What to Know
- A U.S. Marine from New Jersey who had been missing since the Vietnam War has been accounted for, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said
- First Lieutenant William C. Ryan hailed from the Bogota borough in Bergen County
- He was declared deceased in 1969 after the plane he commanded during a combat mission in Laos was struck by enemy fire and crashed
A U.S. Marine from a New Jersey town who had been missing since the Vietnam War has been accounted for, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Saturday.
DNA found at the scene of a military plane crash helped officials to identify Marine Corps Reserve First Lieutenant William C. Ryan, who hailed from Bogota, a borough in Bergen County.
Ryan was the radar intercept officer of an F-4B aircraft for the Marine Aircraft Group 13 during a combat mission in Laos in 1969. As his plane pulled out of a bombing pass, it was hit by enemy fire. The pilot ejected before the plane crashed, and other flight members allegedly witnessed only one parachute leave the aircraft.
The lieutenant from Bogota was declared deceased May 11, 1969.
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Officials from the U.S., Lao People's Democratic Republic and Vietnamese Officer for Research and Investigative Teams interviewed a number of witnesses to the crash and gathered information about where Ryan may have died from January 1990 to May 2012.
Six excavations were performed at the crash site during the investigation that spanned two decades.
Life support items, aircraft wreckage and human remains that were found were analyzed at the DPAA lab, where they ultimately determined Ryan's identity.
Internment services for the late Bogota resident are pending.