Laos and U.S. Cooperate to Find Americans Missing in Action

From (Right) Director Americas Division (POW/MIA), Europe and Americas Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Somsai Kittanouvong and Major Chris Goodrich, Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency, U.S. Embassy Vientiane at the repatriation ceremony in Vientiane.

VIENTIANE, Laos (June 16, 2016) – A joint U.S. – Lao team recently finished a series of excavations to account for U.S. service members remaining unaccounted-for from the Indochina War.  Fifty-three American and 15 Lao team members excavated four aircraft crash sites in Houaphan, Xiangkhouang and Khammouan Provinces.

On June 16, the United States and the Lao PDR held a repatriation ceremony at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane.  The ceremony, presided over by Lao Vice Foreign Minister Sengphet Houngboungnouang and U.S. Ambassador Daniel Clune, commemorated the recovery of possible remains, which will be sent to the United States for a forensic analysis.  After final identification is complete, the remains will be returned to their family members.

The United States and Lao PDR have conducted 141 of these joint missions in Laos since 1985. Since the beginning of these joint field activities, the two sides have recovered the remains of 273 U.S. service personnel, and they continue to work together to recover the missing remains of an additional 301Americans. These missions have helped to build a high level of trust between the United States and the Lao PDR.