Full Name: JOHN FRANCIS DUGAN
Date of Birth: 11/10/1947
Date of Casualty: 3/20/1971
Home of Record: ROSELLE, NEW JERSEY
Branch of Service: ARMY
Casualty Country: LAOS
Casualty Province: LZ
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 136-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2006
Army MIA Soldiers from Vietnam War Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of four U.S. servicemen, missing in action since the Vietnam War, have been identified. They will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are: Major Jack L. Barker of Waycross, Georgia; Captain John F. Dugan of Roselle, New Jersey; Sergeant William E. Dillender of Naples, Florida; and Private First Class John J. Chubb of Gardena, California. All were from the Army's 101st Airborne Division. Chubb will be buried in Inglewood, California, on February 18, 2006. Barker, Dugan and Dillender will be buried on April 12, 2006, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington. D.C.
On March 20, 1971, Barker and Dugan were piloting a UH-1H Huey helicopter with Dillender and Chubb on board. The aircraft was participating in a troop extraction mission in the Savannakhet Province of Laos. As the helicopter approached the landing zone, it was hit by heavy enemy ground fire. It exploded in the air and there were no survivors. Continued enemy activity in the area prevented any recovery attempts.
A refugee in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, showed an identification tag of Private First Class Chubb and a medallion to a U.S. interviewer in 1986. The medallion was reportedly recovered near the same general location from an F-105 crash site. However, the location and the aircraft type did not correlate with the missing aircraft and soldiers.
Between 1988 and 2001, joint U.S.-Lao People's Democratic Republic teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted four investigations and three excavations for these soldiers without positive results. An investigation team surveyed three crash sites in 2002 after interviewing local villagers from the province. The team recovered a fragment of human tooth and some crew-related artifacts from one of the crash sites.
In October and November 2004, another joint investigation team excavated the crash site and recovered additional human remains and crew-related evidence. The wreckage was of a UH-1H helicopter, and contained insignia worn by members of the 101st Airborne Division.
The remains included nine fragments of teeth that the forensic anthropologists at JPAC were able to match with etailed information from medical and dental records.
From the Vietnam War, 1,807 Americans are still unaccounted-for with 364 of those from Laos. Another 839 have been accounted-for in Southeast Asia with 208 of those from losses in Laos.
35-year wait ends for families of 4 lost soldiers
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
They waited 35 years, never giving up hope that the remains of their loved ones, whose helicopter crashed on a rescue mission in Laos, would be found.
Four members of the 101st Airborne Division — including Captain John F. Dugan of Roselle — died on March 20, 1971, when their UH-1H Huey chopper was hit by enemy fire as they tried to rescue troops surrounded by North Vietnamese soldiers.
The helicopter exploded in air. There were no survivors. Enemy activity in the area prevented any recovery attempts.
On Tuesday, the Defense Department's POW/Missing Personnel Office officially announced that the remains of the soldiers had been found by search teams from Laos and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
“We were notified in November they had been identified,” said Debbie Winder of Waycross, Georgia, whose uncle, Major Jack Barker, was the chopper pilot. “We are just thankful we can put this to rest, and bring him home.”
Winder was 15 when she answered the phone and an Army official told her that her uncle was missing in action.
“It was devastating,” she said. “My grandmother felt like he was still alive. She could never give in that he was killed. “
John Dugan was 24 and on his second tour in Vietnam when he died.
In “Where They Lay: Searching for America's Lost Soldiers,” author Earl Swift describes Dugan as chunky, 5-foot-6, with a passion for rock-and-roll, cars and the New York Yankees. Dugan graduated from Roselle Catholic High School and attended Union College in Cranford, then surprised friends by eloping with his sweetheart, Barbara, in Maryland.
Dugan signed up for Army Officers Candidate School and went to Vietnam in 1968 as a forward observer. He received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, but never mentioned the decorations to his family, according to Swift.
Impressed with helicopter pilots because they helped people, Dugan went to flight school in Texas, then volunteered for combat because he felt the Vietnamese needed American help.
His mother tried to talk him out of going back to Vietnam, Swift said. Before leaving for the final time, in 1970, Dugan treated her to a Yankees game.
Search teams had been looking for the remains of the missing crew since 1986, when a Thai refugee showed an identification tag of one of them, Pfc. John Chubbof Gardena, Califfornia.
Between 1988 and 2001, the search teams went out again, digging three sites, with no results.
In 2002, the teams recovered a fragment of a human tooth and some crew-related artifacts, the Department of Defense said. In October and November 2004, another joint team excavated a Huey crash site and recovered additional human remains and crew-related evidence. The Huey contained insignia worn by the 101st.
The remains included fragments of teeth that forensic anthropologists at the Joint Command were able to match, using detailed information from medical and dental records.
Barker was identified through dental records, said a nephew, Steve Hinson of Brunswick, Georgia.
“I was [Barker's] ring bearer at his wedding,” Hinson said. “It's just like a dream. For us, it's been 30 years … and just for him being found … it's been just remarkable.”
Hinson has kept in touch with relatives of the crew members.
“I talk to [Sgt. William Dillender's] brother once a week,” Hinson said. “We're pretty close. He's now ready for this chapter to close.”
Hinson also recently talked to Chubb's brother.
Dugan's relatives could not be found Tuesday.
Barker and Dugan were piloting the helicopter with Dillender and Chubb on board while on a troop extraction mission in the Savannakhet province of Laos. Officials said that as the chopper approached the landing zone, it was hit by heavy enemy ground fire and exploded.
There are still 1,807 Americans unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, 364 of those from Laos, the Defense Department said.
Chubb will be buried in Inglewood, Calif., this week, and Barker, Dugan and Dillender will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in April, said the Defense Department's POW/Missing Personnel Office.
Soldiers wait to remove a caskett containing the remains of four U.S. Army servicemen from a horse-drawn caisson, Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at Arlington National Cemetery. The four, Major Jack L. Barker, Waycross, Georgia; Captain John F. Dugan, Roselle, New Jersey; Sergeant William E. Dillender, Naples, Foridla, and Private First Class John J. Chubb, Gardena, California, all members of the Army 101st Airborne Division, were killed in Vietnam March 20, 1971 when their UH-1H Huey helicopter was shot down
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard