6/20/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling of Phoenix was buried June 15 at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. There will be a group burial honoring Walling and fellow crew member, Maj. Aado Kommendant of Lakewood, N.J., at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 8 -- the 46th anniversary of the crash that took their lives.
On Aug. 8, 1966, Walling and Kommendant were flying an F-4C aircraft that crashed while on a close air support mission over Song Be Province, Vietnam. Other Americans in the area reported seeing the aircraft crash and no parachutes were deployed. Search and rescue efforts were not successful in the days following the crash.
In 1992, a joint United States-Socialist Republic of Vietnam team investigated the crash site and interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who had recovered aircraft pieces from the site. In 1994, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered a metal identification tag, bearing Walling's name, and other military equipment. In 2010, the site was excavated again. Human remains and additional evidence were recovered.
Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence along with forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA that matched Walling's living sister, in the identification of the 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.
(Courtesy of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Public Affairs.)
6/23/2012 11:16:11 PM ET For nearly 54 years now we have been teaching the importance of honor pride and respect to Civil Air Patrol Cadets. In 2004 we presented the first ever Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in memory of those who did not return. As a former Air Policeman who was involved in ceremonies for lost airmen I feel it my responsibility to pass this knowledge on to young men and women who may serve in the USAF. If you could have seen the reaction of civilians as we traveled to Washington you would realize we were carrying the respect and pride of hundreds of everyday people we met. The reaction of former USAF members and those from other services was disbelief that we were actually teaching youngsters the heritage of our founding service. There were tears stammers and problems maintaining their emotions.They would come to rigid attention and give the sharpest salute they ever gave some with tears streaming down their faces.
David Moseley Lt Col. CAP, Leesburg FL
6/22/2012 10:11:29 AM ET Had a Charles Walling POW bracelet, returned it to his son who lives and works here in Tucson.His father and I served in the same outfit during 1966..
Donald MeabonRet.AF E-8, TucsonAz.
6/20/2012 8:19:36 PM ET Welcome home brothers. Rest easy now.