Airman Missing in Action Since Vietnam War Identified

Defense Department officials announced last week that they have identified the remains of 1st Lt. David A. Thorpe of Seneca Falls, N.Y., an airman missing in action since the Vietnam War. They are returning his remains to his family for burial with full military honors Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery. Thorpe was one of five airmen aboard a C-130E transport on Oct. 3, 1966, that crashed for unknown reasons about 40 miles west of Nha Trang AB, South Vietnam, after departing from Tan Son Nhut Air Base for Nha Trang. Although rescue personnel found remains at a crash site eight days later and DOD forensic anthropologists received more remains between 1984 and 1996, they were unable at first to make an individual identification of Thorpe. Only with the advent of improved DNA testing procedures years later were they able to identify his remains.