Remains ID announced 09/30/19

Name: Neal Clinton Ward
Branch/Rank: United States Air Force/O2
Unit:  602nd Special Operations Squadron
Date of Birth: 22 June 1945
Home City of Record: COLLEGE STATION TX
Date of Loss: 13 June 1969
Country of Loss: LAOS
Loss Coordinates: 0 0
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H
Other Personnel in Incident:
Refno: 1452

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. 2020



No further information available at this time.


Library of Congress files:

Memo for Record Regarding Change of Status for Neal Ward
Name: Neal C. Ward

Comments: Air Force Status Changes Since 27 January 1973 enclosed

Reel: PDS22

Type of Document: Memorandum

Date of Report: 78 06 21

Date of Information: 78 06 19




The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense collaborated with the Laotian government and conducted three ...

From: Everette, Sean P SFC USARMY DPAA OC (USA)
Sent: 9 January, 2020 13:35
To: Undisclosed recipients:
Subject: Texas Pilot Accounted For From Vietnam War

Dear Editor,

Jan. 9, 2020

WASHINGTON- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today
that Air Force Maj. Neal C. Ward, 23, of College Station, Texas, killed
during the Vietnam War, was accounted for July 19, 2019.

(This identification was initially published July 26, 2019.)

In June 1969, Ward was a pilot assigned to the 602nd Special Operations
Squadron. On June 13, 1969, Ward was piloting an A-1H aircraft as the lead
in a flight of two on an armed reconnaissance mission in northern Laos. Both
aircraft made four bombing runs on a target, after which Ward started a
strafing run. His wingman followed but broke off when he could not complete
his run without entering the clouds. During his recovery, the wingman saw
automatic weapons muzzle flashes coming from the target area, followed
immediately by a large fire and explosion. The wingman could not make
contact with Ward and did not observe a parachute or hear any distress
calls. The wingman made a pass over the target area and saw debris, but was
unable to identify it as aircraft wreckage. Because of hostile enemy
activity, a ground search could not be conducted. On June 20, 1978, the
Department of the Air Force changed Ward's status to deceased.
Between 1993 and 2008, joint U.S./Lao People's Democratic Republic teams
investigated a crash site allegedly associated with Ward's loss,
recommending it for excavation. The site was excavated and teams recovered
possible human remains and personal items. The remains were sent to the DPAA
laboratory for analysis.

To identify Ward's remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological
analysis, as well as material and circumstantial evidence. Additionally,
scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial
DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

DPAA is grateful to the Lao People's Democratic Republic for their
cooperation in this effort.

Today, 1,587 American servicemen and civilians remain unaccounted for from
the Vietnam War. Ward's name is engraved on the National Vietnam Veterans
Memorial in Washington, DC, and the Courts of the Missing at the National
Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others who are
unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his
name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For family information, contact the Air Force Casualty Assistance Office at
(800) 831-5501.

Ward will be buried in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The date has yet to be

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account
for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA
website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa
or call (703) 699-1420/1169.

Ward's personnel profile can be viewed at



Sean P. Everette
Public Affairs NCOIC
Outreach and Communications
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
241 18th St. South, Suite 800
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 699-1420





Return to Service Member Profiles

On July 25, 2019, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) accounted for Maj. Neal Clinton Ward, missing from the Vietnam War.

Ward entered the U.S. Air Force from Texas and was assigned to the 602nd Special Operations Squadron. On June 13, 1969, Ward piloted an A-1H Skyraider (tail number 52-134614, call sign "Firefly 20") as the lead in a flight of two aircraft on an armed reconnaissance mission over Laos. After making a series of bomb runs on a convoy of enemy trucks, Ward's Skyraider was shot down by enemy ground fire. He was killed in the incident, but his remains could not be recovered at the time. Subsequent to the incident, the U.S. Air Force posthumously promoted 1st Lt. Ward to the rank of Major. Between 1993 and 2018, joint U.S./ Laotian teams traveled to Laos and excavated the crash site associated with this loss. They recovered human remains, Ward's military identification card, and life support items. These remains and artifacts were brought to a DPAA laboratory, and based on forensic testing and historic research, Ward was identified. 

Ward is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

To read the news release of Ward's identification, click here.

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