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 soon be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is 1st Lt. James L. Hull, U.S. Air Force, of Lubbock, Texas. He will be buried on Nov.
13 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On Feb. 19, 1971, Hull and a fellow crew member were flying a mission near the
Laos/Vietnam border when their O-2A Skymaster crashed. Both men died, but Hull’s body was
buried in the wreckage and could not be recovered because of hostile enemy action.
Between 1993 and 1997, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) led three
investigations with U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, and one trilateral
investigation with a Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team. During the first
investigation, the team interviewed a Vietnamese citizen who produced human remains and an
identification tag for Hull that he claimed to have recovered from a crash site located just inside
Laos. The joint team was not allowed to cross the border and the investigation was suspended.
The Vietnamese turned over the bone fragment to U.S. officials, but the ID tag’s whereabouts are
Additional investigations yielded some information concerning a crash site located just
inside the Laotian border. The S.R.V. allowed a Vietnamese national to walk to the purported
crash site and collect a fragment of the wreckage. Based on the location, type of aircraft and
retrieved wreckage, analysts determined it was Hull’s crash site.
In May 2006, a joint U.S./L.P.D.R. team excavated the site where they recovered
additional evidence and human remains.
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) 699-1169.