Missing Airman’s Remains Identified

Defense Department officials announced Tuesday that they have identified the remains of Capt. Darrell J. Spinler of Browns Valley, Minn., an airman missing in action for nearly 44 years since the Vietnam War. His remains will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors on June 18 near his hometown, they said. Spinler was aboard an A-1E Skyraider attacking enemy targets along the Xekong River in Laos on June 21, 1967, when villagers reported hearing an explosion before his aircraft crashed. The pilot of another A-1E saw no sign of Spinler. In 1993, a joint US-Laos team interviewed villagers who witnessed the crash. After believing for years that Spinler’s remains were unrecoverable, DOD forensic experts in 2010 succeeded in recovering aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment, and personal effects during a full excavation of the crash area that led to his identification.