John Edward Crowley – Specialist 4, United States Army

From a contemporary press report:

May 27, 2000) — A Wayne County soldier was buried yesterday in Arlington National Cemetery, nearly 30 years after he was declared missing in action in the Vietnam War.

Army Specialist 4 John Edward Crowley, whose remains were identified earlier this year after being recovered by U.S. and Laotian investigators, was laid to rest with full military honors.

The service was attended by members of Crowley's family and an honor guard of Vietnam veterans from the Rochester, New York,  area. The Crowley family requested a private ceremony.

Crowley, 20, of Williamson, New York,  was declared missing after his helicopter crashed on a secret mission in Laos on August 10, 1970. He was pinned under the wreckage, and a medic determined that he was dead.

When North Vietnamese troops thwarted an attempt to recover Crowley's body, he was officially listed as “killed/body not recovered.”

Investigators learned in 1995 that members of an ethnic minority group in Vietnam had recovered part of Crowley's body and buried it with reverence in their village. Members of the group led a search into Laos last year that recovered more remains.

DNA analysis identified the remains as Crowley's in March 2000. With the recovery, 2,021 Americans are still listed as missing from the war.

From The Memoridal Address at Arlington National Cemetery
by President Bill Clinton, 29 May 2000:

I also want to tell you today about the latest American soldier to come home.  Just last week our team of specialists identified finally and official the remains of a soldier of the 1st Calvary Regiment of the Americal division, whose Huey helicopter was flying in the weeds at 25 feet over Laos in the summer of 1970 when it lost power and crashed.  The young soldier died immediately.  When others rushed to the scene to bring his body out, they were forced back by enemy fire.  When they tried again a short time later, they were again forced back.  But finally, America returned to recover its own.

Years later, with the help of several governments, extensive interviews, excavations, and DNA testing, a positive identification was made. Army Specialist John E. Crowley, of Williamson, New York, forever 20 years old, was laid to rest here in Arlington Cemetery on Friday in a simple ceremony attended by his mother, brother, cousins, nieces, and nephews.  For the life and service of Specialist Crowley, for the sacrifice of his family and every family that has suffered such loss, America is eternally grateful.

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