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 with full military honors.
Navy Lt. William E. Swanson, 27, of Zimmerman, Minn., will be buried June 11, at Fort
Snelling in Minneapolis. On April 11, 1965, Swanson was the pilot of an A-1H Skyraider aircraft
that crashed while on an armed reconnaissance mission over Khammouan Province, Laos. Other
Americans in the area reported seeing his aircraft being struck by enemy fire and no parachute
was deployed prior to the crash. Recovery efforts were not possible due to enemy presence in the
days following the crash.
In October 2000, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team was
investigating a different crash in Khammouan Province. Local villagers reported an aircraft crash
site nearby, in the mountains north of the town of Boualapha. The team surveyed the site and
found small pieces of aircraft wreckage, and unexploded bombs and rockets of the same type that
Swanson’s A-1H had been carrying.
In 2009, a joint U.S./L.P.D.R. recovery team excavated the site and found material
evidence and military equipment. In 2010, another U.S./L.P.D.R. team completed the excavation
and recovered human remains and additional evidence. Two data plates, with numbers matching
Swanson’s aircraft, were found at the site.
Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used circumstantial and
material evidence to identify Swanson’s 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) 699-1420.