The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been
identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger, 32, of Lebanon, Ore., will be buried
June 8 in his hometown. On Dec. 24, 1965, Hassenger, and the crew of the AC-47D aircraft
nicknamed “Spooky” failed to return from a combat strike mission in southern Laos. After a
“mayday” signal was sent, all contact was lost with the crew. Two days of search efforts for the
aircraft and crew were unsuccessful.
In 1995, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team investigated a
crash in Savannakhet Province, Laos. Local villagers recalled seeing a two-propeller aircraft,
similar to an AC-47D, crash in December 1965. One man had found aircraft wreckage in a
nearby field while farming, and led the team to that location. The team recovered small pieces of
aircraft wreckage at that time and recommended further investigative visits.
Joint U.S./L.P.D.R. investigation and recovery teams re-visited the site four times from
1999 to 2001. They conducted additional interviews with locals, recovered military equipment,
and began an excavation. No human remains were recovered, so the excavation was suspended
pending additional investigation.
In 2010, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. recovery teams again excavated the crash site. The team
recovered human remains, personal items, and military equipment. Three additional excavations
in 2011 recovered additional human remains and evidence.
Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental records and
material evidence to identify Hassenger.
With the accounting of this airman, 1,666 service members still remain missing from the
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing
Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.