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NamGrunt68
08-29-02, 05:18 PM
ASSOCIATED PRESS August 28, 2002 HANOI, Vietnam A group of Vietnamese scrap metal scavengers found two sets of human remains in the wreckage of a helicopter in southern Vietnam, along with papers indicating at least one may have been an American pilot, officials said Thursday. The wreckage was located about 10 feet below a rice field in Long Thuan village in Long An province, a provincial official said. One set of remains was found in the helicopter's front seat, along with a dog tag, personal papers and an ID card with a photograph and name, a village official said. A photo of the U.S. military ID obtained by The Associated Press showed that it belonged to a 2nd lieutenant. Another smaller set of remains with no dog tag or personal papers was found in the back seat, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. A team from the Hanoi-based joint U.S. military group responsible for searching for Americans missing from the Vietnam War was at the site Thursday investigating the report, Marine Maj. Tom Dicken said. He declined to release the name until investigators can confirm that it matches the body, but said it was not one found on the list of Americans known to be missing in action from the war. The area around Long Thuan village, 45 miles southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, was thinly populated during the war and communist soldiers stayed among the villagers, the official said. Villagers at the crash site said they believed the helicopter went down around 1971 or 1972. Since American forces ended their direct military involvement in the Vietnam War in 1973, the remains of 629 American servicemen have been identified and 1,956 are still unaccounted for, including 1,473 in Vietnam. The remainder are in Laos, Cambodia and China.