Sailor Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Clark)

Release No: 15-019 April 10, 2015 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman missing from the Vietnam War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Lt. j.g. Richard C. Clark, 26, of Richland, N.D., will be buried April 18, in Tacoma, Wash. On Oct. 24, 1967, Clark was the radar intercept officer of an F-4B Phantom II that launched off of the USS Coral Sea on a combat air patrol mission over Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam. While on patrol, the aircraft was struck by an enemy missile causing it to crash. The pilot of the aircraft successfully ejected from the aircraft and was captured by enemy forces; he was later returned to U.S. control. However, Clark, who could not be confirmed as having successfully ejected the aircraft, was carried as missing in action. A military review board later amended his status to presumed killed in action.

On Jan. 16, 1991, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) repatriated 11 boxes of remains to the U.S. that allegedly contained the remains of unaccounted for American servicemen. One box contained remains reportedly recovered in 1990 from the area where Clark’s aircraft crashed.

Between 1998 and 2002, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams investigated and excavated an F-4B crash site in Vinh Phuc Province. Vietnamese locals indicated that the crash site was the same site from which remains were recovered in 1990. The joint teams collected aircraft wreckage which correlated to Clark’s aircraft. The support from Vietnam was vital to this recovery operation.

In 2014, due to the advances in technology, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), a predecessor organization to DPAA, and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) re-examined the remains and made an identification.

In the identification of Clark, scientists from DPAA and the AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA, which matched his mother and sister.

Today there are 1,628 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.