Vietnam Vet laid to rest after 38 years

By | AFMAO Public Affairs | March 30, 2010

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — An Air Force major who was killed in action during the Vietnam War has finally been laid to rest in his native hometown of North Texas March 29.

The Department of Defense announced March 16 that the remains of Maj. Curtis Daniel, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and were to be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. His remains were processed by the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center at Dover Air Force Base, Del. 

Air Force Maj. Curtis Daniel Miller of Palacios, Texas, was buried in the Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery. Major Miller was part of a 14-man aircrew, all of which are now accounted-for. Remains that could not be individually identified are included in a group that will be buried together in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

On March 29, 1972, 14 men were aboard an AC-130A Spectre gunship that took off from Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, on an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. The aircraft was struck by an enemy surface-to-air missile and crashed. Search and rescue efforts were stopped after a few days due to heavy enemy activity in the area.

In 1986, joint U.S.- Lao People's Democratic Republic teams, lead by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), surveyed and excavated the crash site in Savannakhet Province, Laos. The team recovered human remains and other evidence including two identification tags, life support items and aircraft wreckage. From 1986 to 1988, the remains were identified as those of nine men from this crew.

Between 2005 and 2006, joint teams resurveyed the crash site and excavated it twice. The teams found more human remains, personal effects and crew-related equipment. As a result, JPAC identified the other crewmen using forensic identification tools, circumstantial evidence, mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at or call (703) 699-1169.