Donald Shue and other Vietnam vets to be given funeral at Arlington Thursday
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Three Vietnam War soldiers, including Sgt. 1st Class Donald M. Shue of Kannapolis, will be given a group funeral at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday.
Shue, 20, an Army Green Beret, went missing in action in 1969 along with two others – Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown, 24, of La Habra, Calif.; and Sgt. 1st Class Gunther H. Wald, 25, of Palisades Park, N.J. Their remains were recently identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced Monday that the three U.S. servicemen will be buried as a group on Aug. 30, in a single casket representing the three soldiers, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
Shue was buried individually on May 1, 2011, at Carolina Memorial Park in Kannapolis. Brown was buried at Arlington on Sept. 26, 2011.
On Nov. 3, 1969, these three men and six Vietnamese soldiers were part of a Special Forces reconnaissance patrol operating in Quang Tri Province, near the Vietnam-Laos border. The patrol was ambushed by enemy forces and all three Americans were wounded. Brown was reported to have suffered a gunshot wound to his side.
Due to heavy enemy presence and poor weather conditions, the search-and-rescue team was not able to reach the site until eight days later. At that time, they found military equipment belonging to Shue, but no other signs of the men.
Between 1993 and 2010, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted multiple interviews on nine different occasions in Quang Tri Province. Additionally, the S.R.V. unilaterally investigated this case, but was unable to develop new leads.
Among those interviewed by the joint teams were former Vietnamese militiamen who said that in 1969 they ambushed three Americans in the area near the Laos-Vietnam border. In 2007, a Vietnamese citizen led investigators to human remains that 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.
Finally, in April 2010, joint teams excavated a hilltop area near Huong Lap Village, recovering additional human remains, and military equipment, another military identification tag for Brown, and a Zippo lighter bearing the name “Donald M. Shue” and the date “1969.”
Scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence, along with mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of some of the soldiers’ family members – in the identification of the remains.
For more information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo.