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Air Force Col. Joseph Christiano, Col. Derrell B. Jeffords, Lt. Col. Dennis L. Eilers, Chief Master Sgt. William K. Colwell, Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger, Chief Master Sgt. Larry C. Thornton

Airmen Missing from Vietnam War Identified

            The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of six servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were recently identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

            Air Force Col. Joseph Christiano of Rochester, N.Y.; Col. Derrell B. Jeffords of Florence, S.C.; Lt. Col. Dennis L. Eilers of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chief Master Sgt. William K. Colwell of Glen Cove, N.Y.; Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger of Lebanon, Ore.; and Chief Master Sgt. Larry C. Thornton of Idaho Falls, Idaho, will be buried as a group in a single casket representing the entire crew on July 9 in Arlington National Cemetery.  On Dec. 24, 1965, the crew was aboard an AC-47D aircraft nicknamed “Spooky” that failed to return from a combat strike mission in southern Laos.  After a “mayday” signal was sent, all contact was lost with the crew.  Following the crash, two days of search efforts for the aircraft and crew were unsuccessful.

In 1995, a joint United States-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team investigated a crash in Savannakhet Province, Laos.  Local villagers recalled seeing a two-propeller aircraft, similar to an AC-47D, crash in December 1965.  A local man found aircraft wreckage in a nearby field while farming, and led the team to that location.  The team recovered small pieces of aircraft wreckage at that time and recommended further investigative visits.

Joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. investigation and recovery teams re-visited the site four times from 1999 to 2001.  They conducted additional interviews with locals, recovered military equipment, and began an excavation.  No human remains were recovered, so the excavation was suspended pending additional investigation.

In 2010, joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. recovery teams again excavated the crash site.  The team recovered human remains, personal items, and military equipment.  Three additional excavations in 2011 recovered additional human remains and evidence.

Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental records and circumstantial evidence in the identification of their remains.

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 703-699-1420.

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About Posted by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer. In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials. Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat. Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republicanand The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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