Robert M. Elliot
Air Force Colonel
MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS December 27, 1999
The remains of an American serviceman previously unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial in the United States.
He is identified as Air Force Colonel Robert M. Elliot of Springfield, Mass, U.S.A.
On Feb. 14, 1968, Elliot was flying his F-105D Thunderchief on a strike mission over Hanoi, North Vietnam, when he was hit by a surface-to-air missile. He radioed to the other pilots in the flight that he had been hit and they witnessed his crash. None of the other pilots saw any ejection attempt nor heard any emergency beeper signals, but one reported seeing a streaming (unopened) parachute at approximately 3,000 feet.
In April 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam turned over remains to the United States that they attributed to Elliot. Returned with those remains was his military identification card. Then in 1992, Vietnam provided to U.S. officials several documents related to U.S. losses during the war. One entry was for Elliot. The description indicated that he died from his injuries.
In 1994, a joint U.S.-Vietnamese team interviewed residents of the province where Elliot’s plane crashed. They took the team to the spot where they had buried his remains in 1968 and subsequently turned them over to their government for repatriation to the United States.