Naval Aviator Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Swanson)

Release No: 12-029 June 7, 2012 PRINT | E-MAIL

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.

Navy Lt. William E. Swanson, 27, of Zimmerman, Minn., will be buried June 11, at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis. On April 11, 1965, Swanson was the pilot of an A-1H Skyraider aircraft that crashed while on an armed reconnaissance mission over Khammouan Province, Laos. Other Americans in the area reported seeing his aircraft being struck by enemy fire and no parachute was deployed prior to the crash. Recovery efforts were not possible due to enemy presence in the days following the crash.

In October 2000, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team was investigating a different crash in Khammouan Province. Local villagers reported an aircraft crash site nearby, in the mountains north of the town of Boualapha. The team surveyed the site and found small pieces of aircraft wreckage, and unexploded bombs and rockets of the same type that Swanson’s A-1H had been carrying.

In 2009, a joint U.S./L.P.D.R. recovery team excavated the site and found material evidence and military equipment. In 2010, another U.S./L.P.D.R. team completed the excavation and recovered human remains and additional evidence. Two data plates, with numbers matching Swanson’s aircraft, were found at the site.

Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used circumstantial and material evidence to identify Swanson’s remains.

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) 699-1420.