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Servicemen Missing from Vietnam War Identified
United States Department of Defense ^ | January 9, 2004 | DoD Media Release

Posted on 01/09/2004 12:41:07 PM PST by Calpernia

Two servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families for burial.

They are Navy Lt. j.g. Robert A. Clark of North Hollywood, Calif., and another officer whose name will not be released at the request of his family.

On Jan. 10, 1973, the two took off in an A-6A aircraft from USS Midway on a mission to suppress surface-to-air missiles in North Vietnam. Near the target area in Nghe An Province in North Vietnam, aircrew reported an estimated 15 surface-to-air missiles fired, as well as numerous antiaircraft rounds. Clark’s A-6A was not seen again.

Attempts to contact the crew for four days through radio and visual searches were unsuccessful.

In July 1991, U.S. researchers discovered in a Vietnamese military museum a data plate which correlated to the downed aircraft. Later, in another museum, they discovered photos of a crash site which also correlated to the missing aircraft. U.S. researchers examined Vietnamese wartime records which confirmed the downing of that aircraft in Nghe An Province in January 1973.

Between 1993 and 2002, U.S. researchers and joint U.S.-Vietnam teams conducted four field investigations and one excavation. During one of their field visits, a witness to the 1973 crash turned over remains he claimed to have recovered at the site. During the excavation in 2002, additional remains were recovered.

The remains were identified in 2003 by the Central Identification Laboratory through skeletal analysis and mitochondrial DNA. Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,871 are from the Vietnam War.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: a6a; cil; dna; ltclark; mia; nghe; ussmidway; vietnam; welcomehome
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To: snopercod
Thanks for sharing that personal note...
41 posted on 01/12/2004 9:30:50 AM PST by in the Arena (1st Lt. James W. Herrick, Jr., - MIA - Laos - 27 October 69 "Fire Fly 33")
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To: snopercod; SAMWolf
Update on this story.

DNA brings closure
Tonya Clark of Lynnwood lost her husband in Vietnam in 1973. Recently she could finally put him to rest.

By Pamela Brice
Herald Writer

LYNNWOOD -- Tonya Clark wondered for more than 30 years what had happened to her husband, Alan, who never returned from Vietnam.

Finally, thanks to DNA identification, she now knows.

His remains were finally found, and last month, on the 31st anniversary of his disappearance, Clark and 85 percent of his squadron (150 people) attended his memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Clark's home is accented with framed prayers and military insignia, in memory of her late husband and in honor of her son, who is following in his footsteps.

Lt. Alan "Arlo" Clark, a Navy bombardier-navigator, was stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station when in spring 1972 he was called to war. His wife was pregnant with their first child.

Alan Clark's roommate on the USS Midway was pilot Jim Horsley.

"When we were deployed, Tonya and my wife were both pregnant, and we had a farewell dinner in San Francisco before the ship sailed," said Horsley, of Lake Forest Park.

Their jobs were to fly combat missions over North Vietnam, suppressing surface-to-air missiles. Clark flew more than 200 missions.

In the early hours of Jan. 10, 1973, just a few weeks before the war ended, Clark and his pilot launched their A-6 Intruder on a single-plane strike against a surface-to-air missile site 20 miles north of Vinh, North Vietnam.

"My navigator had given them our map, because we had flown that target the night before," Horsley said.

"They didn't come back."

Horsley was scheduled for a 5 a.m. mission that day. It quickly became a search-and-rescue mission.

"We launched at sunrise, but it was so clouded and the weather was so bad, we flew over the target, but got no range of the (emergency radio) beacon," he said.

John Koch of Edmonds was a bombardier-navigator like Alan Clark. He remembers flying search missions that day.

"It was devastating to us," Koch said. "This was the first airplane I could remember that we lost -- the first combat loss, where someone went out and never came back."

Horsley said the crews could only guess what happened.

"We had flown there, and with all the anti-aircraft and missile glows racing past the airplane, it's like a psychedelic effect and very disorienting. Based on that, and the weather, our sense at the time was that maybe they had flown into the ground."

