BORAH, DANIEL VERNOR, JR. disputed -- REMAINS IDENTIFIED 18 APRIL 1997 -- SEE STORY
Name: Daniel Vernor Borah, Jr. Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy (Reserve) Unit: Attack Squadron 155, USS ORISKANY (CV-34) Date of Birth: 18 June 1946 Home City of Record: Olney IL Date of Loss: 24 September 1972 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 164635N 1072035E (YD140540) Status (in 1973): Prisoner Of War Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A7B Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) Refno: 1927
REMARKS: ALIVE IN CHUTE-NO MORE CONTACT
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1998.
SYNOPSIS: On September 24, 1972, Lt. Daniel Borah launched from the USS ORISKANY in his A7B Corsair II subsonic attack plane as the flight leader of a two plane strike against North Vietnamese troops entrenched in bunkers northwest of the city of Quang Tri, South Vietnam. They were directed to the target area by a Forward Air Controller aircraft (FAC).
Lt. Borah and his wingman began their initial bombing run as briefed. Due to an improper switch setting, the wingman expended his entire ordnance load on the first load instead of the several runs that were briefed for. He then proceeded to a holding position at 13,000 feet overhead the target to observe Borah's succeeding bombing runs.
During the second run, Borah's aircraft was seen to draw a barrage of 37mm anti-aircraft fire. His wingman radioed for evasive action, then almost immediately saw Borah's aircraft burst into flames. The FAC saw Borah eject safely from the aircraft and later established emergency radio contact with him for 10-15 seconds. No other contact was received during the following two days of search and rescue efforts.
Intelligence reports indicated that North Vietnamese soldiers removed Borah's parachute from a tree within half hour of his landing on the ground, and he is believed to have been captured alive.
When the war ended, and 591 Americans were released from Vietnamese prisons, Borah was not among them. The Vietnamese deny knowledge of his fate. As thousands of reports of Americans still alive in captivity accumulate, Borah's family must wonder if he is still alive waiting for his country to bring him home. Whether Borah is still alive is unknown. What is certain, however, is someone knows what happened to him. It's time we got answers and brought our men home.
------------------ [[bits0718.98 07/19/98] National Alliance of Families For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam
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Bits 'N' Pieces July 17, 1998
Site Salting -- When remains are recovered from Vietnam, they are usually in a very poor and fragmented condition. In most cases they are little more that shards of bone or fragments. Sometimes, nothing more than a tooth is recovered. We are told the poor condition of the remains is due to the highly acidic Vietnamese soil.
If the soil is so acidic as to almost completely destroy human remains, logic would follow that anything less sturdy, buried with the remains, would be destroyed in a much shorter time. This brings us to the case of Navy Lt. Daniel V. Borah.
In early 1996, rumors began to circulate that remains had been recovered in Quang Tri Province, of a pilot a full flight suit. Soon after, the Borah family was notified that Joint Task Force Full Accounting had recovered remains in a full flight suit, they believed to be Dan Borah.
According to a Vietnamese witness, Mr. Toan, who led JTF-FA investigators to the burial site, the pilot was found dead, in his parachute. He was buried nearby and all identification media was removed. According to Mr. Toan, Daniel Borah was buried in his flight suit on September 24th, 1972.
It would be 24 years, before Mr. Toan led JTF-FA investigators back to the alleged burial site. During the 40th Joint Field Activity, (March 23rd - 31st, 1996) the grave site was excavated. Just as Mr. Toan stated, investigators found remains in a full flight suit. The remains consisted of three long bones, and various chips, shards and nineteen teeth. Due to their poor condition, none of the bones could be used for anthropological analysis.
The Central Identification Laboratory - Hawaii, (CIL-HI) determined that the nineteen teeth matched the records of Daniel Borah. Based on this dental "match" CIL-HI recommended the identification of the remains found, as those of Daniel Borah. CIL-HI ignored the fact that the dental matched was successful only if the teeth were moved to the the other side of the mouth. The resolution of this case was pointed to with pride, as evidence of Vietnamese cooperation to resolve the fate of our Prisoners and Missing.
Now, the rest of the story! -- The Vietnamese planned to end the Borah case a full 19 months prior to the actual excavation. In November, 1994 , the head of the Defense POW/MIA Office, James Wold visited Vietnam. During his meeting with Mr. Cong, of the Vietnam Office Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP), Mr. Wold was told information on 5 cases would be provided by the end of the year. One of those cases was Daniel V. Borah ..
Eight months after that promise, on August 14, 1995, Mr. Toan appeared, ready to led U.S. investigators to the purported burial site.
The Discrepancies..... Dan Borah made voice contact with U.S. aircraft while in his parachute. U.S. planes picked up several short bursted "manual beeper transmissions," from the ground. Dan Borah was not dead in his parachute and he was alive upon landing. Borah's last radio transmission came from the ground. His last words to American forces... . "Gomer, all around..." Dead men don't send "manual beeper transmissions" or report there imminent capture."
What happened to Dan Borah after that, we can't say. We can say without a doubt that the full flight suit purported to hold the remains of Dan Borah did not lie in the acidic Vietnamese soil for 24 years.
The grave site was salted. While little is left of the the bones, the flight suit is in near perfect condition. In the words of Kathy Borah Duez, sister of Dan Borah, "you could put that flight suit on and wear it on the street. The pants would barely fit me. They are too small to be Dan's. Dan tended to gain weight and we joked about him fitting into the cockpit. These pants would never fit him."
Kathy confirmed that all unit designations, patches, and the American flag had been carefully cut from the flight suit. Just as there is no evidence to prove the bone shards are Dan Borah's, there is no evidence to prove the flight suit is Dan's.
The acidic soil of Vietnam, which destroys bones, should have left nothing of the flight suit except perhaps the zippers. Instead, after 24 years in this highly acidic soil, this flight suit looks no worse than if it had been attacked by angry moths, in the back of a closet. Photographs of the flight suit are available on our website.