Remains ID announced 06/25/2013

Name: John Lawrence Burgess
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: Company B, 227th Aviation Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
Date of Birth: 05 April 1949 (Sutton's Bay MI)
Home City of Record: Kingsley MI
Date of Loss: 30 June 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 121557N 1071051E (YU372568)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H
Refno: 1645
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 2013.

SYNOPSIS: On June 30, 1970, SP5 John L. Burgess was the crew chief of a UH1H
helicopter on a command and control mission when it was hit by enemy fire,
crashed, and burned near the Cambodia/South Vietnam border in Phuoc Long
Province, South Vietnam.

The other individuals aboard the aircraft included 1Lt. Leslie F. Douglas,
Jr., 1Lt. Richard Dyer, SFC Juan Colon-Diaz, and PFC Goosman. PFC Goosman,
who was thrown clear of the aircraft (he was probably the door gunner), was
the only survivor of the crash.

PFC Goosman later stated that he pulled the aircraft commander clear of the
aircraft, but because of the fire, was unable to free any of the crew
members or the one passenger from the aircraft. Goosman was able to
determine that no one else had survived the crash. He remained at the scene
of the crash site until friendly troops arrived to secure the aircraft
wreckage. The remains of the four crew members were placed in four body bags
and evacuated.

Major Knudson, who arrived shortly after the crash, landed in a secure LZ
adjacent to the crash and picked up Goosman and the 4 body bags. They were
transported directly from the crash site to medical facilities located at
Camp Gorvad, Phuoc Vinh, South Vietnam. Graves Registration at Camp Gorvad
forwarded the four body bags to the mortuary at Than San Nhut to undergo
autopsies. At the mortuary, as identification was conducted, it was
determined that they only had 3 sets of remains rather than four. While
processing the remains at the mortuary, it was discovered that one of the
body bags contained portions of the upper torso and another bag contained
portions of the lower torso of the same individual. After this discovery,
they were combined and positive identifications made of the three
individuals, Douglas, Dyer and Colon-Diaz.

Than San Nhut Mortuary never received any remains correlating to SP5
Burgess, and it was believed that the remains of Burgess were either burned
beneath the wreckage of the aircraft or incinerated in the fire which
engulfed the aircraft after it crashed. The mortuary suggested another
search of the crash site area, but additional searches were not considered
possible because of enemy presence in the area. When a final review of
aerial photographs was made in 1973, there was no evidence of the crashed

SP5 John L. Burgess is maintained with honor among the missing because his
remains were never found to be sent home for burial in the soil for which he
fought. His family can grieve for his death.

For the families of nearly 2500 other missing Americans, grief cannot occur.
They are caught in the uncertainty of not knowing. They are tantalized and
tortured by nearly 10,000 reports received regarding missing Americans in
Southeast Asia. Many of the missing were alive and well the last time they
were seen. Some were in radio contact with would-be rescuers. Others were
seen in captivity and even photographed, only to disappear from the prison

While Burgess may not be among the hundreds of Americans thought to be still
alive, one can imagine his gladly flying one more mission to help bring his
comrades home - alive.

June 25, 2013 at 11:23 pm
Michigan soldier lost in Vietnam identified, scheduled for burial
David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington A U.S. Army crew chief from Michigan missing and presumed 
killed in Vietnam since 1970 has been accounted for and will be buried 
with full military honors, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
 The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office said Army 
Specialist 5th class John L. Burgess of Sutton Bay, the crew chief of 
a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter that crashed in Binh Phuoc Province, South 
Vietnam, in June 1970, has been accounted for using forensic and 
circumstantial evidence.....

June 25, 2013

Soldier Missing from Vietnam War Accounted For

            The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a soldier, missing from the Vietnam War, has been accounted for and will be buried with full military honors along with two of his crew members.

            Army Spc. 5 John L. Burgess, of Sutton Bay, Mich., was the crew chief of a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter that crashed in Binh Phuoc Province, South Vietnam.  Also, killed in the crash were 1st Lt. Leslie F. Douglas Jr., of Verona, Miss.; lst Lt. Richard Dyer, of Central Falls, R.I.; and Sgt. 1st Class Juan Colon-Diaz, of Comerio, Puerto Rico. Another crew member, Pfc. John Goosman, survived the crash and was rescued.  Remains representing Dyer, Colon-Diaz, and Burgess, will be buried as a group in a single casket, on July 2, at Arlington National Cemetery.

            On June 30, 1970, while on a command and control mission, the helicopter was struck by enemy fire, causing it to crash. Shortly thereafter, friendly forces recovered remains of Douglas, Colon-Diaz, and Dyer.  The three men were individually identified and buried with full military honors.  At that time, no remains were attributed to Burgess.

            From 1992 to 2012, more than a dozen joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams investigated the case, in Binh Phuoc Province, recovering human remains, personal effects, military equipment, and aircraft wreckage associated with this loss.    

            Burgess was accounted for using forensic and circumstantial evidence. 

            For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420.