The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Master Sgt. James W. Holt, 26, of Hope, Ark., will be buried May 14, 2015, in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington D.C. On Feb. 7, 1968, Holt was assigned to Company C, 5th Special Forces Group, when his unit was attacked by enemy forces near Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam. Survivors of the attack reported that Holt was manning a 106-mm recoilless rifle in a mortar pit near the camp of Lang Vei, when he depleted his ammunition destroying an enemy tank. The survivors also reported that he was last seen running toward the ammunition bunker. Holt was reported as missing in action following the battle. A military review board later amended his status to presumed killed in action.
On June 21, 1989, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) unilaterally turned over remains that were believed to be those of a U.S. serviceman. Vietnamese officials recovered the remains from a refugee, but lacked necessary documentation for identification. Due to the technology at that time, the remains could not be identified.
In 1995 and 2004, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams excavated areas within the perimeter of the former Special Forces camp at Lang Vei, and recovered human remains. The remains were identified as Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Hanna, Master Sgt. Charles W. Lindewald, and Sgt. 1st Class James L. Moreland. All three identified servicemen were buried with full military honors in Jan. 15, 2005, Feb. 5, 2005 and May 14, 2011, respectively.
In the identification of Holt, scientists from the DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence, from the 1989 unilateral turnover, and forensic identification tools, including two forms of DNA analysis; mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister and brothers, and Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat (Y-STR) DNA, which matched his brothers.
Today there are 1,627 American service members that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
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) 699-1169.