James Larry Hull – First Lieutenant,United States Air Force

  • Date of Birth: 12/28/1945
  • Date of Casualty: 2/19/1971
  • Home of Record: LUBBOCK, TEXAS
  • Branch of Service: AIR FORCE
  • Rank: 1LT
  • Casualty Country: LAOS
  • Casualty Province: LZ
  • Status: MIA

NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
October 12, 2006

Air Force Pilot Missing in Action From Vietnam War is Identified

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

He is First Lieutenant James L. Hull, U.S. Air Force, of Lubbock, Texas. He will be buried November 13, 2006, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.


On February 19, 1971, Hull and a fellow crew member were flying a mission near the Laos/Vietnam border when their O-2A Skymaster crashed. Both men died, but Hull's body was buried in the wreckage and could not be recovered because of hostile enemy action.

Between 1993 and 1997, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) led three investigations with U.S. and Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, and one trilateral investigation with a Lao People's Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team. During the first investigation, the team interviewed a Vietnamese citizen who produced human remains and an identification tag for Hull that he claimed to have recovered from a crash site located just inside Laos. The joint team was not allowed to cross the border and the investigation was suspended. The Vietnamese turned over the bone fragment to U.S. officials, but the ID tag's whereabouts are still unknown.

Additional investigations yielded some information concerning a crash site located just inside the Laotian border. The S.R.V. allowed a Vietnamese national to walk to the purported crash site and collect a fragment of the wreckage. Based on the location, type of aircraft and retrieved wreckage, analysts determined it was Hull's crash site.

In May 2006, a joint U.S. and L.P.D.R. team excavated the site where they recovered additional evidence and human remains.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA from a known maternal relative in the identification of the remains.

RIVER FOREST, Illinois – A suburban Chicago woman is burying her husband tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery — 35 years after he was killed in the Vietnam War.The funeral marks the end of a long journey for Tyra Manning, a River Forest educator. She's been hoping that she would have a chance to bury her husband ever since military officials told her in 1971 that he'd been shot down and killed in Laos and his body wasn't recovered.

The remains of Air Force First Lieutenant Larry Hull were recovered earlier this year.

Manning says the service is a chance for her and her adult daughter — who wasn't yet two years old when her father died — to find peace.

And she says she hopes it helps the men who served with Hull, who were always bothered that they couldn't recover his body.

‘Now we can bury Larry with honour at last'

Thirty-five years after she was widowed at the age of 19, Tyra Manning received the remains of her aviator husband last month.

Lieutenant Larry Hull’s Skymaster aircraft was lost in Laos in 1971 during a reconnaissance mission scouting for jungle landing sites for Special Forces teams. His remains were found by JPAC.

Mrs Manning, now a teacher from Illinois, said: “We were always sure it would happen one day. We always prayed that we would be able to bury Larry in Arlington National Cemetery with the honour that is due him, and now we can.

“Closure is an overused word but this has brought a lot of peace after all these years for me and for our daughter Laura.” Lieutenant Hull had always wanted to follow his father into the air force. He believed he was serving freedom by fighting in the war.

Mrs Manning said: “We married young and we were full of hope and plans for the future. It was extremely difficult when he was killed.

“I am so sorry now when I hear that a family has lost a loved one in Iraq. I know what that is like.”

13 November 2006:

Larry Hull knew exactly what he wanted.

His father was an Air Force master sergeant who worked on planes. And from the time Larry was a boy, he wanted to join the Air Force, like his father.

But the young man wanted to fly.

“Flying and flying in the Air Force went together for him,” said Tyra Manning, who married First Lieurenant Hull in the spring of 1966, while the two were students at Texas Tech University.

As soon as he finished school in 1968, Hull enlisted in the Air Force and began flying. He understood that he'd wind up in Vietnam. In the summer of 1970, he went to war.

Again, facing the dangers of combat, he made it clear what he wanted. He told his wife that he wished to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

This Veterans Day weekend — 35 years after he was shot down in Laos, where his body remained with the scorched wreckage of his plane until this year — that request will finally be granted.

A memorial service in Arlington today will mark the end of a long journey for Mrs. Manning and daughter Laura Hull. Hull's fellow soldiers will be there, too, finally able to say goodbye to their fallen comrade.

Mrs. Manning knew that her husband was flying over the Ho Chi Minh trail and that the flights involved reconnaissance. What she didn't know was that he'd volunteered for the highly classified “Prairie Fire” unit, where he commanded the planes and helicopters that dropped Special Forces teams behind enemy lines and pulled fighters from the jungle to safety.

On February 19, 1971, Hull's unit was searching for the crew of an American helicopter that had been shot down. The 25-year-old pilot died instantly after his plane also was shot down, trapping him behind the engine. A Sergeant with him also died.

Mrs. Manning never knew the details of her husband's death.

In fact, because the unit was so secret and much of the information about it remained classified long after the war ended, she never talked to or even knew about any of its members.

I communicated solely with representatives of the military, and I did that regularly,” she said.

There wasn't time to dwell on it. She had to raise a daughter who was not yet 2, continue her education and find a job.
“I was pretty focused,” she said.

In 1993, the Air Force called her with news that farmers just inside Laos, along the Vietnam border, had found some human bones and Hull's dog tag. Tests using a DNA sample given by Hull's mother confirmed the identification.

With the news, Mrs. Manning contacted the man who had packed Mr. Hull's belongings and sent them to her 22 years earlier. Meanwhile, Hull's remains stayed in Laos. After years of negotiations with the Laotian government, U.S. officials were allowed to go to the site in May and recover what they could.

Today, the journey ends.

“I'm not sure if I like the word ‘closure.' Laura and I have gone on with our lives,” Mrs. Manning said. “But this is a kind of peace, of having the opportunity to have Larry's remains come home and to have it finished.”


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 12/28/1945
  • DATE OF DEATH: 02/19/1971

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