U.S. Air Force Reserve Capt. Joseph Smith has now been accounted for.
On April 4, 1971, Smith was the pilot of a single-seat F-100D aircraft as the leader in a flight of two aircraft on a combat mission over Cambodia. While making a pass over the target, the pilot of the other aircraft noted white vapor streaming from the left wing of Smith's aircraft. Smith's aircraft crashed a half mile from the target. The other pilot reported that he did not see any ejection from Smith's aircraft and no beepers were heard. The following day, an aerial search revealed aircraft wreckage over a large area, however no remains were observed. Due to intense enemy activity in the area, ground forces could not attempt a recovery operation. Smith was declared missing in action as of April 4, 1971.
U.S. and Kingdom of Cambodia teams, with the assistance of the U.S. Embassy's POW/MIA specialists, investigated the loss from 1996 until 2016. During subsequent excavations of the crash site in Kampong Thom Province, teams recovered possible osseous remains and wreckage associated with an F-100D aircraft.
DNA and laboratory analysis was used in the identification of his remains.
The support from the Kingdom of Cambodia was vital to the success of this recovery.
Interment services are pending.
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