Airman Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Graff)

Release No: 11-023 June 3, 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 returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. James H. Graff, 27, of Marengo, Ill., will be buried tomorrow in Anderson, S.C. On Oct. 3, 1966, Graff’s C-130E, with five men aboard, failed to arrive at Nha Trang Air Base following their departure from Tan Son Nhut Air Base in South Vietnam. Rescue personnel found their remains at the crash site in South Vietnam eight days later approximately 40 miles west of Nha Trang. The cause of the crash is not known and the remains of each individual crew member could not be identified.

Between 1984 and 1996 the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) received human remains from various sources in Vietnam, tentatively linked to Graff and the other crew members. But lacking advanced scientific tools and complete records during this time period, JPAC was unable to make an individual identification of Graff’s remains so he was buried as part of a group in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Other remains associated with the entire group were held at JPAC’s laboratory for future testing.

As DNA testing procedures improved after the late 1990s, JPAC’s forensic anthropologists applied the latest technologies from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory to include mitochondrial testing, a sample of which matched the DNA from his mother. His dental records also helped confirm the identification.

With the accounting of these airmen, 1,687 service members still remain missing from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.