Vietnam War U.S. Air Force major accounted for after nearly six decades

Major John C.G. Kerr, reported missing at age 35 during the Vietnam War, has been accounted for as of April 24, 2024. (The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA))

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has confirmed that U.S. Air Force Major John C.G. Kerr, who went missing during the Vietnam War at the age of 35, has been accounted for as of April 24, 2024.

Major Kerr was reported missing after his aircraft, an A-26A Invader attack aircraft, failed to return from a combat mission on August 22, 1967. 

He was on a solo nighttime armed reconnaissance mission over the Plain of Jars in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, according to the DPAA.

When Major Kerr failed to check in via radio and did not return to his base, U.S. forces initiated an extensive search operation. 

Despite employing both electronic and visual search methods in an area known for heavy enemy defenses, no trace of Kerr or his aircraft was found.

The search efforts occurred alongside a report by the New China News Agency, which claimed that an American aircraft had been shot down near Ban Ban on the same day, indicating the likely fate of Major Kerr. 

After years of exhaustive searches and lingering uncertainty, Major Kerr was officially declared Killed in Action on June 4, 1971.

What is the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency?

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is a U.S. government agency within the Department of Defense. Its primary mission is to account for Americans who went missing while serving their country in past conflicts. 

This includes recovering and identifying the remains of service members who were lost in action, ensuring they are returned to their families and receiving the appropriate honors they deserve, according to the agency website. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.