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.