The DPAA has announced to today that two soldiers from the Vietnam War have finally been accounted for. Air Force Col. Peter J. Stewart and Army Staff Sgt. Marshall F. Kipina, both missing since the Vietnam War in 1966, will soon be returning home.
On March 15, 1966, Col. Peter J. Stewart, a member of Headquarters, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, was the pilot of a two-seater F-4C aircraft, the second in a flight of two on an armed reconnaissance mission over northern Vietnam.
The lead aircraft spotted two vehicles as the flight approached the target area and Stewart responded he was going to strafe the trucks. The lead aircraft, while maneuvering to engage the targets, lost sight of Stewart’s aircraft, but saw a bright orange explosion over the trucks. The flight lead immediately attempted to contact Stewart’s aircraft without result.
No parachutes or emergency signals were seen, and all subsequent attempts to contact Stewart and his aircraft commander were unsuccessful. Due to enemy activity in the area, an organized search was not possible at that time. Stewart was subsequently declared missing in action.
Last year, in June 2017, DPAA identified the remains of the aircraft commander, Col. Martin R. Scott.
Army SSgt Marshall F. Kipina
On July 13, 1966 Kipina was assigned to the 131st Aviation Company, serving as an observer aboard an OV-1C aircraft, on a night surveillance mission from Phu Bai Airfield over Attapu Province, Laos People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.).
Visibility was poor due to heavy thunderstorms. Radar and radio contact were lost with the aircraft, which was not uncommon due to the mountainous terrain in that part of Laos.
When the aircraft did not return as scheduled, search efforts were initiated, but no crash site was found.
They soon will come home again and be buried with military honors.