Local News

Kannapolis soldier MIA in Vietnam to be buried in Arlington

Posted August 27, 2012 5:17 p.m. EDT

— The remains of three men missing in action during the Vietnam War – including a soldier from Kannapolis – will be buried this week in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, the Department of Defense announced Monday.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Donald M. Shue, of Kannapolis; Army Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown of La Habra, Calif.; and Sgt. 1st Class Gunther H. Wald of Palisades Park, N.J., will be buried Thursday in a single casket representing the three soldiers. Brown and Shue were individually buried Sept. 26, 2011, in Arlington and May 1 in Kannapolis, respectively.

The remains of the soldiers, missing since 1969, were found in 2010 and positively identified through DNA.

The men, along with six Vietnamese soldiers, were part of a Special Forces reconnaissance patrol operating in Quang Tri Province, near the Vietnam-Laos border on Nov. 3, 1969, when they were ambushed.

Poor weather and the threat from enemy fighters prevented a search-and-rescue team from reaching the site for eight days. When they did, they found military equipment belonging to Shue, but no other signs of the men.

Since 1993, teams of American and Vietnamese investigators conducted nine interviews in Quang Tri province to locate the remains, but they were unable to develop new leads, officials said.

In 2007, a Vietnamese citizen led investigators to human remains he had discovered and buried near the site of the ambush. In 2008, a military identification tag for Brown was turned over to the U.S. government from a U.S. citizen with ties to Vietnam. And in April 2010, joint teams excavated a hilltop near Huong Lap Village, recovering additional human remains, military equipment, another military identification tag for Brown and a Zippo lighter bearing Shue’s name and “1969.”

Scientists matched mitochondrial DNA to the soldiers’ relatives to identify the remains.