The remains of an Air Force colonel from New Haven missing during the Vietnam War have been identified and will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, according to the Department of Defense.
The Pentagon said Col. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr. was on a night strike mission on December 13, 1968, when his aircraft collided with another in Laos. He was never seen again, and was listed as missing in action, and presumed dead. He was 39.
Between 1993 and 2004, efforts by the United States and Laos tried to locate the crash site. A possible site was found in 2007 and teams excavated it three times and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage consistent with McGouldrick's plane. His remains were identified using DNA.
McGouldrick's family waited for 45 years to learn about the remains. His relatives have asked for his remains to be buried on the anniversary of the day his plane went down, December 13. "This is all still a kind of pinch-me experience," McGouldrick's daughter, Megan Genheimer, told The Columbus-Dispatch. "But when we're in Washington and at that grave, then we'll know: he's home."
Burial is set for Friday.
This report contains information from The Associated Press.