Air Force Sergeants MIA from Vietnam War Identified

Air Force Sergeants MIA from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/ Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified.

They are Tech. Sgt. Donald R. Hoskins, Madison, Ind. and Staff Sgt. Calvin C. Cooke, Washington, D.C. A third person from the crew, Maj. Harry A. Amesbury, has been previously identified. The funeral for Cooke will be at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington D.C. on June 20, with full military honors.

On April 26, 1972, Amesbury was piloting a C-130E Hercules to An Loc City, South Vietnam for an emergency resupply mission. Hoskins and Cooke were among those aboard the aircraft when it was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Enemy activity prevented any recovery attempts until three years later in 1975 when a Vietnamese search team recovered artifacts and remains that were later identified as belonging to another crewman.

In 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) confiscated remains from a Vietnamese national in Ho Chi Minh City and returned them to the U.S. custody. The Vietnamese attributed the remains to Cooke.

In April 1989, a Vietnamese woman living in Thailand told U.S. interviewers that she witnessed the crash of a C-130 in 1972 near An Loc City. She was a schoolteacher at the time of the incident but moved due to hostilities in the area. She told interviewers that two of her former students found the complete remains of one of the crewmen, a uniform, identification tags and other items they were keeping at one of their homes. The students gave her a bone fragment and information from the identification tag of Amesbury, both of which she turned over to the interviewers.

The S.R.V. repatriated additional remains to the United States in June 1989, and January and November of 1991 that were attributed to Cooke and Amesbury.

In 1992, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed several Vietnamese nationals who claimed to have recovered remains from a C-130 crash site near An Loc. The villagers recalled finding a flight suit and almost the complete skeletal remains of one of the crewmen. One of them led the joint team to the crash site and another turned over several small fragments of bone and an identification tag rubbing for Amesbury.

Another joint team returned to the crash site for excavation in 1993 where they recovered additional remains, personal effects and crew related artifacts.

The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia contacted JPAC officials in 1998 about a woman living in Georgia who had remains and personal artifacts attributed to Amesbury. Those were turned over to JPAC as part of the evidence associated with this case.

JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) specialists used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains. Laboratory analysis of dental remains also confirmed their identifications.

Of those Americans unaccounted for from all conflicts, 1,805 are from the Vietnam War. Another 841 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the war, with 601 of those from Vietnam.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Website at or call (703)-699-1169.