George Andrews Howes – Chief Warrant Officer, United States Army

Date of Birth: 6/16/1950
Date of Casualty: 1/10/1970
Home of Record: KNOX
County of Record: STARKE COUNTY
Branch of Service: ARMY
Rank: CWO
Casualty Country: SOUTH VIETNAM
Casualty Province: QUANG TIN


U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

August 02, 2011

Soldier Missing from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Chief Warrant Officer George A. Howes, of Knox, Indiana, will be buried August 5, 2011, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On January 10, 1970, Howes and three aircrew members were returning to their base at Chu Lai, South Vietnam aboard a UH-1C Huey helicopter. Due to bad weather, their helicopter went down over Quang Nam Province, Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.).  A search was initiated for the crew, but no sign of the helicopter or crew was spotted.

In 1989, the S.R.V. gave to U.S. specialists 25 boxes that reportedly contained the remains of U.S. servicemen related to this incident.  Later that year, additional remains and a military identification tag from one of the other missing servicemen were obtained from a Vietnamese refugee.

Between 1993 and 1999, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted three investigations in Ho Chi Minh City and two investigations in Quang Nam-Da Nang Province (formerly Quang Nam Province).  A Vietnamese citizen in Ho Chi Minh City turned over a military identification tag bearing Howes’ name and told the team he knew where the remains of as many as nine American servicemen were buried.  He agreed to lead the team to the burial site.  In 1994, the team excavated the site and recovered a metal box and several bags containing human remains.  In 2006, the remains of three of the four men were identified and buried.  No remains could be attributed to Howes given the technology of the time.  In 2008, given advances in DNA technology, the remains were reanalyzed.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Howes’ sister and brother—in the identification of the remains.

KNOX, Indiana– A local soldier whose remains were missing for more than four decades came back home to Knox Monday night. Andy Howes was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam when he and his crew disappeared. Monday night, the community turned out to welcome home a hero.

With hands across their hearts and tears in their eyes, people in Knox waited 41 years to say ‘hello’ but more importantly, ‘thank you’ to an old friend.

Rosie Rose grew up with George Andrew Howes, better known as Andy. She said military was in his blood.

“From the time he was in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade, he addressed every adult as sir and m ‘am,” said Rose.

At 19, Andy proudly served his country as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War. But January 10, 1970 was the last time anyone would ever hear from their hometown hero or the crew he traveled with.

“There was an emptiness you cannot imagine,” said Rose.

Now, Andy is finally home.

“Without any of these guys’ work, we wouldn’t be able to be here and show our respect,” said Nathaniel Hollis.

This hero’s welcome was a long time coming, just eight months ago, The Army identified Howe’s remains using DNA. The procession through Knox stretched for miles through a sea or red, white and blue. After decades of hoping and wishing, everyone here says their prayers have been answered.

“That’s a lot of years, but it got done,” said Bertha Clabaugh.

Funeral arrangements are set for Tuesday at the Knox Community Center. Visitation begins at 6 P.M. Central, the funeral will follow at 8 P.M Central.

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