Back on Whidbey Island, Tonya Clark remembers attending a memorial for a crew member when she went into labor with her son, Tad, on Oct. 31, 1972.

"During that memorial service, I felt so bad for the wife who lost her husband," she said, not knowing she would soon suffer the same fate.

A few months later, she received a visit from the chaplain and the commanding officer's wife.

"They said he was missing in action," she said, adding she was 25 at the time. "I felt shock, disbelief, all of these feelings at the same time. You know in the back of your mind this could happen, because your husband's in the military, for goodness sakes. But you can't imagine it's true."

Clark said her religious faith and her new role as mother helped her deal with the tragedy.

"You have a baby to take care of, so you can't just focus on your woes. You have a human life to concentrate on," she said.

Years went by, and Clark raised her son, who decided at an early age he wanted to be a fighter pilot.

"His father has always been his hero. I was thrilled he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps," she said.

Tad Clark went to King's High School in Shoreline before graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1996. He is now a captain and flies F-16s in Germany.

Meanwhile, Clark never lost hope that her husband would be found.

Recently, he was.

U.S. researchers found photos of a crash scene in a Hanoi museum that provided clues to locate an excavation site. Remains were found.

"It was pretty remarkable," she said. "I was amazed they were able to locate him, and also by the perseverance of our government to try to find those who have fallen in war."

Last month, she, her son and members of Clark's squadron attended his long-awaited memorial.

"It was very moving for all of us all, because it put closure on our lives," said Koch, who also took his oldest son and wife.

The memorial became a reunion for the squadron.

"When we got back from the war, everyone scattered," Horsley said. "Arlington was an amazing experience. This was the first time in 31 years the whole group came together."

Tad Clark read a poem he had written about his father, and "there wasn't a dry eye in the chapel," Koch said.

Walking behind the casket to the grave site was memorable as well.

"Arlington National Cemetery is huge, and we walked all the way. The snow was gently falling, and we noticed how quiet it was, like a piece of God hovering over that service. It was just beautiful," Clark said.

Then, the folding of the flag, a 21-gun salute, taps ... "The military really knows how to honor him. It was done so beautifully. And it meant so much," she said.



42 posted on 02/22/2004 3:01:37 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Thanks for the update to this story Snopercod and Snippy.
43 posted on 02/22/2004 3:03:23 PM PST by SAMWolf (Contrary to popular belief Hamas has nothing to do with ham. If you throw ham at them they get angry)
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To: SAMWolf; snopercod
I forgot the link. Here it is and there are pictures there.
44 posted on 02/22/2004 3:04:38 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Calpernia

Now...for the other 1871...it's time they came home!


45 posted on 01/10/2005 6:57:22 AM PST by StarCMC (It's God's job to forgive Bin Laden; it's our job to arrange the meeting.)
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To: snopercod
I'm not sure why I am crying so much over this...hell, it's been 35 years since I've seen him.

BEcause he was your friend. HUGS.

46 posted on 01/10/2005 7:02:20 AM PST by StarCMC (It's God's job to forgive Bin Laden; it's our job to arrange the meeting.)
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To: StarCMC

Wow. Has a year really past since this post? It feels like yesterday. I remember posting it like it was yesterday.

chilling.


47 posted on 01/10/2005 7:04:53 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Calpernia

Valin linked to it this morning and I went and looked...and bawled.


48 posted on 01/10/2005 7:07:44 AM PST by StarCMC (It's God's job to forgive Bin Laden; it's our job to arrange the meeting.)
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To: Calpernia

Welcome home...


49 posted on 01/10/2005 7:15:13 AM PST by in the Arena (James Wayne Herrick, Jr. Captain/US Air Force - MIA - Laos - 27 October 1969)
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To: StarCMC
Great, now I'm getting weepy again...

My other roommate actually drove from LA up to Seattle last year to visit Tonya. She still looks good - just like I remembered her.

