WASHINGTON, D.C.–The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Capt. Charles R. Barnes of Philadelphia, Pa., will be buried May 2, in Arlington National Cemetery. On March 16, 1969, Barnes and four other service members departed Qui Nhon Airfields bound for Da Nang and Phu Bai, in a U-21A Ute aircraft. As they approached Da Nang, they encountered low clouds and poor visibility. Communications with the aircraft were lost, and they did not land as scheduled. Immediate search efforts were limited due to hazardous weather conditions, and all five men were list as missing in action.
From 1986-1989, unidentified human remains were turned over to the United States from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) in several different instances. None of the remains were identified given the limits of the technology of the time.
In 1993, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted investigations in Quang Nam-Da Nang, and Thua Thien-Hue Provinces. They interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who supplied remains and an identification tag bearing Barnes’ name, which he claimed to have recovered from an aircraft crash site.
In 1999, another joint U.S.-S.R.V. team interviewed additional Vietnamese citizens about the crash and they were led to the crash site. In 2000, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered human remains and material evidence.
Scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, and forensic identification tools such as mitochondrial DNA — which matched that of Barnes’ sister — in the identification of the remains.