The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been accounted for
and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert E. Pietsch, 31, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Maj. Louis F.
Guillermin, 25, of West Chester, Pa., will be buried as a group Oct. 16, in a single casket
representing the two servicemen at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.
Guillermin’s individual remains will be buried Oct. 5, 2013, in Broomall, Pa.
On April 30, 1968, Guillermin and Pietsch were on an armed-reconnaissance mission
when their A-26A Invader aircraft crashed in Savannakhet Province, Laos. Witnesses saw an
explosion on the ground and did not see any signs of survivors. Search and rescue efforts were
unsuccessful, and Guillermin and Pietsch were listed as Missing in Action.
In 1994, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) team, lead by the Joint
POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), surveyed the crash site in Savannakhet Province,
Laos. The team recovered human remains and evidence, but was unable to fully survey the site
due to the presence of dangerous unexploded ordinance.
In 2006, joint U.S./LPDR teams assisted by Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel
cleared the site and gathered additional human remains and evidence such as personal effects and
The remains recovered were analyzed by scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces
DNA Identification Laboratory using circumstantial evidence and forensic analysis such as
mtDNA comparisons. Portions of the remains were individually identified as Guillermin through
an mtDNA match from a hair sample from Guillermin’s medical file. The rest of the remains
recovered were not individually identified, but correspond to both Pietsch and Guillermin.
There are more than 1,640 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 web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.