OKLAHOMA CITY — The remains of two US Army soldiers, one from Oklahoma and one from Montana, missing in Vietnam for nearly 40 years, have been identified, the US Department of Defense announced Wednesday.
The bodies Chief Warrant Officer Donald Wann of Shawnee, Okla., and First Lieutenant Paul Magers of Billings, Mont., were identified through DNA testing by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Hawaii.
Wann and Magers were killed June 1, 1971, when the AH-1 Cobra helicopter they were flying as part of a rescue mission was shot down in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, the military said.
Wann’s daughter, Shannon Wann Plaster, said she has been trying since the early 1990s to find her father, and had known since July 2008 that human remains found near the suspected crash site could include his.
Plaster, 49, of Yukon, said she was told of the confirmation in March, while attending a National League of POW/MIA Families conference in San Antonio.
“It was just emotional — joy, happiness, and just relief,’’ Plaster said. “It felt like a million pounds off my chest and off my back.’’
She had always hoped to have his remains returned, she said. Plaster, 10 when her father was shot down, said she remembers him as a larger than life figure.
“I was a daddy’s girl, a little tomboy,’’ she said. “He taught me how to shine his boots, and I’d wear his helmet and his canteen.’’
She recalled a fishing trip off the coast of Rhode Island when her father and a friend took her in a two-person boat and caught a 25-pound striped bass.