This photo is of Tonya, Tad, and Tad's fiance, and was taken at the funeral. I'll leave it up for a day or two..


50 posted on 01/10/2005 7:30:09 AM PST by snopercod (Due to the graphic nature of this tagline, viewer discretion is advised.)
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To: snopercod

I'm sorry - didn't mean to dredge it up again. It's just that I was weepy and I don't even know them.

HUGS!


51 posted on 01/10/2005 10:23:55 AM PST by StarCMC (It's God's job to forgive Bin Laden; it's our job to arrange the meeting.)
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To: snopercod
You cry for him, for yourself, for your youth, for your dreams . . .

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Robert Binyon, 1869-1943
52 posted on 01/10/2005 10:30:21 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: AnAmericanMother; StarCMC; DB
You cry for him, for yourself, for your youth, for your dreams . . .

Very true... and also the life Alan and Tonya could have enjoyed together.

He and I weren't what you might call "close" - he had his friends and I had mine - but still we were roomies and did things together all the time.

I keep thinking of the movie "Flight of the Intruder", where Morg was killed by a fluke shot. It was just so damn pointless...

Anyway, thanks for the poem (a great one which I had not read before), and all of your kind thoughts.

I really need to rummage through my basement and find the picture of Alan with his arm around Tonya sitting in the back of my Datsun pickup. We were all heading out to the sand dunes at Hazard Beach (South of Morro Bay, CA) for a picnic or something.

53 posted on 01/10/2005 1:21:19 PM PST by snopercod (Due to the graphic nature of this tagline, viewer discretion is advised.)
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To: snopercod

The weather is suppose to start clearing up beginning mid Tuesday and hold till at least Sunday.

Take care.

DB


54 posted on 01/10/2005 10:58:53 PM PST by DB ()
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To: Calpernia; SAMWolf; snippy_about_it
I vowed not to come back to FR, but I *had* to come back for this:

Capt. Tad “TC” Clark, a 35th Fighter Squadron pilot from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, has been selected as an Air Force Thunderbird pilot.

Clark, 32, who is assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing’s 52nd Operations Support Squadron, said he has wanted to join the team since childhood. He will serve as the team’s advance pilot and air demonstration coordinator. He also will be the voice of the Thunderbirds during air shows as the narrator.

“I’m really just totally excited,” he said. “This is a lifelong dream. I feel really blessed that I’ve been afforded the opportunity to really represent everyone else that’s wearing the uniform whether in the States, overseas, or deployed.”

Robert Alan Clark is smiling down from heaven right about now.
55 posted on 06/20/2005 4:17:28 PM PDT by snopercod ( We as the people no longer truly believe in liberty, not as Americans did -- Dayfdd ab Hugh)
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To: snopercod

Bump.


56 posted on 06/20/2005 4:39:35 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Why are they called apartments, when they're all stuck together?)
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To: ducks1944; Ragtime Cowgirl; Alamo-Girl; TrueBeliever9; anniegetyourgun; maestro; TEXOKIE; ...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1054904/posts?page=55#55

Clark, 32, who is assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing’s 52nd Operations Support Squadron, said he has wanted to join the team since childhood. He will serve as the team’s advance pilot and air demonstration coordinator. He also will be the voice of the Thunderbirds during air shows as the narrator.


57 posted on 06/20/2005 5:35:34 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: snopercod

Well, I'm very happy to see you!


58 posted on 06/20/2005 5:35:57 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Calpernia; Kathy in Alaska
God bless these servicemen's families and grant them serenity and peace. I am sure He has taken our warriors to His side and loving embrace.

Kathy: Canteen Ping.

59 posted on 06/20/2005 5:38:05 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Of all the idiots I've known in my life, none of them were retarded (W. Earl Brown - "Warren," SAM))
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To: snopercod

BTTT


60 posted on 06/20/2005 5:40:42 PM PDT by in the Arena (CAPT (USAF) James Wayne Herrick, Jr. (Call Sign: FireFly33). MIA Laos 27 Oct 69)
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