Idaho Airman, MIA for 45 Years, To Be Buried at Arlington Today


An Idaho airman will be buried today with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, nearly a half-century after his AC-47D crashed at the height of the Vietnam War.

The Associated Press reports that the remains of Chief Master Sgt. Larry Thornton of Idaho Falls will be buried along with five of his fellow servicemen today. Their remains will be buried in a single casket.

According to the Pentagon, the AC-47D took off from Vietnam on Christmas Eve 1965, but its crew sent out a Mayday signal while flying over Laos. Continuous searches turned up nothing, but in 2010 and 2011, some remains were recovered and dental records and some circumstantial evidence identified the six airmen.

It is not uncommon for joint sets to be buried at Arlington. More than 83,000 servicemembers are listed as missing in action, the vast majority from World War II. In 2011, the Pentagon's POW/Missing Personnel Office identified the remains of 72 service members previously unaccounted for.