In 1969, the Phantom fighter-bomber of Capt. Douglas Ferguson took a direct hit from ground fire while on its third bombing pass over a fuel storage depot in northern Laos. The plane went down in a ball of flames.
Last Wednesday Capt. Ferguson's family was notified that his remains had been positively identified after more than two years of forensic investigation.
The government officially declared Capt. Ferguson “killed in action” in 1976 and now, after 44 years, his body is coming home.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord will hold a public memorial for Capt. Ferguson, although the specific date has not been announced. Final burial will be at Mountain View Memorial Park in Lakewood, Wash.
The search and identification process continues for 307 men still missing in Laos, 53 in Cambodia and seven in China. All searches must be approved by host countries and are subject to current political "climates."
To date, the United States military Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii has identified more than 900 warriors from the Vietnam War where some 58,000 U.S. troops lost their lives in Laos, Cambodia, North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
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