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Old 04-28-2005, 02:02 PM
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Default Vietnam War Missing in Action Servicemen Identified


NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense

No. 358-05
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Apr 13, 2005
Media Contact: (703)697-5131
Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711

Vietnam War Missing in Action Servicemen Identified


The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced
today that the remains of two U.S. Army officers, missing in action from the
Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with
full military honors.



They are Col. Sheldon J. Burnett of Pelham, N.H., and Warrant Officer
Randolph J. Ard of West Pensacola, Fla. Burnett is to be buried in Arlington
National Cemetery on Wednesday. Ard was buried last month in Alabama.



On March 7, 1971, Ard flew his OH-58A "Kiowa" helicopter from South
Vietnam to transport three passengers, including Burnett, to an area on the
Vietnam-Laos border. As the helicopter approached a landing zone, it was hit by
enemy antiaircraft fire and crashed in Savannakhet Province, Laos. Two of the
passengers survived the crash and evaded capture as enemy forces attacked. When
they reached friendly lines, the two reported that Burnett and Ard were still alive
but badly injured.



After 11 days of heavy resistance, South Vietnamese ground forces
reached the crash site but found no trace of the missing men or any graves.



Between 1989 and 1996, joint U.S.-Lao teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted five separate field investigations which met
with negative results. Then in 2002, U.S. specialists interviewed four former
North Vietnamese soldiers, three of which had seen the bodies of the two
unaccounted-for U.S. officers. The fourth soldier had drawn a sketch of the area
shortly after the incident and all volunteered to assist U.S. investigators in Laos.



In 2003, the four Vietnamese witnesses and local Lao villagers guided
the team to the crash site in Laos where they found some aircraft wreckage but no
human remains. Then in Aug.-Sept. 2004, JPAC and Lao specialists excavated the
crash site and two nearby graves where they found human remains, U.S. military
clothing and personal effects, including Ard's identification tag.



After extensive analysis of the remains and teeth recovered during the
excavation, JPAC scientists identified both Ard and Burnett.



Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,836 are
from the Vietnam War, with 375 of those within the country of Laos. Another 747
Americans have been accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War.



For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to
account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo, or
call (703) 699-1169.
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