Vietnam/USA — Air Force MIAS from Vietnam War are Identified

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

They are Capt. Peter H. Chap­man, II, Cen­ter­burg, Ohio; Tech. Sgt. Allen J. Avery, Auburn, Mass.; Tech. Sgt. Roy D. Prater, Tif­fin, Ohio; and Sgt. James H. Alley, Plan­ta­tion, Fla., all U.S. Air Force.

Prater is to be buried in Colum­bia City, Ind., on June 19. Oth­er buri­als are being sched­uled indi­vid­u­al­ly by the fam­i­lies of the air­men.

On April 6, 1972, six air­men were fly­ing a com­bat search and res­cue mis­sion in their HH-53C Super Jol­ly Green Giant heli­copter over Quang Tri Province in South Viet­nam when they were hit by ene­my ground fire and crashed. Joint U.S. – Social­ist Repub­lic of Viet­nam (S.R.V.) field inves­ti­ga­tions from 1989 to 1992, led by the Joint POW/MIA Account­ing Com­mand (JPAC), yield­ed evi­dence lead­ing to an exca­va­tion at the crash site in 1994 as well as two report­ed bur­ial sites. Team mem­bers recov­ered human remains and per­son­al effects as well as air­craft debris. As a result of these recov­er­ies, all six men on the air­craft were account­ed-for in 1997 and buried as a group at Arling­ton Nation­al Ceme­tery near Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Three were indi­vid­u­al­ly iden­ti­fied at that time. Recent tech­ni­cal advances enabled JPAC to iden­ti­fy addi­tion­al remains to be those of Prater.

Pre­vi­ous­ly, in 1988, the S.R.V. turned over remains they attrib­uted to an Amer­i­can ser­vice­man, how­ev­er, the name did not match any­one lost or miss­ing from the Viet­nam War. The remains were held by JPAC pend­ing improved tech­nol­o­gy which might have facil­i­tat­ed an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion lat­er.

In the mid-2000s, JPAC’s lab­o­ra­to­ry gained increased sci­en­tif­ic capa­bil­i­ty to asso­ciate the 1988 remains to the cor­rect loss. The Armed Forces DNA Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Lab­o­ra­to­ry (AFDIL) test­ed these remains against all those ser­vice­mem­bers who were MIA from the Viet­nam War with neg­a­tive results. In 2009, AFDIL expand­ed its search to make com­par­isons with pre­vi­ous­ly- resolved indi­vid­u­als. As a result of AFDIL’s mito­chon­dr­i­al DNA test­ing, JPAC sci­en­tists deter­mined that these remains were asso­ci­at­ed with four of the six air­men from the 1972 crash.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)