MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nearly 50 years after a Minnesota soldier went missing after crashing his aircraft during the Vietnam War, William E. Swanson is coming home.
Navy Lt. Swanson, of Zimmerman, Minn., was 27 when his plane crashed over Khammouan Province, Laos. Now the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office said Swanson’s remains have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Swanson will be buried on June 11 at Fort Snelling.
On April 11, 1965, witnesses reported seeing Swanson’s aircraft crash, but recovery efforts in the Khammouan Province were not possible due to an enemy presence.
In October of 2000, a U.S. team was investigating a different crash in the area and local villagers tipped the unit off to the old wreckage. In 2009, a recovery team excavated the site and in 2010, human remains and additional evidence were found. Scientists used circumstantial and material evidence to identify Swanson’s remains.