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bobdaley

Blind Bat Crew returned

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Airmen Missing From Vietnam War Identified

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

Air Force Col. William H. Mason, Camden, Ark.; Lt. Col. Jerry L. Chambers, Muskogee, Okla.; Maj. William T. McPhail, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Maj. Thomas B. Mitchell, Littleton, Colo.; Chief Master Sgt. John Q. Adam, Bethel, Kan.; Chief Master Sgt. Calvin C. Glover, Steubenville, Ohio; Chief Master Sgt. Thomas E. Knebel, Midway, Ark.; Chief Master Sgt. Melvin D. Rash, Yorktown, Va.; and Master Sgt. Gary Pate, Brooks, Ga., were buried as a group today in Arlington National Cemetery. The individually identified remains of each airman were previously returned to their families for burial.

On May 22, 1968, these men were aboard a C-130A Hercules on an evening flare mission over northern Salavan Province, Laos. Fifteen minutes after the aircraft made a radio call, the crew of another U.S. aircraft observed a large ground fire near the last known location of Mason's aircraft. Search and rescue attempts were not initiated due to heavy antiaircraft fire in the area.

Analysts from DPMO developed case leads with information spanning more than 40 years. Through interviews with eyewitnesses and research in the National Archives, several locations in Laos and South Vietnam were pinpointed as potential crash sites. Between 1989 and 2008, teams from Laos People's Democratic Republic and the Vietnam, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, pursued leads, interviewed villagers, and conducted 10 field investigations and four excavations in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. They recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.

Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of the crewmembers' families – as well as dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

Since late 1973, the remains of 927 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been accounted-for and returned to their families. With the accounting of these airmen, 1,719 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703- 699-1169.

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Bob, thanks for updating us on the return of the Blind Bat Crew. These Heroes did a fantastic job for all of us and should be welcomed back by all of America. I wish I could attend all of their funerals personnally and thank their families. Thanks to all of my Herky Bird brethren for your service and sacrifice.

Wil

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They have been in my thoughts for all these years, and finally have been returned home to their place of honor. Brave young men all. May they rest in peace.

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MAJ. William T. Mcphail was from my home town, That was the frist C-130 lost over on in Laos Tail # 56-0477 flying with the 41th TAS Ubon, AB, Thailand.

God Bless the Familes of these Brave Men may they find some Peace Now.

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The news release is misleading. Identifiable remains were returned to the families. Calvin Glover's remains were buried at Arlington on May 19. His niece, Leanna Hand, has pictures of the service on her Facebook Page. One other crewmember was also buried at Arlington. A "group burial" was held this past Friday (June 11) of unidentifiable material found at the site. Roy Spencer, who was in the 21st 68-70, was at the funeral along with one other pilot (first name Hal, can't remember his last name) who was close friends with Tom Mitchell, the copilot. Roy lives in Arlington and his apartment overlooks the cemetery and the Air Force Memorial. I was there only a couple of months ago and was impressed by his view. Roy wrote a moving Email about the experience which I have shared on Facebook. Roy advise me that there will be a burial there this week for the remains of a Spectre crew.

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I believe Melvin Rash was Buried at Arlington earlier, as well. Mel was in the 346th at Dyess straight from Shepard LM school ~dec '66 before pcs to Naha...

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I'm not sure who the other one was that was buried at Arlington. Someone told me it was Adam but it could have been Rash. There evidently were few identifiable pieces due to lack of DNA. Tom Mitchell's USAFA ring was found and the family accepted that. A piece of bone was matched to Calvin Glover. Roy Spencer went to the service and sent out a very moving Email. If you're on Facebook, I posted it as a note. Roy flew Blind Bat a few months after this crew was lost. I'd like to know what Tom Knebel was doing on the airplane. There used to be a site that showed all Vietnam casualties with AFSC/MOS and his was aircraft instrument repairman. There were three loadmasters on the airplane so he wasn't on there as "an extra kicker." The POW/MIA sites show him as a "crew chief" and the 8th TFW site lists him as a passenger. Several family members are on Facebook and have posted pictures of the burials. The Spectre burial is later this week.

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I want to say that Pete Dernbach told me that Tom Knebel volunteered to take that flight for him. I think Pete was a crew chief. I have sent Pete e mails but none have been returned.

Bob

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I imagine he was on the flight in order to collect combat pay and tax exemption. I was at Naha from 1968 until 1971 and made three trips to Ubon. Almost all of the maintenance troops would make one flight a month to get the combat pay and tax exemption same as some flight crews used to take a down and back to just so they could get the same in Vietnam.

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GARY PATE AND I WENT TO TECH SCHOOL (SHEPPARD) TOGETHER. GOOD FOR HIS FAMILY TO HAVE SOME CLOSURE AFTER SO LONG.. REST IN PEACE BROTHER

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