Remains found - 07/2009 

Name: Michael Patrick Herbert
Rank/Branch: O3/RAAF [Flying Officer, Lt.]
Unit: 2nd Squadron, Australian Royal Air Force, Phan Rang
Date of Birth: 24 at time of loss
Home City of Record: Australia
Date of Loss: 03 November 1970 (some records show 4 Nov)
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: YC857430
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: B57, Canberra Bomber # A84-231
Refno: 1671
Other Personnel in Incident: Robert C. Carver (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 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 with information from Australia's Bob Coker.


SYNOPSIS: In 1984, the Australian government sent delegates to Vietnam to
find fresh evidence on missing Australians. It was abandoned when the party
failed to learn anything about the men's fate. Australian foreign affairs
minister, Bill Hayden, recommended the cases be closed, that the Vietnamese
government had cooperated fully with the search and the subject of the
missing men, and it should no longer be an issue between the two countries.

Yet reports continue to be received in the U.S. from refugees and
intelligence sources convincing many authorities that hundreds of servicemen
are still being held captive. The veterans of Australia, like those of
Canada and the U.S. refuse to accept their governments' dismissal of the

At least five Australians are missing who were not directly associated with
U.S. forces. Two of the five are Capt. Robert C. Carver, Navigator,  and
Capt. Michael P. Herbert, pilot, lost on November 3, 1970.

Carver and Herbert were stationed at Phan Rang, South Vietnam. On November
3, 1970, they were sent on a bombing mission over Da Nang. About 8:22 p.m.
Carver radioed "Magpie" base that he had dropped the bomb load from their
B57 Canberra bomber from 7,000 meters altitude.

At 10:15, radio contact was lost with the aircraft, and it failed to return
to base. There is varied opinion as to their fate. One popular theory is
that a Viet Cong heat-seeking missile tracked them down and sent the No. 2
Squadron bomber down in dense jungle.

Search teams tried to locate Carver and Herbert, but were unsuccessful. It
was never learned for sure if they survived the crash of the aircraft. Both
men were classified Missing in Action.

Carver and Herbert do not appear on most U.S. lists since they were not U.S.
citizens. However, as thousands of U.S. veterans would confirm, the
"Aussies" were welcome additions to any mission. Their bravery was well
known, and they were well-liked. 47,000 Australians were sent to Vietnam
between 1961 and 1971; 504 were killed and 2,500 were wounded. None were
captured -- or were they?

The Australians sent their young men to help in a war that was not their
own. It is fitting that Americans should include their missing in their
quest for freedom for those still prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in
Southeast Asia.



Herbert, Michael Patrick John
Number:  044310
Rank:  Flying Officer [FO]
Unit:  2 Sqn
Service:  RAAF
Conflict:  Vietnam, 1962-1972
Date of Death:  03/11/1970
Place of Death:  Vietnam (air operations)
Cause of Death:  Missing presumed dead (battle casualty)
Memorial Panel:  5
Cemetery or Memorial Details:
Next Of Kin:  Father and Mother - Mr & Mrs J P Herbert
Source:  AWM153 Roll of Honour cards, Vietnam


Minister for Defence Media Mail List

Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science

Thursday, 30 July 2009


Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, today announced that the remains of the final two missing Australian Defence Force personnel from the Vietnam War have been located.

“An Air Force investigation team which recently deployed to Vietnam have found human remains at the site where the wreckage of a Royal Australian Air Force Canberra bomber was located in April this year,” Mr Combet said.

“The aircraft, which went missing on 3 November 1970, was flown by Flying Officer Michael Herbert and Pilot Officer Robert Carver. The wreckage was located in thick jungle in an extremely rugged, remote and sparsely populated area of Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, near the Laotian border.”

Mr Combet said the recovery team discovered human remains in the vicinity of the crash site. The remains were transported to Hanoi, where Vietnamese and Australian forensic specialists identified them as those of Flying Officer Michael Herbert and Pilot Officer Robert Carver.

“Relatives of the two crew members have been advised of the discovery and Air Force will continue to keep them updated. These airmen gave their lives in the service of their nation. I hope finding the remains of the airmen will bring some comfort to the families.

“This is an excellent result for the investigation team and the cooperation of the Vietnamese authorities has been exceptional and highly valued by the team and the Government of Australia.

“Invaluable assistance has been given by a number of former North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers and their commanders as well as many local villagers.  Their compassion and commitment to assisting this vital mission is greatly appreciated,” Mr Combet said.

Mr Combet praised the work of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation in using innovative modelling techniques in order to refine the area of interest, plus the exhaustive and skilled research and expertise of the Army History Unit in supporting the investigation.

He also acknowledged the efforts and commitment to the recovery of Australian war dead shown by Jim Bourke and Operation Aussies Home.

A timetable for the return of these remains to Australia has yet to be agreed between the Australian and Vietnamese Governments. Details of the burial of the airmen are a private matter for the families.

Media Note

Further details of the successful recovery mission will be made publicly available once the Air Force team returns from Vietnam and has had the opportunity to fully brief the Herbert and Carver family members.

Images of FLGOFF M.P. Herbert, PLTOFF R.C. Carver, and a Canberra Bomber can be found on the Defence website at:


Select still imagery of the expedition can be found at http://www.defence.gov.au/media/download/2009/jul/20090730/index.htm

Vision will be made available through networks at Parliament House at approximately 16:00.

Further imagery will become available upon the return of the expedition.

Background on Flying Officer Herbert and Pilot Officer Carver

Flying Officer Michael Herbert was 24 years old when the Canberra bomber was lost. He was the pilot of “Magpie 91” and was a veteran of 198 operational sorties over Vietnam. FLGOFF Herbert joined No. 2 Squadron in February 1970. He was from Glenelg, South Australia.

Pilot Officer Robert Carver was also 24 years old. He was the navigator on “Magpie 91” and had conducted 33 sorties in Vietnam. PLTOFF Carver joined No. 2 Squadron in September 1970. He was from Toowoomba, Queensland.

Media contacts:
Rod Hilton (Greg Combet):         02 6277 4771 or 0458 276 619
Defence Media Liaison:             02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664


Belated homecoming for long-lost Vietnam War dead Michael Herbert, Robert Carver

By Max Blenkin

Deceased Vietnam Veterans, Lance Corporal Richard Parker and Private Peter Gillson remains were repatriated back to Australia from Hanoi. Picture: Gary Ramage Source: The Daily Telegraph.....The remains of Flying Officer Michael Herbert and Pilot Officer Robert Carver, both lost in 1970, were placed on an RAAF Hercules for the trip from Hanoi to Australia.....