DNA tests help identify missing Vietnam War soldiers

DNA tests by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory have helped identify the remains of two U.S. Army soldiers who had been missing in Vietnam for nearly 40 years.

Courtesy of Shannon Wann Plaster via Tulsa World/AP
This undated file photo provided by Shannon Wann Plaster shows her father Donald Wann of Shawnee, Okla., wearing an Army cap. The remains of Vietnam War soldier, Army Chief Warrant Officer 1st Lt. Donald Wann has been identified through DNA testing, the military announced Wednesday Aug. 11. Wann's daughter said the positive identification was both emotional and a relief.

The remains of two U.S. Army soldiers who had been missing in Vietnam for nearly 40 years have been identified, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Wednesday.

The bodies Chief Warrant Officer Donald Wann of Shawnee, Oklahoma, and 1st Lt. Paul Magers of Billings, Montana, 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, said she was told of the confirmation in March, while attending a National League of POW/MIA Families conference in San Antonio, Texas.

"It was just emotional — joy, happiness and just relief," she said. "It felt like a million pounds off my chest and off my back."

Attempts to find a phone number for Magers' relatives in Montana were unsuccessful, but the Montana National Guard issued a statement on their behalf, saying they were "extremely grateful and honored by the outpouring of support and condolences."

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