The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) 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.
Air Force Capt. Douglas D. Ferguson, 24, of Tacoma, Wash., will be buried May 2, in Lakewood, Wash. On Dec. 30, 1969, Ferguson was on an armed reconnaissance mission when his F-4D Phantom II aircraft crashed in Houaphan Province, Laos. A U.S. forward air controller saw an explosion on the ground and interpreted it to be that of Ferguson’s aircraft. He reported seeing no survivors. Ferguson was carried as missing in action until a military review board later amended his status to presumed killed in action.
Between 1994 and 1997, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams conducted investigations of the crash site. U.S. aircraft wreckage and personal effects were found that confirmed this as the crash site of Ferguson’s F-4D.
From October 2009 to April 2013, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams excavated the site three times and recovered human remains.
In the identification of Ferguson, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparisons, which matched his records, and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Ferguson’s maternal line sister and nephew.
Today there are 1,642 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, visit the DPMO website at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.