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News Release

Press Release | Nov. 8, 2011

Vietnam War Soldier Identified (Lemcke)

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from the Vietnam War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. David E. Lemcke, 20, of Rochester, N.Y., will be buried Nov. 12, in Hilton, N.Y. On May 21, 1968, Lemcke and four other servicemen were in an Army bunker in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, when a fire broke out due to the accidental firing of a weapon. Two of the servicemen escaped, but Lemcke and two others were presumed dead. After searching the site of the accident for a month, no remains were found that could be associated with Lemke.

From 1993 to 2011, multiple investigations were carried out by joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams. Early investigations were unable to excavate the bunker site due to a large quantity of assorted unexploded ordinances scattered throughout the area. After those explosives were removed, and the site was deemed safe, teams were able to excavate and locate human remains and other items such as Lemcke’s metal identification tags, and prescription eyeglass lenses.

Along with forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental analysis to identify Lemcke’s remains.

More than 1,600 Americans remain missing from the Vietnam War. More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call (703) 699-1420 or visit the DPMO Web site at