The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Billy D. Hill, 21, of Wichita, Kan., will be buried Dec. 17, in Killeen, Texas. Hill was assigned to the 282nd Aviation Company, 14th Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, as a gunner on a UH-1D helicopter. On Jan. 21, 1968, the helicopter he was in with five other soldiers was struck by enemy fire and crashed near Khe Sahn, Vietnam. One of the two crew members who survived the crash stated he believed Hill was struck by enemy fire just prior to the crash. Hill was declared missing in action following the crash.
On April 8, 1968, soldiers searched the crash site area and recovered the remains of two of the soldiers of the helicopter. The remains of Hill and one other soldier remained unrecovered. On Dec. 12, 1975, a military review board amended Hill’s status to deceased.
Between 1993 and 2014, seven investigations were conducted regarding the whereabouts of Hill, but no remains were attributed to him.
In 2014, members of DPAA’s predecessor organization, the Joint Personnel Accounting Command, reanalyzed unknown remains returned from Vietnam during a unilateral turnover in 1989, which were reportedly recovered in the vicinity of Khe Sahn.
To identify Hill’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and two types of DNA analysis, including mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched two cousins, and Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat DNA and autosomal DNA analysis, which matched his father.
The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery mission.
Today there are more than 1,600 American service members that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.