Airman Missing In Action From The Vietnam War Is Identified (Morgan)

Release No: 06-025 Sept. 8, 2006 PRINT | E-MAIL

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 Major Burke H. Morgan, U.S. Air Force, of Manitou Springs, Colo. He was buried beside his wife, Mary, at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Thursday. The service there coincided with the 45th reunion of his graduating class at the academy.

On August 22, 1967, Morgan and a fellow officer took off from Nakhon Phanom air base, Thailand, in their A-26A Invader on an armed reconnaissance mission over Laos. The crew had radio contact on their mission shortly after midnight, but they were neither seen nor heard from again. Electronic and visual searches of their last-reported location in Xiangkhoang Province, as well as over the planned flight path, did not locate the missing aircraft.

A joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic team traveled to the province in 1993 to interview three informants about various crash sites. The men recalled the 1967 crash, as well as the burial of the crew members. They also stated that one of the bodies was disinterred by unknown persons in 1986.

Four years later, another joint U.S.-Lao team resurveyed the original crash site, and requested that the Lao government undertake a unilateral investigation. The Lao government was able to confirm that some remains were exhumed in the mid-1980s, and promised to continue its investigation.

Then in 2002, Lao government officials reported that the remains had been turned over to a Lao official in 1987 or 1988, but that the official had since died. His driver, however, had possession of those remains and had been holding them in safekeeping awaiting directions from authorities.

Scientists of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting command were able to identify those remains using a variety of forensic methods including analysis of skeletal and dental 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.