Air Force official on MIA mission to Vietnam
COLORADO SPRINGS ” An Air Force Academy official is headed to Vietnam for a third time to try to locate airmen who went missing during the Vietnam War.
Master Sgt. Greg Meinert will work at suspected crash sites to look for remains of some 568 Air Force airmen who remain missing 34 years after the war’s end.
The Vietnam War was the bloodiest for the Air Force. Nearly 2,600 airmen were killed during a decade of fighting there.
Meinert says he’ll be sifting dirt with mesh sieves looking for remains.
“We excavate the ground,” he told The (Colorado Springs) Gazette. “The screen is really small so we don’t lose anything.”
The Air Force Academy instructor says he didn’t serve in Vietnam but now appreciates how difficult it must’ve been to fight in the hot jungles there.
“I don’t know how they fought a war over there in that heat,” he said.
But Meinert said the miserable conditions don’t slow the search.
“These kids died out there,” he said. “If I have to sweat a bit, that’s nothing.”
Meinert’s team of searchers from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command will start its work in Hanoi and will be in Vietnam for two months.
The Command is charged with finding missing military personnel from all wars. Meinert is trained to spot bits of parachute harness, fragments of flares or tattered oxygen masks, identifying a crash site.
On his last trip to Vietnam, Meinert’s team located some remains of one missing airman.
“The last time when we found a tooth everything just stopped,” Meinert said. “We were so excited we could bring somebody home.
“You forget about everything else.”
Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com
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