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 Cmdr. Peter Mongilardi, Jr., U.S. Navy, of Haledon, N.J. He will be buried on April
11 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C.
On June 25, 1965, Mongilardi departed the USS Coral Sea in his A-4C Skyhawk on an
armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. His flight encountered bad weather and
enemy fire over Thanh Hoa Province, causing the wingman to lose visual and radio contact with
Mongilardi. Contact was never re-established and the aircraft failed to return to the carrier.
In 1993, a joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) archival team, led by the
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), obtained information concerning the crash while
researching documents, artifacts and photographs at the Central Army Museum in Hanoi. Later
that year, another joint U.S./S.R.V. team conducted an investigation in Thanh Hoa Province. The
team interviewed two local Vietnamese citizens who recalled the crash and said the pilot died in
the impact. The men then led the team to the crash site.
In 1994, another joint team excavated the crash site and recovered human remains and
pilot-related items, including a belt tip, boot heel, pieces of flight boot and other items worn by
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from
JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used nuclear DNA in the
identification of the 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.