Depart of the Army
United States Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii
310 Worchester Avenue
1. Background and Acquisition
a. On 8 October 1966 Lieutenant John A. FELDHAUS took
off from the USS Oriskany on an armed reconnaissance mission over Thanh Hoa Province, North Vietnam. As LT FELDHAUS descended
to get a better view of a secondary road, his wingman lost sight of his A-1H Skyraider as it entered cloud cover. Shortly
after, the wingman reported receiving a radio transmission from LT FELDHAUS saying that his aircraft had been struck by enemy
ground fire and that his right wing was on fire. The wingman never saw him again, but he did report seeing a fireball on the
ground which he interpreted as an aircraft crash. Visual and electronic searches of the area turned up no evidence to suggest
LT FELDHAUS survived the incident. The incident was designated REFNO 0489, and LT FELDHAUS was placed in the status of Missing-In-Action.
While in MIA status he continued to be promoted, ultimately reaching the rank of Commander, until a military review board
amended his status to presumed Killed-In-Action.
b. On 14 October 1966 Ensign Darwin L. Thomas took off from the
USS Oriskany on an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Over the target area, ENS Thomas fired his rockets at
a suspected target and then, as his wingman watched, ENS Thomass A-1H Skyraider crashed amid a fireball. The incident was
designated REFNO 0495. Ensign Thomas was assigned to the same squadron as CDR FELDHAUS and the recorded location for his crash
site is approximately 18 kilometers from that of CDR FELDHAUS.
c. On 26 October 1993 a joint U.S./Socialist Republic
of Vietnam (S.R.V.) traveled to Thanh Hoa Province and investigated the area reported in U.S. records as CDR FELDHAUSs crash
site. The team found no evidence of aircraft wreckage and no evidence of a crater and concluded that no aircraft had crashed
at that location.
d. On 26 and 27 November 1996 another joint U.S./S.R.V. team traveled to Nghe An Province (located
adjacent to Thanh Hoa Province) to investigate REFNO 0489. The team interviewed several local Vietnamese villagers who recalled
a U.S. aircraft crashing and burning during the war. One of the men indicated that the incident occurred in 1966 and that
he was told by other villagers that the aircraft was an AD-6. [The AD-6 was redesignated the A-1H in 1962.] The team was then
led to the site where they found scattered aircraft wreckage. The site was recommended for excavation.
e. From 26
June through 4 July 1998 a joint U.S./S.R.V. team began excavating the crash site surveyed in November 1996. The team unearthed
life-support equipment and aircraft wreckage before suspending the recovery on account of inclement weather.
28 February through 18 March 2000 another joint U.S ./S .R.V. team continued the excavation begun in June 1998. The team recovered
human remains, pilot-related artifacts, and personal effects amid aircraft wreckage before suspending the operation due to
time constraints. The remains and personal effects were transported to Hanoi where the members of the 54th Joint Forensic
Review (JFR) selected them for repatriation to the United States. The remains and artifacts were transferred back into U.S.
custody at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi on 25 April 2000 and were received at the CILHI on 26 April where they were accessioned
as CLLHI 2000-041.
g. From 27 April through 16 May 2000 a joint U.S./S.R.V. team completed the excavation
begun in June 1998. The team unearthed additional aircraft wreckage and life-support items as well as personal effects and
human remains. The remains and personal effects were transported to Hanoi where they were selected during the 55th JFR for
repatriation to the United States. The evidence was then transferred back into U.S. custody at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi on
26 June 2000 and was accessioned at the CThHI on 27 June 2000 as CLLHI 2000-063. For administrative purposes, CILHI 2000-063
was consolidated into CJLHI 2000-041. (The remains were further amended to CILHI 2000-041-1-01, representing a single individual;
the material evidence was assigned as CILHI 2000-041 -A-0 1.)
h. On 26 June 2000 a sample (Sample A) taken from a
long bone fragment designated CILHI 2000-041 was submitted to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) for mitochondrial
DNA (mtDNA) analysis. On 31 October 2000 a second sample (Sample B) taken from a left femur fragment was submitted.
Summary of Analysis
a. Analysts from the JTF-FA confirm that wreckage found at the crash site is consistent
with that of an A-1H Skyraider. A squadron pin found amid the wreckage correlates to Attack Squadron 152, which was assigned
to the USS Oriskany. Pilot-related items found at the site indicate that the pilot was on board at the time of impact. A review
of U.S. records indicate that there are two A-1H Skyraiders from the Oriskany's Attack Squadron 152 lost within 30 kilometers
of the excavated crash site, the one flown by CDR FELDHAUS and the one flown by ENS Thomas. The excavated site is located
approximately 10 kilometers from the recorded grid coordinates of CDR FELDHAUS's crash and 25 kilometers meters from the recorded
location of ENS Thomas's loss.
b. Anthropological analysis reveals that the skeletal remains consist of cranial
and post cranial fragments of an adult male. There is evidence of possible healed trauma to the left arm. There is also evidence
of possible perimortem trauma. A review of CDR FELDHAUS's personnel records indicate that he was a 28-year-old Caucasian male
at the time of his death. The records also indicate that he fractured his left arm in 1955 (no further details are available).
c. The dental remains consist of a maxillary right second molar (#2) restored with an occlusal amalgam. Unfortunately,
the antemortem dental records available for CDR FELDHAUS do not include any radiographs; however, the written records do document
an occlusal amalgam on tooth #2. Conversely, the treatment exhibited by the tooth is inconsistent with the restorative treatment
graphically illustrated in ENS Thomass dental records. (Ensign Thomass records also do not include dental radiographs.)
d. The AFDLL reports that mtDNA obtained from one of the bone samples matches mtDNA from a maternal relative (brother)
of John A. FELDHAUS. The sequence data are unique to the mtDNA database used by the AFDIL and can thus be assumed to be relatively
rare within the general population. Furthermore, the sample data do not match mtDNA obtained from a maternal relative of
Darwin L. Thomas. (The other bone sample yielded inconclusive results.)
3. Summary and Conclusions
evidence, including the accounts given by U.S. personnel who witnessed the incident, establishes that CDR John A. FELDHAUS
died when his A-1H Skyraider crashed in [then] North Vietnam, after being damaged by enemy ground fire. Remains recovered
from the crash site of an A-I H by a CILHI team in 2000 are circumstantially linked to CDR FELDHAUS by a unit crest from the
USS Oriskanys Attack Squadron 152. Dental remains recovered from the crash site are consistent with the antemortem dental
records of CDR FELDHAUS. Furthermore, some of the remains yielded a relatively rare mtDNA sequence that matches mtDNA obtained
from CDR FELDHAUS's brother. Laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence allows for the individual identification of
these remains to CDR John A. FELDHAUS.
In my opinion, the results of laboratory analysis and
the circumstantial evidence made available to me establish the remains designated CILHI 2000-041-1-01 as those of:
John Anthony FELDHAUS, 409-62-7945, US. Navy
THOMAS D. HOLLAND, PhD