CAMERON, VIRGIL KING
REMAINS IDENTIFIED 08/06/99
Name: Virgil King Cameron
Branch/Rank: United States Navy/O2
Date of Birth: 08 May 1939
Home City of Record: MCALLEN TX
Date of Loss: 29 July 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 190000 North 1053500 East
Status (in 1973): Presumptive Finding of Death
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E #152045
Other Personnel in Incident:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File.
REMARKS: SURVIVAL UNLIKELY
1101 Ash Avenue
Top Stories August 6, 1999
Navy pilot comes home
By VILMA MALDONADO
and CINDY LONG
McALLEN - Thirty-three years after Lt. Cmdr. Virgil King Cameron's plane
was shot down in North Vietnam, the Navy pilot is coming home.....
MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS August 27, 1999
The remains of three American servicemen previously unaccounted-for from
Southeast Asia have been identified and are being returned to their families
for burial in the United States.
They are identified as Army Capt. Clyde D. Wilkinson of Mineral Wells, Tex.,
Army Warrant Officer Arthur E. McLeod of Bay Shore, N.Y., and Navy Lt. Cmdr.
V. King Cameron of McAllen, Tex.
On Feb. 12, 1971, Wilkinson and McLeod were flying an armed
reconnaissance mission approximately 37 miles west of Quang Tri, South
Vietnam, when their AH-1G Cobra gunship was struck by enemy ground fire.
The crew attempted to fly the helicopter back to the home base at Khe Sanh
when the aircraft began to smoke and burn, forcing an emergency landing.
Shortly before touchdown the helicopter exploded and crashed. An intense
fire, fed by exploding ordnance, engulfed the aircraft. Other aircraft crew
members involved in the mission flew over the crash site, but saw no
evidence of survivors. The presence of enemy forces in the area precluded a
In July 1993, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam team, led by the
Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, traveled to Quang Tri Province and
interviewed a villager claiming to have knowledge of a U.S. helicopter
crash. However, the team found no evidence of a crash at that time. In May
1995, another team interviewed two local villagers claiming to have
information about two U.S. crash sites in the same province. One of the
sites was scheduled for excavation.
During May and June of 1997, a third team excavated the crash site. They
recovered human remains as well as personal effects and pilot-related items.
On July 29, 1966, Cameron took off from the USS Constellation on an armed
reconnaissance mission over the coastal waterway of North Vietnam. As he
attacked a barge near Nghe Tinh Province, his A-4E Skyhawk was hit by enemy
fire. The mission flight leader observed fuel streaming from Cameron's
right wing shortly before his plane crashed. There was no sign of an
ejection and when the flight leader flew over the crash site, he concluded
that no one could have survived the impact.
In 1990, Vietnam repatriated to the United States 20 boxes containing
remains believed to be those of U.S. servicemen. Documents supplied at the
time suggested that the remains in one of the boxes were those of an
American pilot who died in a crash in Nghe Tinh Province. Analysis of these
remains failed to associate them with any known U.S. loss.
In June 1993, a joint U.S./Vietnam team traveled to Nghe An Province
(formerly Nghe Tinh) and interviewed several villagers who reportedly had
information about the crash of a U.S. aircraft which might correlate with
Cameron's loss. The team found no wreckage during their investigation, but
one of the villagers turned over a fragment of aircraft wreckage taken from
the crash site. However, after analysis it was found that fragment was from
an F-105 Thunderchief and thus not associated with his crash.
Two other teams investigated alleged crash sites in 1994 and 1998
with negative results.
In February 1998, Vietnam issued a report stating that the remains
repatriated in April 1990 may be those of Commander Cameron. The date of
loss supplied by the Vietnamese in 1990 actually related to an individual
whose remains had been repatriated in 1989 and subsequently identified. The
correction of this information ultimately led to the identification of the
1990 remains as those of Cmdr. Cameron.
Anthropological analysis of the remains and other evidence by the U.S. Army
Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii confirmed the identification of
Wilkinson, McLeod and Cameron. With the accounting of these three
servicemen, 529 Americans have been identified from the war in Vietnam and
returned to their families. There are currently 2,054 Americans
unaccounted-for from that war.
The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of the
government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which resulted in the
accounting of these servicemen. We hope that such cooperation will bring
increased results in the future. Achieving the fullest possible accounting
for these Americans is of the highest national priority.