The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, killed in action during the Vietnam War, have been
identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Maj. James L. Whited, 42, of Norman, Okla., will be buried Nov. 2, in his
hometown. On Nov. 19, 1966, Whited was the co-pilot of an OV-1A Mohawk aircraft that
crashed while conducting a daytime reconnaissance mission over Attapu Province, Laos. Nearby
U.S. aircrews reported seeing the wing of Whited’s aircraft hit a tree during a climb to avoid a
nearby ridgeline. No parachutes were seen exiting the aircraft. Heavy enemy presence in the area
prevented recovery efforts.
From 1993 to 2009, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams, led
by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), inteviewed multiple witnesses, and
conducted several investigations and excavations of the crash site in Attapu Province. The teams
located human remains, military equipment, and aircraft wreckage of an OV-1A, which correlated
with the last known location of Whited’s aircraft.
To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC analyzed circumstantial evidence and used
forensic identification tools, such as dental comparisons.
Today, the U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam,
Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the Vietnam War.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing
Americans, call (703) 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo.