Name: Michael Joseph Blassie
Rank/Branch: 02/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 04 April 1948
Home City of Record: St. Louis, MO
Date of Loss: 11 May 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 114017N 1063428E
Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body not Recovered
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A37

Other Personnel in Incident: None Missing
B394.jpg (11045 bytes)

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 06 September 1996 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.  2020


                                         [US Veterans Dispatch 1996]

In  1984, as a result of the U.S. government's eagerness to lay to rest a
Vietnam Unknown Soldier, it interred the remains of a missing American
serveicemen that today can be identified and accounted for through the U.S.
government Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii (CIL-HI).
The interment of that "unidentifiable" U.S. servicemen in Arlington National
Cemetery, beside the Unknown from World War I, World War II and Korea was
supposed to be the ultimate symbolic gesture in healing the POW/MIA issue,
the Vietnam War's "sorest wound."
Instead, as it turns out, the entombment of the Vietnam Unknown was at the
very best premature and at worst a politically expedient attempt to further
close the books on the POW/MIA issue.
On April 13, 1984, the Defense Department chose a Vietnam Unknown from one
of our sets of remains then at CIL-HI. Because of the progress in
identification techniques, the Defense Department waived an administrative
criteria, which had been followed in earlier wars,that only remains that
were 80% complete were selected as Unknown Soldiers. With today's
advancements in technology and with CIL-HI boasting of its ability to
identify remains of American servicemen from evidence as minute as a tooth
fragment, remains that are 80% complete would be the worst choice for an
Unknown Soldier.
The remains finally chosen by CIL-HI to be the Vietnam Unknown had been
found by a South Vietnamese Army Reconnaissance team in late 1972 near An
Loc, Binh Long Province, which is located 60 miles north of Saigon. The
remains, which consisted of six bones, or only 3% of a skeleton, were
eventually given the number by CIL-HI of X-26. Along with the X-26 remains,
the reconnaissance team had brought in the remnants of a parachute, a flight
suit, a pistol holder and a one man inflatable raft.
CIL-HI determined that X-26 was a caucasian man who had been between 26 and
36 years old at the time of death.
In the surrounding area of An Loc where X-26 had been found, there had been
numerous American servicemen reported missing in action, bodies not
There was at least two C130s, several helicopters and an A37 fighter jet
that went down in that general area during the war prior to the Fall of
1972. The remnants which were found with the bone fragments of X-26 are
important pieces of a puzzle which when placed together point specifically
to the identification of the Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam War.
The piece of a flight suit indicates that the Vietnam Unknown was an airman
and evidence of the existence of a parachute rules out the possibility of a
helicopter crew, thus focusing on the aircrews of the C130's and  the pilot
of the lone A37. The existence of a one man inflatable raft can be argued as
a strong reason to rule out the crews of the C130s, leaving only the pilot
of the A37, who would have been equipped with a one man raft.
In May 1972, near An Loc, an A37, flown by U.S. Air Force let. Michael J.
Blassie was hit by ground fire. Lt. Blassie's wingman saw him crash into
the ground and witnessed an explosion and fire. He did not see any signs
that indicated the survival of Lt. Blassie.
In October, 1972, the U.S. government sent a search team to the crashsite
(probably in response to the remains recovered by the South Vietnamese
Reconnaissance team) and found "identification media that correlated to the
In November, 1992, the U.S. government again visited the area of the
crashsite, and found a witness who had heard about the incident. The
witness, according to a U.S. government source, took U.S. government
representatives to what was believed to be the exact crashsite. The
crashsite, according to the source, had been severely scavenged and U.S.
government investigators were unable to find anything significant pertaining
to the Blassie incident. The crash crater, according to the source, was
being used by a local farmer for a watering hole.
Many facts pertaining to Lt. Blassie's shootdown closely match those of the
Unknown Soldier. CIL-HI determined the Unknown Soldier to be a male
caucasian and between 26-33 years old. Lt. Blassie, was a male caucasian
who, at the time he became missing in action was 24 years old. Remnants
found with the remains of the Unknown Soldier indicate that he was a fighter
pilot. Lt. Blassie, from St. Louis, Mo., is the only fighter pilot listed
Killed-In-Action/Body-Not-Returned within a 2500 square mile area of where
the remains of the Unknown Soldier were found.
If the experts at CIL-HI can identify American MIAs from minute tooth
fragments, as they claim, then they should be able to right this wrong by
determining through DNA if the remains of Lt. Blassie is in the tomb of the
Vietnam Unknown.


