McAllen Man Declared MIA in 1969 Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

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Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Kristen Duus, DPAA Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Kristen Duus, DPAA

ARLINGTON, Va. – A U.S. Air Force colonel from McAllen who was declared missing in action was finally laid to rest yesterday. Col. William Campbell was buried at Arlington National Cemetery will full military honors Thursday.

Campbell was with the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, when he was reported missing in action in January 1969. The 37-year-old was part of an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. On their website, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency stated, “Campbell was cleared to engage a target, and his ordnance was seen impacting the ground.”

Aircrews reported seeing a large fireball on the ground near the area of the target. Crews didn’t get a reply when they radioed the missing aircraft, and no parachutes were seen. The remaining planes were forced to leave due to low fuel. He was declared missing in action.

The Department of Defense had nine investigations between 1994 and 2011 to resolve the case.  In 2014, Laos residents turned over possible human remains found in the area where Campbell’s aircraft was last seen.

Mitochondrial DNA, dental analysis and circumstantial evidence was used to identify the remains last year.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said there are 1,611 American servicemen and civilians still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

Photos courtesy of Sgt. 1st Class Kristen Duus, DPAA

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