Navy Pilot Missing In Action From Vietnam War Identified (Egan)

Release No: 11-018 July 13, 2011 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) 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.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. William P. Egan, 35, of Denton, Texas, will be buried on July 16 in Webster, Texas. On April 29, 1966, Egan was killed after his A-1H Skyraider crashed as a result of enemy ground fire during an attack on targets in Khammouan Province, Laos. His wingman observed the crash and immediately flew over the area but saw no sign of Egan.

Between 1994 and 1998, joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams led by JPAC, analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, surveyed possible crash site locations and conducted excavations. During several joint field surveys, teams recovered crew-related equipment and aircraft wreckage—that directly correlated to Egan’s aircraft—but no human remains. In late 2009, a Laotian farmer turned over bone fragments recovered from his field, approximately 10 meters from a joint excavation site.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of Egan’s niece—in the identification of his remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.