Air Force Officers MIA From Vietnam War Are Identified (Lewis, Baker)

Release No: 05-008 July 26, 2005 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Col. James W. Lewis, of Marshall, Tex. and Maj. Arthur D. Baker, of San Antonio, Tex., both U.S. Air Force. Lewis is to be buried in Marshall on August 13, and Baker is to be buried in Longview, Tex. on July 29.

On April 7, 1965, Lewis and Baker led a flight of four B-57B Canberra aircraft on an interdiction mission over Xiangkhoang Province, Laos. After their B-57 initiated an attack run into heavy clouds, Lewis radioed his plane was outbound away from the target. There was no further radio or visual contact with the crew. Although the cause of the crash is unknown, enemy fire and bad weather are believed to be contributing factors. Search and rescue missions failed to yield any evidence of the two men or their aircraft.

In July 1997, a joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic team interviewed several witnesses, two of whom led the team to the crash site. Four excavations led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) from 2003 to 2004 yielded human remains and crewrelated artifacts.

JPAC and Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab scientists used mitochondrial DNA to identify the remains as those of Lewis and Baker.

Of the 88,000 Americans missing from all conflicts, 1,827 are from the Vietnam War, with 372 of those within the country of Laos. Another 756 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the Vietnam War. Of the Americans identified, 197 are from losses in Laos.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.