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 returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Maj. Charles L. Bifolchi, U.S. Air Force, of Quincy, Mass. He will be buried
on Oct. 27 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On Jan. 8, 1968, Bifolchi and a fellow crewmember were flying an armed
reconnaissance mission against enemy targets in Kon Tum Province, South Vietnam,
when their RF-4C aircraft disappeared. A U.S. Army helicopter crew found their aircraft
wreckage soon after first light the next day. Search efforts continued for four days;
however, enemy activity in the area, combined with the steep terrain and high winds at the
crash site, precluded the recovery of the crewmen.
Between 1993 and 2000, U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by
the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted two surveys of an area that
was believed to be Bifolchi’s crash site. One team interviewed two Vietnamese citizens
who turned over human remains they claimed to have recovered at the site. Another team
found wreckage consistent with Bifolchi’s aircraft.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists
from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial
DNA from a known maternal relative 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)