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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 Lt. Michael T. Newell, U.S. Navy, of Ellenville, N.Y. He will be buried tomorrow
in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On Dec. 14, 1966, Newell was flying an F-8E Crusader aircraft as wingman in a flight of
two on a combat air patrol over North Vietnam. During the mission, the flight leader saw a
surface-to-air missile explode between the two aircraft. Although Newell initially reported that
he has survived the blast, his aircraft gradually lost power and crashed near the border between
Nghe An and Thanh Hoa provinces in south central North Vietnam. The flight leader did not see
a parachute nor did he hear an emergency beacon signal. He stayed in the area and determined
that Newell did not escape from the aircraft prior to the crash.
Between 1993 and 2002, joint U.S./Socialist republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by
the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), visited the area of the incident five times to
conduct investigations and survey the crash site. They found pilot-related artifacts and aircraft
wreckage consistent to an F-8 Crusader.
In 2004, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team began excavating the crash site. The team was unable to
complete the recovery and subsequent teams re-visited the site two more times before the
recovery was completed in 2006. As a result, the teams found human remains and additional
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from
JPAC and also used dental comparisons 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.