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.
Air Force Maj. Bruce E. Lawrence, 25, of Easton Pa., will be buried Sept. 24 in his hometown. On July 5, 1968, Lawrence and Maj. Edward D. Silver were flying the lead F-4C Phantom II aircraft of a two-ship formation, on a night armed-reconnaissance of enemy targets, in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. Other pilots flying in the area reported that they witnessed anti-aircraft fire striking the aircraft shortly before it crashed. No parachutes or signs of survivors were seen.
In 1993, a join U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team traveled to Quang Binh Province to investigate a possible site related to the crash. Harsh terrain and safety concerns limited access to the location of the aircraft. From 1998 to 2000, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams interviewed witnesses, excavated several aircraft crash sites in the area, and recovered human remains. Additional recovery of military equipment, related to Lawrence’s crash, confirmed that two individuals were in the aircraft at the time of the incident.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of both Lawrence and Silver — as well as nuclear DNA to identify the two men.
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.