< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://echo9er.blogspot.com" > Echo9er: Air Force Officer MIA from Vietnam War is Identified

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Air Force Officer MIA from Vietnam War is Identified

What a way to start the Blog Posting Day.

Another "Good News" Story. After almost 40 years, the family, friends and comrades for Lieutant Colonel Darel T. Leetun can close a chapter and open another.

LTC Leeetun went missing in September, 1966 when his plane came under enemy fire and was shot down in North Viet Nam. There was no emergency beacon signal and no parachute observed.

Welcome home LTC Leetun and may God Bless you and yours.

DoD Release #: 656-05

Air Force Officer MIA from Vietnam War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/MIA 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.

He is Air Force Lt. Col. Darel D. Leetun of Hettinger, N.D. Leetun will be buried with full military honors July 8 at Arlington National Cemetery.

On Sept. 17, 1966, Leetun led a bombing mission over Lang Son province, North Vietnam when his F-105D ‘Thunderchief’ aircraft was hit by enemy fire. Other pilots in the flight observed the aircraft crash, but did not receive emergency beeper signals nor observe a parachute.

Vietnamese and U.S. specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted three investigations between 1991 and 1995 as they sought information on Leetun’s crash site. During one of the investigations, Vietnamese villagers led investigators to a hillside location where human remains were found. Additional site investigations by a Vietnam team and a JPAC team in 1999 and 2004 respectively yielded no new evidence.

JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains as those of Leetun.

Of those Americans unaccounted-for 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 Vietnam 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 website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

News story here.