Proposed Identification of the Remains
(Designated CILHI Group Remains 3-94)
TAPC-PED-H (600-8-1m)        15 April 1994

MEMORANDUM FOR Commander, U.S. Army Central Identification
        Laboratory, Hawaii, 310 Worchester Avenue,         Hickam AFB, HI 96853-5530

SUBJECT: Proposed Identification of the Remains Designated
CILHI 0208-93C as CILHI Group Remains 3-94

1. Background and Acquisition

On 24 November 1969, a C-130A aircraft was conducting a forward air controller mission over Xekong Province, Laos. The following eight individuals were manifested on the aircraft (ranks shown were at the date of incident):

  Capt Earl C. Brown                  Aircraft Commander
  1Lt Peter R. Matthes                 Co-Pilot
  Maj Michael D. Balamoti            Navigator
  Capt Richard O. Ganley             Navigator
  SSgt Donald L. Wright               Flight Engineer
  SSgt Larry I. Grewell                 Loadmaster
  Sgt Rexford J. DeWispelaere     Loadmaster
  SSgt Charles R. Fellenz             Illuminator

During the course of the mission, the crew of the escort aircraft saw 37mm antiaircraft artillery explode close to the C-130A, and later noticed that the aircraft was on fire. The C-130A was seen to descend rapidly and break apart shortly before impact in the vicinity of grid coordinates XC 902 495. This incident is referred to as REFNO 1530.

On 19 and 21 January 1993, a Joint American-Laotian Investigative Team operating in Xekong Province, Laos, conducted interviews with three witnesses in Ban Klong Village, Kalum District, and surveyed a crash site of a propeller-driven, cargo-type aircraft. Two witnesses stated that although they had been in the area at the time, they did not actually witness the crash. They first became aware of the crash when they noted the fires associated with the impact of the aircraft. The witnesses indicated that Vietnamese troops went to the site and told them they had killed six Americans on the plane. The two witnesses visited the crash site two to three days later and did not observe any remains or personal effects. A third witness claimed that he had been at the crash site in 1989 and had seen a skull and boots.

TAPC-PED-H (600-8-1m)
SUBJECT: Proposed Identification of the Remains Designated
CILHI 0208-93C as CILHI Group Remains 3-94

The Joint Investigative Team visited the crash site and examined and/or recovered aircraft wreckage and personal equipment. Analysts on the Joint Investigative Team correlated the location of the crash site and type of aircraft wreckage to the REFNO 1530 incident.

From 21 October to 8 November 1993, a Joint American-Laotian Search and Recovery conducted an excavation at the site identified by the Joint Investigative Team as the crash site associated with REFNO 1530. The geographical location of the crash site was adjusted XC90138 49552 by the use of a satellite tracking system. The employment of 'standard archaeological techniques' (There was no documentation of the remains at the site before removal) resulted in the recovery of aircraft wreckage, life support equipment, three rusted pistols, human skeletal and dental remains, and personal effects to include four identification tags for members of the aircrew of REFNO 1530 (one for "BALAMOTI MICHAEL D.," two for "GANLEY RICHARD O.," and one for "FELLENZ, CHARLES R."). The remains and selected personal effects excavated from the crash site associated with REFNO 1530 were accessioned at the United States Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI) and given the laboratory processing number of CILHI 0208-93.

2. Summary of Findings

The Joint Task Force-Full Accounting analysts have indicated that the wreckage found at the crash site correlates with a C-130 type aircraft. This information, coupled with the location of the crash site and the names and social security numbers on the identification tags, provides conclusive evidence that the crash site is associated with REFNO 1530.

The three rusted pistols and the associated pistol fragments recovered from the REFNO 1530 crash site were submitted to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) with a request to restore the original serial numbers. The HPD report indicated that the three pistols were were consistent with Smith and Wesson brand M&P caliber .38 Special revolvers. The serial numbers from the three weapons were determined to be "775667," "77874-," and "501988" or 5011989." Comparison of the restored serial numbers from the revolvers with the recorded serial numbers of the revolvers issued to the crew indicates that two revolvers can be reasonably associated with Capt Brown and CMSgt Wright, respectively. (The recorded serial numbers of the weapons issued to Capt Brown and CMSgt Wright are "SV778748" and "SV501089"," respectively.

TAPC-PED-H (600-8-1m)
SUBJECT: Proposed Identification of the Remains Designated
CILHI 0208-93C as CILHI Group Remains 3-94

The discrepancy between the restored serial numbers "501989" and "SV501089" could possibly represent a simple recording error between a "9" and a "0" in the series). The revolver with the serial number "775667" could possibly be associated with Lt Col Ganley as U.S. records do not indicate the serial number of the weapon issued to him(How convenient!). The accession designated CILHI 0208-93 consists of dental portions, one component of a removable dental prosthesis, and fragmentary skeletal material. The dental remains and prosthesis were evaluated and segregated into those which could be associated with CMSgt Charles R. Fellenz (CILHI 0208-93A), Capt Earl C. Brown (CILHI 0208-93B, the dental prosthesis)The skeletal portions consist of approximately 700 fragments. Although the exact number of individuals represented by the bones can not be determined, anthropological analysis of the recovered bone fragments indicates that they are representative of at least one individual. Due to the extensive fragmentation of the bones, no stature estimates or racial determinations are possible. The fracturing of several of the bone fragments are consistent with the perimortem trauma commonly resulting from with aircraft crashes. None of these dental or skeletal remains could be exclusively associated with any member of the crew, and they were subsequently consolidated and designated CILHI 0208-93C.

Analysts at the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA) and the Defense Prisoner of War Missing in Action Office (DPMO) have indicated that there is no information in their files which suggests that any of the eight crewmembers in REFNO 1530 were captured or survived the crash.

It is the experience of the CILHI staff that scavenging of aircraft sites both during and after the Vietnam War for usable metal and remains by citizens of Laos is not unusual. These practices destroy both circumstantial and biological evidence, and may have been a contributing factor which indirectly influenced the results of the recovery effort and ultimately lead to the paucity of remains recovered.

TAPC-PED-H (600-8-1m)
SUBJECT: Proposed Identification of the Remains Designated
CILHI 0208-93C as CILHI Group Remains 3-94

3. Recommendation

The location of and the physical evidence recovered from the crash site indicate that the site correlates with the REFNO 1530 incident. Analysts at the the JTF-FA and DPMO have indicated that there is no evidence to indicate that any of the crew survived the crash of the C-130A.

Analysis of the biological remains designated CILHI 0208-93C indicates that they can not be exclusively associated with any of the eight unaccounted for individuals in REFNO 1530. Based on the preponderance of the evidence, it is reasonable to conclude that the remains designated CILHI 0208-93C are the commingled remains of Capt Earl C, Brown, Maj Peter R. Matthes, Maj Michael D. Balamoti, Lt Col Richard O. Ganley, CMSgt Donald L. Wright, CMSgt Larry I. Grewell, CMSgt Rexford J. DeWispelaere, and CMSgt Charles R. Fellenz, and it is recommended they be identified as

          CILHI Group Remains 3-94

         LTC, DC
         Laboratory Director