Mellor, who was assigned to the 20th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, and on temporary duty with the 15th Reconnaissance Task Force, was flying the lead RF-101C aircraft in a flight of two on a mission to conduct photo and visual reconnaissance of a suspected surface to-air missile site in Son La Province, in the then-Democratic Republic of Vietnam. During the flight, hostile ground fire damaged the aircraft, causing it to crash. Mellor survived his ejection and attempted to evade the enemy. Initial radio contact was established, however contact was lost, and, despite a two-day search, neither Mellor nor his aircraft were found. He was subsequently listed as missing in action.
North Vietnamesse witnesses claimed they saw or participated in the shoot-down of an American aircraft and the capture and death of its pilot on Aug. 13, 1965.
On Nov. 22, 1991, four Vietnamese witnesses returned to the site where the pilot was allegedly killed. One witness recovered remains and personal effects and turned the evidence over to U.S. investigators.
To identify Mellor’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, anthropological and isotopic analysis, as well as material and circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful to the government and the people of Vietnam for their partnership in this recovery.
Today there are 1,594 American servicemen and civilians who are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Mellor’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 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) 699-1420/1169.
Mellor’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt00000001UdSEAU