Aircrew Missing From Vietnam War Identified (McElroy, Nash)

Release No: 11-074 Nov. 28, 2011 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. 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 Lt. Col. Glenn McElroy, 35, of Sidney, Ill., and Capt. John M. Nash, 28, of Tipton, Ind., will be buried as a group, in a single casket representing the crew, on Nov. 30, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On March 15, 1966, the men were flying an OV-1A Mohawk aircraft that failed to return from a reconnaissance mission over southern Laos in Savannakhet Province. An American forward air controller, operating in the area, reported witnessing the OV-1A aircraft crash after encountering heavy enemy anti-aircraft artillery. He saw one parachute deploy shortly before the crash but he believed the crewman descended into the ensuring fireball. Immediate search-and-rescue teams flew over the crash site but were unable to locate any survivors.

Twice in 1988, joint U.S. /Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.R.D.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), surveyed the crash site and found OV-1 aircraft wreckage and crew-related equipment—including an identification tag bearing Nash’s name. Records indicate there was only one OV-1 loss within 18 miles of Savannakhet Province.

Between 2005 and 2009, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams, interviewed witnesses, investigated, surveyed and excavated the crash site several times. They recovered human remains, more aircraft wreckage and crew-related equipment.

Scientists from the JPAC used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence to identify the crew.

Today more than 1,600 American remain un-accounted for 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 Vietnam War.

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) 699-1420.