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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 are being returned to his family for burial at Arlington National Cemetery today.
He is U.S. Air Force Colonel James L. Carter, born in Johnson City, Tenn. His military
home of record is Pasadena, Calif.
On February 3, 1966, Carter was the aircraft commander of a C-123 Provider aircraft
which had taken off from Khe Sanh in South Vietnam on a supply mission to Dong Ha, South
Vietnam. The plane was not seen again, and searches along the flight route did not find a crash
Joint U.S. and Vietnamese teams investigated potential crash sites in Quang Tri Province
on three occasions between 1993 and 1999. They interviewed Vietnamese villagers who took
them to three different crash sites. Only one of the sites revealed wreckage consistent with that
of a C-123 aircraft. Several of the informants said that the bodies of the crew and passengers
were buried near the site where the aircraft crashed into a mountain in 1966.
Specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted four
excavations at the site between 2000 and 2003. During these four excavations, they recovered
human remains, personal effects and other debris. Laboratory analysis of the remains by forensic
scientists at JPAC led to Carter’s identification. Comparison of dental records with the
recovered remains was a key factor in the identifications.
Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,833 are from the Vietnam
War, with 1,397 of those within the country of Vietnam. Another 750 Americans have been
accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the war. Of the Americans identified, 524 are
from within Vietnam.
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.