A "FAC" Comes Home... [Archive] - Glock Talk


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05-21-2004, 07:58
This is just one of those stories...

Officials return Vietnam War remains to family
5/19/2004 - HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii. (AFPN) -- The remains of an Airman missing in action from the Vietnam War were returned to his family May 18 for burial. They have been identified as Col. Lester Holmes, from Plainfield, Iowa, who was missing since May 22, 1967.

Senior Master Sgt. Roger Holmes, a first sergeant with the 36th Aerial Port Squadron at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., and Tommy Holmes, of Payson, Ariz., accepted their father’s remains during a ceremony at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command here.

Colonel Holmes will be laid to rest May 22 with full military honors in Nashua, Iowa.

“For the last 37 years, my dad was never dead to me -- he was missing,” said Mr. Holmes, the youngest of Colonel Holmes’ three sons, who wears a silver MIA bracelet with his father’s name on it on his right wrist. “(On May 22), I’ll never wear this particular (MIA) bracelet again; I’ll put it in my dad’s coffin. But once I put that one away, I will wear another one with another name on it -- the issue is that important to me.”

About 15 Airmen from Sergeant Holmes’ squadron stood in formation as Colonel Holmes’ remains were marched to a hearse. Six of them served as pallbearers.

Sergeant Holmes, trying to hold back his emotions, called the Airmen to attention as his father was about to be returned to the family.

“It’s hard,” he said. “Am I supposed to be the rough and rugged first sergeant? Or am I supposed to be a very emotional son?”

Colonel Holmes was flying a forward air-control mission over Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam, when his 0-1E “Bird Dog” aircraft was struck by enemy fire. Another forward air controller in the area saw Colonel Holmes’ aircraft spiral toward the ground, but there were no emergency radio beacons picked up for the next several days. Enemy activity in the area prevented a search and rescue operation, officials said.

During two investigations in 1991 and 1997, a team of U.S. and Vietnamese specialists interviewed villagers in the province and surveyed three crash sites near where Holmes’ plane was reported lost. The searches came up empty.

In October 1997, Vietnamese officials gave the United States results of an investigation in which they confirmed specifics of the shoot down, though documented witnesses could not place the exact location of the crash. Another team interviewed a retired Vietnamese general officer who recalled witnessing on radar the downing of the aircraft. He claimed to have visited the crash site but could offer only a general location.

In late July 1998, aircraft debris and human remains were recovered during a full-scale excavation of one of the crash sites first investigated in 1991. Also, eyeglass lens fragments found at the site were the same prescription issued to Colonel Holmes.

The recovered remains and other circumstantial evidence were identified by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command officials Nov. 25, 2003, who also led the field operations in Vietnam.

More than 88,000 Americans are missing from all conflicts. Of these, 1,859 are from the Vietnam War.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Wendy Beauchaine)

More info...

Bill Powell
05-23-2004, 09:35
in korea we used find remains occasionally. in one case not a hundred yards from our compound fence, rain run-off washed sand off the remains of a missing soldier. uniform was history, naturally, but a lot of the web gear was still intact, and the dog tags were still around the neck. we at the post office shipped remains for graves registration, so we handled all the newly discovered MIA's.

05-24-2004, 16:37
Welcome home LTC. Holmes!! ;?

Come November elections let us remember that if John Kerry had had his way, the effort to locate these true heroes would have never been taken. Let's hope they keep looking until we get all of our MIA home one way or another.

05-28-2004, 19:01
;? ;w

05-29-2004, 12:19