Soldier Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Dalton)

Release No: 11-014 July 21, 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.

Army Specialist Four Randall D. Dalton, 20, of Collinsville, Ill., will be buried July 24 in Glen Carbon, Ill. On July 24, 1971, he was the door gunner of an OH-6A Cayuse helicopter, with two other soldiers on board, when the aircraft was struck by enemy ground fire and crashed in Kracheh Province, Cambodia. A search and rescue team arrived at the location shortly after the crash and found the pilot alive. Dalton and the third soldier did not survive. Enemy activity in the area forced the team to rapidly evacuate the pilot. The next day as second team returned to recover the remains of the other two men but they were missing.

In September 1989, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam gave the United States three boxes of remains believed to U.S. servicemen. Documents turned over with the boxes listed two servicemen by name and scientists confirmed their identities. The third box contained remains from two individuals—one was determined to be of Southeast Asian descent and returned to Vietnam, the other wasn’t able to be identified given the available forensic technology.

Between 1992 and 2007, joint U.S./Kingdom of Cambodia teams interviewed witnesses, conducted investigations and excavated the crash site. The team found helicopter wreckage but no evidence of human remains.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his sister – in the identification of Dalton’s 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.