The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial.
Army Specialist Lawrence L. Aldrich will be buried in his home town of Fort Worth, Texas tomorrow.
On May 6, 1968, Aldrich was a member of a search-and-clear mission in Binh Dinh Province in what was then South Vietnam. He was last seen with two other Americans engaged in a battle with enemy forces while manning a M-60 machine gun position. An air strike was called in, but one of the bombs inadvertently landed on Aldrich's position, killing the three soldiers. Members of his unit later recovered the remains of the two other men, but Aldrich could not be found.
In July 1992, a joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam team traveled to the province to investigate the loss. They interviewed a local citizen who remembered a large ground battle in the area in May or June 1968. He took the team to a location where he indicated the remains were buried, but an excavation in 1994 found no evidence of a grave or remains.
Vietnamese officials unilaterally investigated the case in 2006 and interviewed two villagers who recalled finding a body of an American after the battle and burying it where it lay. A second joint investigation in 2007, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, recommended another excavation based on the information provided by the Vietnamese.
The excavation in March 2009 unearthed human remains and other non-biological evidence. The identification of the remains was confirmed by matching the remains with Aldrich's dental records.
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.