Posted at 3:12 p.m., Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Remains of Vietnam servicemen repatriated
Associated PressHANOI, Vietnam Two sets of remains believed to be those of American soldiers killed during the Vietnam War were placed aboard a U.S. military transport plane in central Vietnam today and sent to Hawai'i to be identified, an official said.
The remains, kept in aluminum transfer cases, were draped with American flags as they were carried aboard by uniformed U.S. soldiers at Danang International Airport, said Maj. Jay Rutter, deputy commander of the U.S. MIA office in Vietnam.
"It always makes you proud to see Americans returned home. It never becomes routine; it's an honor to do it," he said by telephone from Danang.
The remains and other material evidence were recovered in central and northern Vietnam last fall by a joint U.S.-Vietnamese search team on a month-long excavation. Once in Hawai'i, experts will conduct testing on the remains to determine their identity.
There are more than 1,800 U.S. servicemen still unaccounted for throughout Southeast Asia from the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975. More than 1,380 are unaccounted for in Vietnam alone.
An estimated 58,000 Americans and 3 million Vietnamese were killed in the war.