The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of three U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were recently
identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Army Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown, 24, of La Habra, Calif., Sgt. 1st Class Donald M. Shue, 20,
of Kannapolis, N.C., and Sgt. 1st Class Gunther H. Wald, 25, of Palisades Park, N.J., will be
buried as a group on Aug. 30, in a single casket representing the three soldiers, in Arlington
National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Brown and Shue were each individually buried on
Sept. 26, 2011, at Arlington and May 1 in Kannapolis, N.C.
On Nov. 3, 1969, the men and six Vietnamese soldiers were part of a Special Forces
reconnaissance patrol operating in Quang Tri Province, near the Vietnam-Laos border. The patrol
was ambushed by enemy forces and all three Americans were wounded. Brown was reported to
have suffered a gunshot wound to his side. Due to heavy enemy presence and poor weather
conditions the search-and-rescue team was not able to reach the site until eight days later. At that
time, they found military equipment belonging to Shue, but no other signs of the men.
Between 1993 and 2010, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by
the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted multiple interviews on nine
different occasions in Quang Tri Province. Additionally, the S.R.V. unilaterally investigated this
case, but was unable to develop new leads. Among those interviewed by the joint teams were
former Vietnamese militiamen who claimed in 1969 they ambushed three Americans in the area
near the Laos-Vietnam border. In 2007, a Vietnamese citizen led investigators to human remains
that he had discovered and buried near the site of the ambush. In 2008, a military identification
tag for Brown was turned over to the U.S. Government from a U.S. citizen with ties to Vietnam.
Finally, in April 2010, joint teams excavated a hilltop area near Huong Lap Village, recovering
additional human remains, and military equipment, another military identification tag for Brown,
and a “Zippo” lighter bearing the name ”Donald M. Shue” and the date “1969.”
Scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used
circumstantial and material evidence, along with mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of
some of the soldiers’ family members—in the identification of the remains.
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.