Marine Corps Reserve 1st Lt. William C. Ryan, missing from the Vietnam War, has now been accounted for.
On May 11, 1969, Ryan was the radar intercept officer of an F-4B aircraft, for the Marine Fighter Attack Force 115, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force Pacific, on a combat mission over Savannakhet Province, Laos. While pulling out of a bombing pass, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire. The pilot lost control and called several times for his radar officer to eject, but received no response. The pilot ejected before the aircraft crashed, and other members of the flight only witnessed one parachute leave the aircraft. The location of the crash site precluded a search and recovery effort, but the pilot was rescued. Ryan was declared deceased as of May 11, 1969.
From January 1990 until May 2012, joint teams with the U.S., Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Vietnamese Office for Research and Investigative Teams interviewed numerous witnesses to the crash, gathering information regarding where Ryan may have died.
From May 2012 until January 2016, joint teams conducted six excavations of a crash site near Ban Alang Noi, recovering life support items, aircraft wreckage and possible human remains. On Feb. 17, 2016, the remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
Laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence were used in the identification of his remains.
Interment services are pending.