COMER, HOWARD BRISBANE JR. Remains Returned 1993, ID announced 03/16/2001
Name: Howard Brisbane Comer, Jr. Rank/Branch: W2/US Army Unit: 187th Aviation Company, 269th Aviation Battalion, 12th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade Date of Birth: 04 August 1945 Home City of Record: Jacksonville FL Date of Loss: 24 November 1969 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 111445N 1060714E (XT223433) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H Refno: 1531 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
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 2016.
SYNOPSIS: On November 24, 1969, WO Howard B. Comer was the pilot of a UH1H helicopter (serial #68-15564) on a general support mission when the helicopter crashed in the Van Co Dung River in South Vietnam. The helicopter and its passengers were recovered, but in spite of an extensive search, no trace was found of the pilot.
Further search efforts were thwarted by the chief of the ARVN delegation to the 2-party military commission. The Tay Ninh Province chief was concerned about pressure on his province by hostile forces should he agree to assist in further searches for missing Americans.
Several source reports were received regarding Comer's loss. One source reported that his father had possession of the remains of one U.S. GI and the father had the source memorize the information on the ID tag on Comer. The source provided information on the discovery of alleged remains and Comer's ID tag, which were alleged to be found near Cam Giang.
Source provided information on the alleged discovery of the remains of Comer. A photocopy of the ID tag was provided. All information matched information given earlier by the source.
In March 1985, a source relayed hearsay information regarding the recovery7 of U.S. remains from a helicopter crash in Vam Co Dung river near Tay Ninh city. This report was thought to possibly correlate to Comer. The same hearsay information was provided again in February 1986.
Comer apparently did not survive the crash of his aircraft on November 24, 1969. Because his remains have never been located, he is listed with honor among the missing.
For others missing, clear-cut answers are not as possible as in the case of Howard B. Comer, Jr. Many were alive and well the last time they were seen. Some were in radio contact with would-be rescuers before their voices vanished from the airways. Others were photographed in captivity or known captives who simply disappeared from the prison systems and were not released.
There are nearly 2400 Americans still missing, prisoner or unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Unlike "MIA's" from other wars, most of these men can be accounted for. Since 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating to these men have been received by the U.S. Government. A shocking 80% of them are accurate, and some of them have been correlated to individuals who have returned. Over 100 of these reports (which may include more than one individual) are as yet unresolved, being put through a process one U.S. Government official terms "the closest scrutiny possible".
Most authorities believe there are Americans still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia. Their opinions differ only in the numbers held. Unfortunately, none of them have formulated the solution for bringing them home.
Last Friday, March 16, 2001, the Department of Defense informed the League that the remains of one American, listed as KIA/BNR in North Vietnam since August 30, 1967, had been identified and returned to his family. The remains were jointly recovered on August 4, 1993 and accepted by the NOK as identified on October 21st of last year. DOD has not yet announced the name of this Navy officer from Wisconsin. The remains of Warrant officer 2nd Class Howard B. Comer, missing since November 24th, 1969, were turned over to US officials on December 14, 1993, during joint field operations in South Vietnam. Remains of the third, also US Army, were jointly recovered and repatriated June 27, 2000, but his name was not publicly announced at the request of his family. The fourth American, Mr. Gustav G. Hertz, was a civilian employee of the US Government. Now identified, his remains were unilaterally repatriated by the government of Vietnam in 1989. The accounting for these four Americans brings the number still missing and unaccounted for in Vietnam to 1493; 418 in Laos, 67 in Cambodia and 8 in the territorial waters of the PRC. Over 90% of the 1,986 Americans still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War were lost in areas under Vietnam's wartime control.
The Florida Times-Union Monday, May 28, 2001
Nearly 32 years after a helicopter crash in Vietnam, Jacksonville man can finally be put to rest Peace at last for a family DNA helps solve MIA case Lindsay Tozer, Times-Union staff writer
Howard Comer was young, a gung-ho patriot bent on the idea of making the world a better place by doing his part to fell communism in Vietnam.....
03/28/2016, from his niece:
His name was Howard Brisbane Comer Jr. He was in the Army with the 187th Assault Helicopter Co. Here's a little information about what happened.