Michael Blassie - National Library of Medicine
We want the truth, we want to bring him home. óJean Blassie, mother of 1st
Lt. Michael Blassie, 1998.
 It may be that forensic science has reached the point ...


May 11, 1972: 'The Unknown Soldier' from St. Louis is shot down in ...
May 11, 2018 - Air Force Lt. Michael J. Blassie, who grew up in north St. Louis, was
24 when his A-37 light bomber was shot down in South Vietnam on May 11 ...

Jean Blassie dies; she fought to get her son buried at home in St. Louis
Jun 14, 2013 - The military claimed it didn't know the remains in the Tomb of the
Unknowns were those of Michael Blassie, who died in Vietnam.

Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Blassie |
Members of the Air Force Honor Guard prepare to fold the flag during funeral
services honoring U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Blassie on July 11, 1998, ...

Last soldier buried in Tomb of the Unknowns wasn't unknown - The ...
Nov 8, 2012 - Lt. Michael Blassie, a 1970 graduate of the Air Force Academy,
learned to fly A-37s at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. When he took ...

Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam War - Arlington National Cemetery
Keven Outman, a Boy Scout and member of the Greater St. Louis Area Council,
places a flag at the head stone of Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie Sunday, May 29, ...

Ex-Unknown's Family Plans Burial
The Associated Press

FLORISSANT, Mo.  (AP) - Air Force pilot Michael Blassie's remains are coming
home at last, 26 years after his bomber was shot down in South Vietnam.

Defense Secretary William Cohen called Blassie's family Tuesday and
confirmed its long suspicion that the remains recently removed from the Tomb
of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery belong to Blassie.....


Subject: Fwd: FW: Tomb of the Unknown - 100th Anniversary 2021
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2020 21:22:06 -0500
From: Kathleen Shemeley <>
To: Kathleen Shemeley <>

Hi folks,
Thanks to Moe form Honor Release Return  and to Mary Schantag for sending this along. 
Even though you may already know the story of Michael Blassie,  this presentation by
the History Channel  is excellent and well worth your time.

FYI - morphological approximation is the unscientific method which had been used at
CIL-HI, including for the Pakse excavation in 1985.  Dr. Michael Charney was instrumental
in calling for changes at CIL-HI.


From: POW Network <>
Sent: 13 December, 2020 11:56
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Tomb of the Unknown - 100th Anniversary 2021

History's Greatest Mysteries Solved

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: IDENTITY REVEALED Decades Later | History's Greatest Mysteries: Solved




Return to Service Member Profiles

On July 8, 1998, Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA, now DPAA) identified the remains of First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie, missing from the Vietnam War.

First Lieutenant Blassie joined the U.S. Air Force from Missouri and was a member of the 8th Special Operations Squadron. On May 11, 1972, he piloted an A-37 Dragonfly (serial number 69-6345) on a combat mission over An Loc, Vietnam. First Lieutenant Blassie's aircraft was downed by anti-aircraft fire during the mission, and he was killed in the incident. In October 1972, a ground team recovered remains from the Dragonfly's crash site, but they could not be conclusively identified at the time. In 1998, advances in forensic techniques allowed for the recovered remains to be identified as those of 1st Lt Blassie.

First Lieutenant Blassie is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

If you are a family member of this serviceman, you may contact your casualty office representative to learn more about your service member.