Missing Vietnam War Airman Identified (Clark)

Release No: 11-012 Oct. 18, 2011 PRINT | E-MAIL

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

Air Force Capt. Thomas E. Clark, 29, of Emporium, Pa. will be buried Oct. 22 in his hometown. On Feb. 8, 1969, Clark was attacking an anti-aircraft artillery position in Savannakhet Province, Laos, when his F-100D Super Sabre aircraft was struck by enemy fire and crashed. Three other American pilots on the mission did not see a parachute or any other signs of Clark. Immediate search and rescue missions were not able to locate the crash site.

In 1991, and again in 1992, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams investigated the area of the crash and recovered aircraft wreckage and military equipment. The teams also conducted interviews with locals who reported witnessing the crash. Local Laotians gave the investigators two military identification tags that identified Clark, and human remains, which had been recovered from the site shortly after the crash. In 2009, an additional excavation of the site recovered dental remains which also helped to identify Clark.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command were able to use dental analysis to help identify Clark.

Today more than 1,600 American remain un-accounted for from the Vietnam War. More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the Vietnam War.

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.