Posted: Dec 5, 2012 1:33 PM
Gov. Steve Beshear has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in honor of a recently identified Kentucky serviceman who was missing in action from the Vietnam War.
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office has announced that the remains of Army Sgt. John R. Jones, of Louisville have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
On June 4, 1971, Jones was part of a U.S. team working with indigenous commandos to defend a radio-relay base, known as Hickory Hill, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. When enemy forces attacked the site, Jones and another serviceman took up a defensive position in a nearby bunker. The following morning, Jones was reportedly killed by enemy fire and the other soldier was captured and held as a POW until 1973.
From 1993 to 2010, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted several investigations, surveyed the site and interviewed multiple witnesses, including those involved in the battle. During that time, analysts from JPAC and DPMO evaluated wartime records and eyewitness accounts to determine possible excavation sites. In 2011, another joint U.S.-S.R.V team located human remains in a bunker suspected to be the last known location of Jones.
For the identification of the remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental records and mitochondrial DNA that matched Jones' mother and brother.
Services for Sgt. Jones will be held on Dec. 6 at 9 a.m. Eastern time at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. Gov. Beshear encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in this tribute.