Remains Identified 05/2001

Name: Harley Boyd Pyles
Branch/Rank: United States Air Force/O4
Unit:  20th Tactical Air Support Squadron.
Date of Birth: 20 February 1930
Home City of Record: ENON OH
Date of Loss: 18 October 1965
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 154500 North  1080300 East
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O1E #2600
Other Personnel in Incident: WINFIELF SISSON, MIA
Refno: 0171

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. Updated 2020.



No further information available at this time.


Remains identified as missing colonels
Wednesday, June 20, 2001
San Jose Mercury News
Mercury News

The remains of two colonels, including a former Berkeley resident who
disappeared during a reconnaissance flight over South Vietnam in 1965, have
been identified and are being returned to their families for burial,
officials said Tuesday.  .....

Mercury News wire services contributed to this report. Contact Roxanne
Stites at or (408) 271-3780.


Subject: Air Force Print News for June 21, 2001
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 15:17:52 -0500
From: "82. USAFnews" <usafnews@AFNEWS.AF.MIL>

0827.  Remains of Vietnam War MIAS identified

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The remains of a U.S. Air Force pilot and a Marine
Corps aerial observer missing in action from the Vietnam War have been
identified and are being returned to their families.

Identified were Air Force Col. Harley B. Pyles of Enon, Ohio, and Marine
Col. Winfield W. Sisson of Berkeley, Calif.

On Oct. 18, 1965, their O-1E Bird Dog aircraft encountered low-level cloud
cover and rain en route to Da Nang Air Base from Kham Duc, South Vietnam.
About 10 minutes out from Da Nang, Pyles attempted to make radio contact
with the control tower.  No further radio transmissions were received, and
their aircraft failed to return to any base.

An aerial search was initiated hours later and continued for seven days, but
was ended when no evidence of the men or their aircraft was found.

Throughout the late 1980s, several Vietnamese refugees reported having
information relating to Pyles.  None of these reports could be verified;
however, in April 1992, a Vietnamese citizen turned over to American
officials remains and artifacts that appeared to be those of Sisson.  The
man indicated the remains had been recovered from a crash site in Thua
Thien-Hue Province.

"The support of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam enabled us to account for
these servicemen, and we look forward to continued cooperation," said Alan
Liotta, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/Missing
Personnel Affairs.  "Achieving the fullest possible accounting of Americans
missing in action is of the highest national priority."

Between 1992 and 1995, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam team, led
by the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, interviewed many Vietnamese
nationals believed to have additional remains.  The Vietnamese government
obtained the remains as well as an identification tag bearing Sisson's name.
These remains and material evidence were repatriated to the Central
Identification Laboratory Hawaii, where the forensic identification process
was conducted.

In June and July 2000, a joint U.S./Vietnam team excavated the crash site
where they recovered remains and personal effects as well as crew-related
artifacts.  Fragments of prescription sunglass lenses consistent with the
eyeglass prescription noted in Pyle's medical records were among the
artifacts recovered.

Analysis of the available evidence suggests that Pyles and Sisson died in
what is now Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, when their aircraft crashed on
the side of a mountain.  There is no evidence that either man survived the
crash.  Human remains were recovered by local villagers who scavenged the
crash site, as well as by CILHI personnel who excavated the site.  Some of
the remains were confirmed to be those of Pyles and Sisson on the basis of
dental records and DNA analysis.

There are currently more than 1,900 Americans unaccounted-for from the war
in Southeast Asia.


UPDATE LINE: June 29, 2001
Thank you for calling the National League of Families Update Line.

This message is being recorded Friday, June 29th. According to the
Department of Defense, the number of Americans missing and unaccounted for
from the Vietnam War is 1,973.

On June 20th, the League was informed that six Americans were recently
accounted for. David W. Morrill and Maxim C. Parker, both USMC, were
jointly recovered in South Vietnam June 9, 1993.

The remains of Victor J. Apodaca, Jr., USAF, were repatriated April 27,

The November 14, 1991 joint recovery of the remains of Harry A. Amesbury,
Jr., USAF, brought an accepted identification.

And, the remains of Harley B. Pyles, USAF, and Winfield Wade Sisson, USMC,
were jointly recovered in South Vietnam on April 8, 1993.

The accounting for these six US personnel brings the number now missing and
unaccounted for in Vietnam to 1,481, with 417 in Laos, 67 in Cambodia and 8
in the territorial waters of the PRC. Over 90% of the 1,973 Americans
still missing from the Vietnam War were lost in areas under Vietnam's
wartime control.

 The San Francisco Chronicle
 Thursday, June 21, 2001

DNA test resolves a family's agony / Berkeley Marine lost in '65 identified
Benjamin Pimentel

For the family of Winfield Wade Sisson of Berkeley, the painful mystery of
the Marine captain's disappearance in Vietnam more than three decades is
finally resolved......


Dayton Daily News
Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Dayton Daily News

Clark County pilot's remains being returned to family A U.S. Air Force pilot
from Clark County and a Marine Corps aerial observer from California -
missing in action from the Vietnam War - have been identified and are being
returned to their families......




Return to Service Member Profiles

On April 2, 2001, Joint Task Force–Full Accounting (JTF-FA, now DPAA) identified the remains of Colonel Harley Boyd Pyles, missing from the Vietnam War.

Colonel Pyles entered the U.S. Air Force from Ohio and was a member of 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron. On October 18, 1965, he piloted an O-1G Bird Dog (tail number 2600, call sign "Birddog 55") that took off on a direct air cover and strike mission over South Vietnam. After the mission was accomplished, bad weather over Quang Nam Province caused the aircraft to crash while heading toward Da Nang, and Col Pyles was killed in the incident. The active enemy presence prevented search efforts for Col Pyles' aircraft and his remains were not recovered at the time of his loss. Between 1992 and 2000, joint U.S./Vietnamese teams recovered remains and artifacts from a crash site found in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, and U.S. analysts eventually identified Col Pyles from these remains.

Colonel Pyles 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.