The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and
will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Cpl. Jim E. Moshier, U.S. Marine Corps, of Bakersfield, Calif. He will be buried
Wednesday in Bakersfield.
On June 11, 1967, Moshier was one of 11 passengers on board a CH-46A Sea Knight
helicopter that was inserting forces into Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, when the aircraft
was struck by enemy ground fire and crashed. Pilots from two nearby helicopters saw the crash
and reported that none of the men on board could have survived. Aircraft flew over the site for
several hours, but saw no survivors. A ground patrol attempted to access the site the next day, but
could not because of the large concentration of enemy forces in the area. Two weeks later, a
reconnaissance patrol was within 25 meters of the crash site, but extensive enemy activity
prevented the team from approaching closer.
Between 1993 and 1994, U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted two surveys of the site, and
interviewed several Vietnamese citizens who said they witnessed the crash. Two of the citizens
claimed to have seen bone fragments while scavenging the site years earlier. The teams found
small pieces of wreckage, but no human remains.
In May 2005, Vietnamese officials notified U.S. officials that possible human remains
were present at a district security compound in Quang Tri Province. The Vietnamese reported
they confiscated the remains and other items, including Moshier’s identification tag, from a
Vietnamese citizen in 1996. The remains were then buried in the security compound, but the ID
tag and other items had supposedly been lost over the years. Later that month, a U.S./S.R.V. team
excavated the secondary burial site in the security compound and recovered a box containing
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 Moshier’s remains. Remains from one of the other servicemembers on board the
aircraft, Pfc. James E. Widener, U.S. Marine Corps, were identified in August 2006.
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.