Sat, Jun 21, 2008
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)
has announced that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in
action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be
returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Lt. Cmdr. Ralph C. Bisz, U.S. Navy, of Miami Shores, Fla.
His funeral arrangements are being set by his family.
On Aug. 4, 1967, Bisz took off in an A-4E Skyhawk from the USS
Oriskany to bomb an enemy petroleum depot near Haiphong, Vietnam.
As he neared the target, his aircraft was struck by an enemy
surface-to-air missile and crashed near the town of Hai Duong in
Hai Hung Province. No parachute was observed and no emergency
beeper signal was received.
In 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) repatriated
to the United States human remains from Hai Hung Province, which
they attributed to Bisz on the basis of their historical records of
the shootdown as well as documentation of his burial.
Between 1988 and 2004, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams, led by the Joint
POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted several investigations
of the incident and surveyed the crash site. A team found aircraft
wreckage at the site which was consistent with an A-4E Skyhawk.
Teams also interviewed witnesses who recalled the crash and burial
of the pilot in a nearby cemetery. Additionally, one witness
indicated that he oversaw the exhumation of the American's remains
from the cemetery, and their turnover to district officials.
Between 1993 and 2004, 25 samples from the remains turned over
in 1988 were submitted to several laboratories for mitochondrial
DNA (mtDNA) analysis, but yielded inconclusive results. In 2007,
the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used refined DNA
collection techniques and succeeded in obtaining verifiable mtDNA.
Using forensic identification tools, circumstantial evidence, mtDNA
analysis and dental comparisons, scientists from JPAC identified
the remains as those of Bisz.
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