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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 Col. Patrick H. Wood, 36, of Kansas City, Missouri, will be buried June 28 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On Feb. 6, 1967, Wood was the pilot of an HH-3E aircraft carrying three other crewmembers on a recovery mission over North Vietnam. After successfully recovering an individual from a separate incident, Wood’s aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire, which caused it to crash. Rescue aircraft flew over the area, but were only able to recover one survivor. Following the incident, the U.S. Air Force declared Wood missing in action.
Multiple joint investigations were conducted concerning the fate of these missing Americans.
During the 120th Joint Field Activity in December 2015, a team from the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) interviewed a witness who was in possession of possible human remains. The witness led the VNOSMP team to the site where the remains were found, which correlated to the crash site of the HH-3E. After a joint forensic review of the remains, the team recommended the remains be repatriated to the U.S.
Scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial, Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat and autosomal DNA analysis, which matched his sister and son; anthropological analysis; as well as circumstantial evidence in making the identification of Wood.
The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.
Today there are 1,608 American servicemen and civilians who 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, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.