Missing Vietnam War Soldiers Identified (Griffith, Dye, Glover)

Release No: 11-024 April 22, 2011 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert S. Griffith, of Hapeville, Ga., Staff Sgt. Melvin C. Dye, of Carleton, Mich., and Sgt. 1st Class Douglas J. Glover, of Cortland, N.Y., will be buried as a group on April 26, 2011, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. The men were aboard a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter on Feb. 19, 1968, when it was shot down by enemy fire in Laos. They were involved in an attempt to extract a long-range reconnaissance patrol in the mountains of Attapu Province. Three other American service members survived the crash and were rescued, but three Vietnamese Montagnards did not survive.

Several hours after the crash a team was dispatched to survey the location and reported seeing remains of at least five people. Enemy activity prevented remains recovery at that time. The following month a second team was sent to the crash site but found no remains.

In 1995, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic team traveled to the recorded grid coordinates for the crash site but found no evidence of a helicopter crash. The team then surveyed a second location in the area where they found helicopter wreckage and human remains.

In 2006, a follow-on team was not able to resurvey the same site due to severe overgrowth and time constraints. Another team excavated the location in late 2007 recovering human remains, wreckage and military-related equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of some of the crewmembers’ families – as well as dental comparisons in the identification of the 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.