ABILENE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Half a century after his jet disappeared during a Vietnam War combat mission, the remains of a Navy pilot will return to his family in Texas.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency on Thursday announced identification of Navy Reserve Cmdr. Charles B. Goodwin of Haskell. Burial will be Oct. 12 in Abilene.
On Sept. 8, 1965, Goodwin was the pilot of an RF-8A aircraft, assigned to Detachment D, VPF-63, CVW-15, when he launched from the USS Coral Sea, scheduled for a combat photo mission over the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now Socialist Republic of Vietnam.) At the time of the early-morning flight, numerous intense thunderstorms were reported between the USS Coral Sea and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Fifteen minutes after launching, Goodwin reported that he had encountered thunderstorms en route to the target area. That was the last transmission heard from him. Search efforts over the target area and adjacent coastal waters were unsuccessful, no emergency radio signals were heard, and no aircraft wreckage was sighted.
Searches turned up nothing and Goodwin was declared missing in action.
In February 1988, a Vietnamese refugee provided information regarding the location of possible human remain and material evidence, including identification media correlated to Goodwin.
Between April 1993 and December 2016, multiple attempts were made by the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) and Joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams to locate the crash site, but attempts were unsuccessful. In December 2016, a Joint Forensic Review team received possible human remains that had been in the possession of a Vietnamese national. The remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
In the identification of Goodwin, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence.
The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.