After almost 50 years, the remains of a missing Marine who was shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War are coming home.
The remains of Marine Corps Reserve 1st Lt. William Ryan, known as Billy, were found last year after a decades-long search and they were positively identified through DNA testing, according to the Bergen Record.
The New Jersey native’s plane was hit by enemy fire on May 11, 1969 and crashed along the southern border of Laos.
Ryan held one of the most dangerous jobs in the military as a radio intercept officer on an F-4B fighter jet, and after two years of training, he deployed to Vietnam in August 1968, according the newspaper.
Ryan’s son was just 3 months old when he left for Vietnam.
“I always knew my dad died in the crash, and that’s what my mom told me,” Michael Ryan, 48, told the paper.
“What she didn’t tell me is that part of her held out hope that maybe she’d see his face again.”
The family was notified last month of the identification of Ryan’s remains by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency at the Pentagon.
Ryan will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in a ceremony scheduled for May 10.