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Crash Site Discovered
Identification Report

29 June 2001

Depart of the Army
United States Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii
310 Worchester Avenue
Hickam AFB, Hawaii 96853-5530

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.

f. From 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.

2. 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

Available 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.

4. Finding

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:

CDR John Anthony FELDHAUS, 409-62-7945, US. Navy

Scientific Director

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