Joel H. Fields – Airman 2nd Class, United States Air Force

From contemporary press reports: 2 September 1998

The remains of a Cynthiana, Kentucky, airman, among a crew of 17 shot down over Soviet airspace during a reconnaissance mission 40 years ago, have been identified and will be interred during ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery today.

The Defense Department said Monday that Airman 2nd Class Joel H. Fields was on board the C-130 Hercules aircraft when it was shot down over Armenia on September 2, 1958.

The C-130 was flying along the Turkish border when it strayed into Soviet territory. It was met by MiG fighters, which shot it down.

The aircraft crashed and burned, the Defense Department said, killing all aboard, victims of the Cold War.

Remains for most of the crew have only recently been identified. In 1958, the Soviet Union returned the partial remains of six crew members.

Later that year, with the assistance of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the Air Force identified three of those who died, leaving the remaining 14 unaccounted for.

It took another 38 years, using modern technology, for the remainder of the original six repatriated to be identified.

Fields was not among that group. With the fall of the Soviet empire, a recovery team from the Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii excavated the crash site in 1993, recovering more than 2,000 bone and tooth fragments, life support
equipment, personal effects and aircraft wreckage.

Included in the group remains with Fields is Staff Sergeant LaRoy Price, of Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Cold War losses

With the identification of the 17 men shot down in 1958, a total of 18 Americans have been linked to Cold War losses. Another 123 remain unaccounted for.

Also See: Armenia Crash File

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