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After Missing In Action For 50 Years, A Soldier Returns Home

Courtesy: US Defense Department
March 24, 2014

This past weekend, a soldier that was missing for 50 years was given full military honors and his remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  During the Vietnam War, Staff Sergeant Lawrence Woods’ plane was shot down, and his remains were not discovered until recently.  Six other crew members on board had been laid to rest shortly after the crash, so their remains were placed within Woods’ coffin, as all were finally put to rest.


Nearly 50 years after his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War in October 1964, the remains of a Tennessee soldier have been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

The ceremony Friday honored crew members of a C-123 Provider aircraft that crashed after it was struck by enemy fire while resupplying the U.S. Special Forces camp at Bu Prang, Vietnam.

The service members include Army Staff Sgt. Lawrence Woods of Clarksville. His remains were recently identified after having been recovered several years ago by U.S. and Vietnamese teams.

The teams also recovered additional remains of six other crew members who were laid to rest shortly after the crash. Those remains were buried with Woods in a single casket.

Dozens of relatives of the soldiers attended the burial at Arlington, where Woods’s children, Steven Woods and Lisa Szymanski, accepted a folded American flag while the United States Air Force band played, The New York Timesexternal link - After Missing In Action For 50 Years, A Soldier Returns Home reported.

Simultaneously, in Woods’ native Clarksville, his memory was honored at a local park in a celebration of his life.

Laura Woods, the wife of Sgt. Woods’ grandson, Bobby, brought the gathering to tears with a eulogy for her grandfather-in-law, The Leaf-Chronicle reported.

“I would like to say ‘thank you’ today to those who have never forgotten, who remember the soldiers and what they do every day. I would like to thank the people who taught us what those initials mean – Prisoner of War and Missing in Action. We will never forget what you have done for all of us, and we appreciate it,” Laura Woods was quoted as saying.

When her husband’s grandfather’s remains were recovered last year, she made it her mission to learn about the symbols associated with the Vietnam War, such as the POW/MIA flag, according to the report.

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