My father, LCDR Kenneth R Buell, USN, has been MIA since his A-6A Intruder was shot down on September 17, 1972 during a solo night time attack mission near Hai Duong, Vietnam. The pilot seated next to him, CDR Verne Donnelly, was also lost and declared MIA until remains, unilaterally returned by Vietnam in 1991, were identified as his by a jaw bone resulting in the entire set of remains being buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, CA.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has sent multiple JFA teams to the suspected crash site in North Vietnam resulting in eyewitness interviews, crash site assessments and an archaeological excavation of the 650 sq ft crash site. Tragically, no remains were found and an identification could not be made on the type of aircraft.
There may still be hope for my family. There is a chance that some of the remains identified as Verne Donnelly could be co-mingled and include bones that belong to my father as the identification was made before DNA testing was a viable option.
The surviving immediate family members of Verne Donnelly have graciously agreed to allow us to disinter their father so DPAA can conduct DNA testing and possibly make an identification while closing another MIA case for this nation that never forgets their fallen heroes.
DPAA briefed me that policy prevents them from paying for the disinternment of a closed case (Verne). The cost of disinternment and subsequent reburial is expensive for my family and we are seeking your help to fund this project in order to keep hope alive and possibly provide us some closure after 47 years. One less American classified as MIA and the promise of never being forgotten honored once more.
With gratitude and respect,
Rick Buell CDR, USN (Ret)
Gold Star Son of a Vietnam MIA