Remains of nine Navy crew members identified from wreckage in Laos

WASHINGTON (AP) - The military has identified remains of nine Navy crew members killed when their surveillance plane crashed in Laos in the Vietnam War, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.
The nine will be buried June 18 in a joint observance at Arlington National Cemetery.
The men were aboard a Navy OP-2E Neptune plane that crashed into a mountain in Laos in January 1968. The remains were recovered during six U.S.-Lao missions to the crash site between 1993 and last year, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The crew members were:
  • Capt. Delbert A. Olson of Casselton, N.D.
  • Lt. j.g. Dennis L. Anderson of Hope, Kan.
  • Lt. j.g. Arthur C. Buck of Sandusky, Ohio.
  • Lt. j.g. Philip P. Stevens of Twin Lake, Mich.
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard M. Mancini of Amsterdam, N.Y.
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael L. Roberts of Purvis, Miss.
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Donald N. Thoresen of Detroit.
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth H. Widon of Detroit.
  • Petty Officer 3rd Class Gale R. Siow of Huntington Park, Calif.
Their plane left a base in Thailand on Jan. 11, 1968, on a mission to drop sensors in Laos to detect enemy movements, the Pentagon statement said. The crew reported their plane's descent through dense clouds in its last radio transmission.
Two weeks after the crash, an Air Force crew photographed what was believed to have been the crash site, but enemy activity in the area prevented a recovery operation, the statement said.
Investigators interviewed villagers near the site and found debris on two ledges of Phou Louang mountain in Khammouan province of Laos, the statement said. The teams recovered identification cards for several crew members during a 1996 visit. Other visits yielded human remains and other identifying items from the wreckage.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)