Investigators Find Possible Remains of Missing Americans
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ U.S. military investigators have unearthed the possible remains of at least six missing American servicemen in a search that ended today.
Vietnamese citizens handed over physical remains of what could be two or more other Americans unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, said Air Force Maj. Lili Dawidowicz, of the U.S. MIA office in Hanoi.
Forensic experts will analyze the remains in Hanoi and send them to an Army laboratory in Hawaii for possible identification. The U.S. Defense Department lists 1,614 Americans as missing in Vietnam.
American troops digging alongside villagers at six aircraft crash sites in former North Vietnam uncovered physical remains and personal effects, including a penny and part of an eyeglass frame, Dawidowicz said.
In a separate effort, a team of scuba divers found wreckage of what may be a U.S. jet that crashed in the Tonkin Gulf off the northern coast of Vietnam. Divers will continue until Nov. 21 to look for aircraft wreckage and clues to the fate of missing airmen at two other undersea locations in the same area, Dawidowicz said.
The completed field search is the 38th in a series of joint operations that Americans and Vietnamese began in 1988.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Vietnam in August based on what President Clinton said was good cooperation from Hanoi in efforts to resolve the remaining cases of missing Americans.
More than half of these servicemen were killed in action, but their remains were not recovered, Defense Department officials say. More than 400 others went missing at sea, they say.
A total of 2,170 Americans are unaccounted for in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and China.