Airmen Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Silver, Lawrence)

Release No: 12-028 June 5, 2012 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Lt. Col. Edward D. Silver, 34, of Junction City, Ore., will be buried on June 6, in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington D.C. On June 7, there will be a group burial service at Arlington National Cemetery honoring Silver and the other crew member, Maj. Bruce E. Lawrence, 25, of Easton Pa. Lawrence was buried on Sept. 21, 2011, in his hometown.

On July 5, 1968, Silver and Lawrence, were flying the lead F-4C Phantom II aircraft of a two-ship formation, on a night armed-reconnaissance of enemy targets, in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. Other pilots flying in the area reported that they witnessed anti-aircraft fire striking the aircraft shortly before it crashed. No parachutes or signs of survivors were seen.

In 1993, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team traveled to Quang Binh Province to investigate a possible site related to the crash. Harsh terrain and safety concerns limited access to the location of the aircraft. From 1998 to 2000, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams interviewed witnesses, excavated several aircraft crash sites in the area, and recovered human remains. Additional recovery of military equipment, related to Silver and Lawrence’s crash, confirmed that two individuals were in the aircraft at the time of the incident.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of both Lawrence and Silver’s living relatives – as well as nuclear DNA to identify the two men.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1420 or visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo.