Three areas in Vietnam previously closed off to POW/MIA investigations will now be available for searching, according to an announcement made by Vietnamese Defense Minister Phoung Quang Thanh, following a meeting in Vietnam with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
The U.S. Defense Department reports the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s Detachment 2 is in charge of searching for Prisoners of War and service members Missing In Action from the Vietnam War. The Detachment, based in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, has conducted 107 field searches so far.
Of the three new sites now open to the Detachment for searching:
The first site is in Quang Binh province and involves the crash of an Air Force F-4C Phantom II jet in 1967 with two personnel aboard. Detachment specialists located the site in 2008, but now they will be allowed to examine it, Ward said.
The second site is in Kontum province and involves the loss of an Army private first class in January 1968 during the Tet Offensive.
The third site is in Quang Tri province and involves the loss of a Marine F-4J Wild Weasel aircraft. One of the crew of two punched out of the aircraft and was rescued.
The Pentagon estimates 1,284 Americans remain missing in Vietnam.