31 March 2010 — Star Valley, AZ
- Marital Status: Married 1
Vietnam War 1
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16 April 2010 — Monticello, IN
The latest MIA update from Dean's family: Dean's brother, Jack, went to the National Family Update for MIA's in June 2009 and found that the excavation team is getting closer to Dean's crash site. It's in the Sekong Province in Laos. So much depends on weather, but they're at a site right next to his. The US is at the mercy of the Laotian government. The team can only work 30 days at a time, and excavations had to be from north to south, Sekong is the next to the last in the south. So it should be soon, and they should know more in the next year. ~ Rest In Peace, Brother, Until You Are Found ~ You Are Not Forgotten ~
March 30, 2015 — Monticello, Indiana
The latest update from Dean's brother, Jack and his sister Kay, on March 22, 2015. The JPAC Recovery Teams, after getting access in 2010, have searched the crash site four out of five of the last years and have finished their excavation and closed their operations for this crash site, finishing up in the late summer of 2014. The Laotian government was not very cooperative in letting the recovery team in to do their work. Still being a Communist country, Laos does not trust the American government and would only agree to let helicopters from New Zealand to have access to the crash site in order to take in the American Recovery Teams. They would only allow them access for 30 days at a time for each year: 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. In 2012, they were unable to access the site because of the lack of funding due to budget cuts.
The JPAC team found pieces of the plane to verify that this was the crash site for Dean’s plane of which he was a crew member. They found pieces of landing gear, engines, propeller, fuselage and various other parts of the plane. They found larger pieces of the fuselage in a nearby village which had been scavenged by the villagers which used them for building materials. The village was about a half hour walk from the crash site. The villagers were interviewed to find whatever they could about the crash or crash site, but it had been nearly 50 years since the incident, so not much information was gathered from the elder villagers.
They have found enough information on five out of the six of the crew members to verify their identity. Dean is the only one that they have not found anything for verification. They found a helmet with part of the pilot/co-pilots name on it and a billfold with enough ID information to identify one of the crew members. They found dog tags and dog tag pieces to identify two others, there were several pieces of watches and watch bands, also a cigarette lighter. There were also some bone fragments and they have a tooth that even with today's technology, they aren’t able to get enough DNA to identify who it belonged to. They say that with future improved technology, they might be able to verify it some day. They also found a piece of a particle denture that they used to identify one member of the crew. The soil at the crash site was so acidic, that it severely compromised artifacts from being preserved for all these years. They only brought out articles of importance that could identify personnel. Aircraft parts and pieces were left at the site, stating that there was no purpose of bringing them out.
So, the family of Dean Devall still does not have the final closure that they have hoped for, but do realize that there is very little hope of finding out anything more to give them the closure that they so deserve, after having sought and searched for it all these years. God bless them, and thank you, Dean, for your service and the sacrifice you made for your country.
Rest In Peace ~ You Are Not Forgotten
02 April 2015 — Monticello, IN
Family gives update on missing serviceman
By GWEN RODENBERGER – Editor: News and Review in White County, Indiana
Forty-nine years ago, A1C Dean DuVall, of Buffalo, IN along with his fellow crewmen, departed in a "Spooky"- an AC47D from an air base in Vietnam for a military mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Twenty-two minutes later the pilot radioed in during a routine check that everything was fine. That was the last anyone ever heard from the plane or its crewmen again.
Since then the DuVall family has sought closure. Dean is one of more than 1,400 servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War. The U.S. military has worked toward the same goal, in a continuing effort to bring back the remains of servicemen and women who went missing.
Last month Jack DuVall, of Buffalo, Dean's brother, presented the results of excavations of the AC-47D's crash site - and the search for Dean and his fellow crewmen - during a special gathering at Sitka Baptist Church.
DuVall and his sister, Kay DuVall Martinez, told the audience that when they were informed Dean was missing, they were instructed to keep quiet. They found out the reason years later. The plane was routed over Laos, which at the time was considered a neutral country. "We were never there.” Martinez said.
With a thick three-ring binder of results released from the military they can now talk.
The plane's remains were found in Xekong Province in the southern portion of Laos. In 1997, the military's research of crash sites with the Laotian people led to finding the plane's location.
The Laotian government, however, remains suspicious of Americans since the war. Excavations can only last for 30 days and only be done during certain times of the year. Once the 30 days are up, negotiations can begin on returning to the site. American helicopters are forbidden, so the archeological crews used helicopters from New Zealand.
Excavations began in October-November 2010. Follow-up excavations were in 2011, 2013 and 2014 - 2012 was skipped due to sequestration, when the federal government partially shut down. Most government workers only worked four days a week, which made excavations impossible, DuVall explained.
The plane, full of ammunition and virtually full of fuel, flew at a low angle into the side of a sand mountain, causing the propellers to dig deeply into the mountainside. Between the resulting explosion and the very acidic soil, few personal effects could be collected. Only a dental bridge and a molar belonging to Edwin Morgan, the plane's load master, are the only remains that are identifiable. A small bone fragment and another tooth was found, but they are so degraded no DNA can be extracted using current technology, to identify the person or persons they may belong to, DuVall said.
Some personal effects were found as well - dog tags, ID cards and Geneva Convention cards, pieces of watches, a helmet fragment with a name on it, lighters, keys, pennies, pocket knives, a can opener, a leather wallet that protected the paper effects of crew chief Eugene Davis from the acidic soil, and parts of a pocket compass. But nothing was recovered that could be identified as belonging to his brother, DuVall said.
Because several of the items could be identified as belonging to other members of the crew and because the site has been completely excavated and no more artifacts were found when the military expanded the dig outside the crash area, DuVall said the family is coming to terms with the fact that the mountainside in Laos is Dean's final resting place.
"We know a whole lot more than we did 49 years ago.” Martinez said. "It's not over for us. It is, but it's not.”
DuVall said a branch of the CIA continues to work in Southeast Asia, following up on any leads the staff is given. However, there's no evidence any Americans remain alive over there.
Morgan's surviving family will be escorting his remains from Hawaii, where it was taken when the crews left the crash site, and he will have a burial near his home.
DuVall and Martinez, however, do not have a body, but they and the rest of their family are working on plans for a memorial service. What kind of memorial service and when are questions they have not answered yet, he said. But they hope to schedule a service for their brother in the next few months, who posthumously received the Distinguished Flying Cross and was promoted to chief master sergeant.
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