By Spc. Brandon Dyer, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Public AffairsOctober 28, 2015
Three U.S. Army Soldiers, Maj. Dale W. Richardson, 28, of Mount Sterling, Ill.; Staff Sgt. Bunyan D. Price Jr., 20, of Monroe, N.C.; and Sgt. Rodney L. Griffin, 21, of Mexico, Mo., were buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, Oct. 20.
The Soldiers were missing since the Vietnam War and were identified by the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) using circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA, matched with their siblings.
Richardson, Price and Griffin, all assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, were passengers aboard an UH-1H Iroquois (Huey) helicopter that was enroute to Fire Support Base Katum, South Vietnam, when it was diverted due to bad weather.
After flying into Cambodian airspace, the aircraft came under heavy enemy ground fire, causing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia.
Richardson, Price, and Griffin died at the site of the crash during a firefight with enemy forces. Their remains were not immediately recovered.
The Huey's four crewmen and its four passengers survived the landing.
One crewman was able to evade being captured by enemy forces and later returned to friendly lines.
The other three crewmen and one passenger were captured. The Vietnamese released two of the captured crewmen in 1973, and the remains of the other two captured men were returned to U.S. control in the 1980s and identified.
After a 20-year joint investigation by the U.S. and the Kingdom of Cambodia (K.O.C.), the human remains and military gear were recovered from a single grave.
The group remains representing the crew are being laid to rest by the 3d. U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
Today there are 1,626 American service members still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.