Press Release | Dec. 14, 2018

Airman Accounted For From Vietnam War (Kibbey, R.)

WASHINGTON  –   The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Air Force Col. Richard A. Kibbey, 32, of Delmar, New York, killed during the Vietnam War, was accounted for on Aug. 6, 2018.

On Feb. 6, 1967, Kibbey was a member of Detachment 5, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, when he, along with three other service members, were crew members of an HH-3E helicopter on a rescue and recovery mission over North Vietnam. After rescuing the pilot of a downed aircraft, Kibbey’s helicopter was hit by enemy ground fire, resulting in an internal explosion and crash. Kibbey was subsequently reported missing in action. His status was later amended to deceased.

In March 2017, a Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) team excavated a crash site associated with Kibbey’s loss, near Bai Dinh Hamlet, Dan Hoa Village, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam, and recovered possible osseous remains and material evidence. On March 31, 2017, a Joint Forensic Review team examined the possible remains in Da Nang and recommended them for repatriation to the United States. The remains were sent to DPAA in April 2017. A VNOSMP team continued excavation of the site between February and April 2018, recovering additional remains. These remains were sent to DPAA on April 16, 2018 and consolidated with the remains received in 2017.

To identify Kibbey’s remains, DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, dental analysis, as well as material and circumstantial evidence.

The support from the government and people of Vietnam, and Stony Beach, was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,592 American servicemen and civilians who are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Kibbey’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, known as the Punchbowl, 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 family contact information, contact the Air Force Casualty Office at (800) 531-5501.

Kibbey will be buried March 29, 2019, in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

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, find us on social media at or call (703) 699-1420/1169.

Kibbey’s personnel profile can be viewed at