An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
Official websites use .mil
website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
Secure .mil websites use HTTPS
means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.
Skip to main content (Press Enter).
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Fulfilling Our Nation's Promise
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Recently Accounted For
World War II
World War II Summary
Battle of Tarawa
Attack on Pearl Harbor
Service Personnel Not Recovered Following WWII
Korean War Summary
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Battle of Unsan
Korean Air Battles
The Inchon Campaign
The Pusan Perimeter
The DMZ Campaigns
Korean War Disinterments
Korean War POW/MIA List
Vietnam War Summary
Vietnam War Identification Project
Battle of Khe Sanh
Battle of Ia Drang
Vietnam War POW/MIA List
Iraq & Other Conflicts
Searchable List of the Missing
Searchable Map of the Missing
News & Stories
Recent News & Stories
Year In Review
Lab Tour Video
Publicly Released Documents
Family/VSO Update Notes
Family Member Guide
POW/MIA Day Toolkit
Report a Site
Donate to the Mission
| Jan. 9, 2020
Pilot Accounted For From Vietnam War (Ward, N.)
WASHINGTON – The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Air Force Maj. Neal C. Ward, 23, of College Station, Texas, killed during the Vietnam War, was accounted for July 19, 2019.
(This identification was initially published July 26, 2019.)
In June 1969, Ward was a pilot assigned to the 602nd Special Operations Squadron. On June 13, 1969, Ward was piloting an A-1H aircraft as the lead in a flight of two on an armed reconnaissance mission in northern Laos. Both aircraft made four bombing runs on a target, after which Ward started a strafing run. His wingman followed but broke off when he could not complete his run without entering the clouds. During his recovery, the wingman saw automatic weapons muzzle flashes coming from the target area, followed immediately by a large fire and explosion. The wingman could not make contact with Ward and did not observe a parachute or hear any distress calls. The wingman made a pass over the target area and saw debris, but was unable to identify it as aircraft wreckage. Because of hostile enemy activity, a ground search could not be conducted. On June 20, 1978, the Department of the Air Force changed Ward’s status to deceased.
Between 1993 and 2008, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic teams investigated a crash site allegedly associated with Ward’s loss, recommending it for excavation. The site was excavated and teams recovered possible human remains and personal items. The remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Ward’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, as well as material and circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic for their cooperation in this effort.
Today, 1,587 American servicemen and civilians remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Ward’s name is engraved on the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others who are unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For family information, contact the Air Force Casualty Assistance Office at (800) 831-5501.
Ward will be buried in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The date has yet to be determined.
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.
Ward’s personnel profile can be viewed at