The Vietnam Unknown Controversy

DNA testing has proven that the remains which were buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery are those of United States Air Force First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie.

Lieutenant Blassie's remains were returned to his family on Friday, July 10, 1998, and were buried in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday, July 11, 1998.








Keven Outman, a Boy Scout and member of the Greater St. Louis Area Council, places a flag at the head stone of Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie Sunday, May 29, 2005, at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, as part of the 55th annual Memorial Day observance. Blassie, a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, was shot down in the vicinity of An Loc in South Vietnam, May 11, 1972. His remains were found later at the crash site. Blassie's remains were placed in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery until sophisticated identification techniques identifed him as the unknown soldier. St. Louis area scouts placed 152,000 flags at the head stones More than 4,000 scouts took part in the ceremony.

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The Blassie Family bids farewell to
First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie
St. Louis, Missouri, Saturday, July 11, 1998

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Items Found With Lieutenant Blassie
And Buried In The Tomb of The Unknowns


Ammo Pouch – Michael J. Blassie,
Courtesy of the United States Government


Identification Tag Chain – Michael J. Blassie
Courtesy of the United States Government



USAF Holster Remnants – Michael J. Blassie
Courtesy of the United States Government


USAF Match Container – Michael J. Blassie
Courtesy of the United States Government


Part of A USAF Parachute – Michael J. Blassie
Courtesy of the United States Government


Portions of A USAF Flight Suit – Michael J. Blassie
Courtesy of the United States Government


Upper Arm Bone – Michael J. Blassie
DNA Extracted From This Bone
Courtesy of the United States Government

Information About The Original Interment Of The Vietnam Unknown

Photo Coverage Of The Vietnam Unknown Exhumation: May 14, 1998

Vietnam Unknown Crypt Is Rededicated: 17 September 1999
Honoring and Keeping Faith With America's Missing Servicemen – September 1999
Uncovering The Mystery of the Vietnam Unknown: 30 June 1999
Vietnam Unknown Crypt To Remain Empty Says Defense Department: 17 June 1999
An Empty Tomb Haunts Arlington National Cemetery – February 1999
Tomb of Vietnam Unknown May Remain Empty – February 1999
Medal of Honor Won't Go To Blassie Family – August 22, 1998
Pentagon Reviews Medal of Honor Request By Family: August 19, 1998
Pentagon Reportedly Opposes Medal of Honor For Michael Blassie – August 18, 1998
Blassie's Family Seeks To Keep Medal of Honor: 9 August 1998
Veterans Groups Oppose Medal of Honor For Blassie – August 8, 1998
Michael Blassie Still A Symbol – July 15, 1998
A Letter About The Vietnam Unknown – July 14, 1998
A Stream Of Proud Visitors To Michael Blassie's Gravesite – July 13, 1998
Lieutenant Blassie Buried With Earth From Arlington National Cemetery – July 11, 1998
Lieutenant Blassie Buried In His Hometown – July 11, 1998
Lieutenant Blassie To Be Buried In Hometown – July 11, 1998
No Longer Unknown, A Soldier Comes Home: July 10, 1998
The Body of Lieutenant Michael Blassie Comes Home – July 10, 1998
Tomb Guard Feels A Bond With Blassie – July 7, 1998
Tomb of the Unknowns May Remain Sealed – July 1, 1998
Vietnam Unknown Coming Home At Last – July 1, 1998
Statement By Defense Secretary William Cohen: June 30, 1998
Blassie Remembered By Comrades – June 30, 1998
St. Louis Native's Remains Were In The Tomb – June 30, 1998
Remains of Vietnam Unknown Are Identified – June 30, 1998
Unknown Soldier Is Identified – June 29, 1998
Remains Identified As Michael Blassie – June 29, 1998
DOD Scientists Draw Good DNA Sample From Unknown – June 16, 1998
Promising DNA Sample Recovered From Remains – June 12, 1998
Tomb of the Unknowns Opened With Solemn Hope – Washington Post – May 15, 1998
Families Face Emotional Trial – May 14, 1998
Vietnam Unknown Is Exhumed – Reuters, May 14, 1998
Vietnam Unknown Is Exhumed – CBS News – May 14, 1998
Vietnam Unknown Exhumation Begins – Associated Press, May 13, 1998
Tests Planned For Vietnam Unknown – Associated Press, May 12, 1998
Strobridge's Voyage Through Life – Associated Press, May 9, 1998
Will Blassie's Remains Be Identified? – Associated Press, May 9, 1998
Cohen Orders Exhumation Of Vietnam Unknown – Washington Post – May 8, 1998
Unknown Remains To Be Exhumed On May 14, 1998 – CBS News – May 8, 1998
Family Pleased With Decision To Exhume Unknown – St. Louis Post Dispatch – May 1998
How Unknown Remains Will Be Exhumed – Associated Press – May 8, 1998
Vietnam Unknown To Be Exhumed – CBS News, May 7, 1998
Defense Secretary Orders Vietnam Unknown Exhumed – AP, May 7, 1998
Defense Secretary Announces Vietnam Unknown Decision – DOD, May 7, 1998
Department of Defense Briefing Re: Vietnam Unknown Exhumation: May 7, 1998
Laying To Rest The Last Unknown Soldier – The New York Times, May 3, 1998
Pentagon Makes A Case For Reopening The Tomb – New York Times: 4-28-98
Panel Recommends Disinterment – American Forces Press Service – 4-28-98
Department of Defense Background Briefing: April 27, 1998
Department of Defense News Briefing – April 27, 1998
Pentagon Officials Recommend Opening The Tomb – CBS News – 4-27-98
Pentagon Wants To Test Remains – Associated Press : 4-27-98
Officials Close To A Decision – CBS News – 8 April 1998
A Decision About Disinterment Is Near – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – 8 April 1998
Dispute Over Tomb Pits Policy Against Heart – February 15, 1998
A Name For The Unknown? – February 5, 1998
Missouri Senators Want Answers – January 22, 1998
Airman's Family Ponders Mystery – 22 January 1998
Editorial: St. Louis Post-Dispatch – January 22, 1998
Pilot Remembered In His Hometown – January 22, 1998
The Last Unknown Soldier? (Courtesy of Time Magazine, January 1998)
Pentagon Mulls Tomb of the Unknowns Mystery – 21 January 1998
Missouri Politicians Demand Answers From Pentagon – January 21, 1998
St. Louis Pilot May Be The Vietnam ‘Unknown' – January 21, 1998
Vietnam Unknown May Be Air Force Pilot – 20 Jan 1998
Unknown Vietnam Vet May Be Known After All – 20 January 1998
Pentagon Dealing With Possibility That Vietnam Unknown Was Known
Some Military Officials May Have Know Vietnam Unknown Was Not Unknown

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