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 Maj. Perry H. Jefferson, U.S. Air Force, of Denver, Colo. He will be buried April 3,
2008 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On April 3, 1969, Jefferson was an aerial observer on board an O-1G Bird Dog aircraft on
a visual reconnaissance mission over a mountainous region in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam.
The pilot of the aircraft, then U.S. Army 1st Lt. Arthur G. Ecklund, radioed Phan Rang airbase to
report his location, but contact was lost soon after. An extensive, three-day search and rescue
effort began, but no evidence of a crash was found. Hostile threats in the area precluded further
In 1984, a former member of the Vietnamese Air Force turned over to a U.S. official
human remains that he said represented one of two U.S. pilots whose aircraft was shot down.
In 1994 a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team, led by the Joint
POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed two Vietnamese citizens regarding the
incident. The witnesses said the aircraft crashed on a mountainside, the pilots died and were
buried at the site. They said two other men were sent to the site a few days later to bury the
pilots. The team excavated the crash site described by the witnesses and found aircraft wreckage.
No human remains were found.
In 2000, the remains turned over in 1984 were identified as Ecklund’s.
In 2001, a Vietnamese national living in California turned over to U.S. officials human
remains that he said were recovered at a site where two U.S. pilots crashed. These remains were
identified in 2007 as Jefferson's.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from
JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and
dental comparisons in identifying Jefferson’s remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing
Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.