The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced Dec. 9 that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, has been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
U.S. Air Force Col. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr. of New Haven, Conn., will be buried Dec. 13, at Arlington National Cemetery. On Dec. 13, 1968, McGouldrick was on a night strike mission when his B-57E Canberra aircraft collided with another aircraft over Savannakhet Province, Laos. McGouldrick was never seen again and was listed as missing in action.
After the war in July 1978, a military review board amended his official status from missing in action to presumed killed in action.
Between 1993 and 2004, joint U.S/Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams attempted to locate the crash site with no success. On April 8, 2007, a joint team located a possible crash site near the village of Keng Keuk, Laos.
From October 2011 to May 2012, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams excavated the site three times and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage consistence with a B-57E aircraft.
In the identification of McGouldrick, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as mitochondrial DNA – which matched McGouldrick’s great nephew and niece.
Today there are 1,644 American service members that are still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.