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.
Air Force Col. Peter J. Stewart, 47, born in Glasgow, Scotland, raised in Winter Haven, Florida, accounted for on Feb. 28, 2018, will be buried June 18 in Winter Haven. On March 15, 1966, Stewart, a member of Headquarters, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, was the pilot of a two-seater F-4C aircraft, the second in a flight of two on an armed reconnaissance mission over northern Vietnam. The lead aircraft spotted two vehicles as the flight approached the target area and Stewart responded he was going to strafe the trucks. The lead aircraft, while maneuvering to engage the targets, lost sight of Stewart’s aircraft, but saw a bright orange explosion over the trucks. The flight lead immediately attempted to contact Stewart’s aircraft without result. No parachutes or emergency signals were seen, and all subsequent attempts to contact Stewart and his aircraft commander were unsuccessful. An organized search was not possible due to hostilities in the area. Stewart was subsequently declared missing in action. His status was later amended to deceased.
In November 2014, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) recovery team conducted recovery operations at a possible F-4C crash site in Dien Bien District, Dien Bien Province. Material evidence and possible osseous material was recovered and sent to the Central Identification Laboratory for analysis. Additional recovery operations were conducted in late 2015 and late 2016, and all recovered remains were sent to the laboratory for analysis.
In June 2017, DPAA identified the remains of the aircraft commander, Col. Martin R. Scott.
From October to December 2017, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team continued excavating the crash site, recovering human remains and material evidence.
To identify Stewart’s remains, DPAA used dental analysis, which matched his records, as well as material and circumstantial evidence.
The support from the government and the people of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.
Today there are 1,597 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Stewart’s 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 missing Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.
Additionally, Stewart’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000BTclEAG