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News Release

Press Release | Nov. 16, 2007

Marine Missing In Action From The Vietnam War Is Identified (Fischer)

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 will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Gunnery Sgt. Richard W. Fischer, U.S. Marine Corps, of Madison, Wis. He will be buried on Nov. 19 in Madison.

On Jan. 8, 1968, Fischer was assigned to M Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, on an ambush patrol south of Da Nang in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Fischer became separated from his unit and subsequent attempts by his team members to locate him were met with enemy fire.

In 1992 and 1993, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted three investigations and interviewed several Vietnamese citizens. The citizens said that Fischer was killed by Viet Cong and his remains were buried in a nearby cultivated field.

In 1994, a joint team excavated the burial site and recovered human remains and other material evidence including uniform buttons.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of Fischer’s remains.

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