After 45 years, veteran returns to final resting place - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

After 45 years, veteran returns to final resting place

(Source: Midland School District via Facebook) (Source: Midland School District via Facebook)
(Source: Midland School District via Facebook) (Source: Midland School District via Facebook)
Major Dale W. Richardson (Source: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website) Major Dale W. Richardson (Source: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website)
Group gathered at the Stone Co. Court House (Source: City of Mountain View) Group gathered at the Stone Co. Court House (Source: City of Mountain View)
MOUNTAIN VIEW, AR (KAIT) -

An Arkansas veteran presumed missing in action was brought home this week to his final resting place.

Army Major Dale Wayne Richardson was welcomed to Mountain View during a procession of young and old Thursday. The crowd gathering under flags raised high or at half staff to honor a man who died serving his country in the Vietnam War.

The man's journey home was arduous and harrowing, but military investigators never gave up searching for the soldier to give his loved ones peace.

A news release this month issued by the U.S. Department of Defense states Major Richardson was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.

It was reported that in 1970 he was a passenger on an UH-1H Iroquois (Huey) helicopter that was en route to Fire Support Base Katum, South Vietnam, when it was diverted because of bad weather.

The helicopter came under heavy enemy ground fire and the Dept. of Defense states the pilot had to make an emergency landing in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia.

Four crewmen and four passengers survived the landing. One crewman evaded capture, the other three crewmen and one passenger was captured. Dept. of Defense states two captured crewmen were released by the Vietnamese in 1973 and remains of the other two captured men were turned over to the U.S. and identified.

It was determined by the agency that Major Richardson died at the crash site during a fire fight with the enemy. However, the soldier's remains were not recovered following that fight.

For twenty years (1992 to 2012) a joint investigation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the U.S. was conducted to search for answers.

In Feb. 2012 the Dept. of Defense stated human remains and military gear was excavated from a single grave.

Major Richardson's remains were later identified by military scientists using forensic tools, which included a mitochondrial DNA match to his sister.

Mountain View Mayor Roger Gardner told Region 8 News the soldier made his way to Little Rock Thursday afternoon.

The escort from Little Rock to Mountain View was met by several in the community including students, faculty and staff from Midland High School.

The fallen hero will be buried with full military honors in Mountain View on Saturday.

Major Richardson's name is placed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor his service. 

A search of the Arlington National Cemetery website shows a marker was placed for Major Richardson. A funeral at the national cemetery is scheduled for Oct. 20.

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