Missing Airman’s Remains Identified

The Defense Department announced yesterday that the remains of Lt. Col. Earl P. Hopper Jr., an F-4D Phantom pilot missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family. Hopper’s F-4D was shot down by a surface-to-air-missile during a four-ship mission near Hanoi, North Vietnam, on Jan. 10, 1968. While his co-pilot, Capt. Keith Hall, was able to eject and was subsequently captured and held as a POW until 1973, Hopper was unable to eject. A series of investigations and excavations at the crash site in Son La Province, west of Hanoi, between 1993 and 1998 led to the recovery of skeletal fragments and crew-related items that ultimately resulted in Hopper’s forensic identification.