Major Donald G. Carr, a United States Army Special Forces soldier, went missing on July 6th, 1971 while on a reconnaissance mission when his aircraft went down in Laos. On May 11, 2018, he will finally return to American soil and be buried at the San Antonio National Cemetery in Texas.
At the time he went missing, Donald “Butch” Carr was a captain serving in Mobile Launch Team 3, Task Force 1 Advisory Group. Formerly known as MACV-SOG, Captain Carr’s unit actively engaged in cross-border intelligence collection and interdiction operations.
On the afternoon of July 6, 1971 Captain Carr was onboard an Air Force OV-10A Bronco aircraft that was being flown by Air Force Lieutenant Daniel W. Thomas. A ground reconnaissance team reported hearing an impact or explosion in their vicinity at 1600 hours but did not report seeing the aircraft. Carr and Thomas had been scheduled to depart the area at 1700 hours but made no radio contact. Their aircraft disappeared 15 miles inside Laos, but search efforts were unable to locate any wreckage. Carr and Thomas were part of the nearly 600 American service members who went MIA in Laos during the Vietnam War. Between September 1991 and March 2014, joint teams conducted 25 investigations and site surveys, without being able to identify wreckage or remains.
Maj. Donald G. Carr’s remains return home to San Antonio after he was declared missing in action in 1971. Today he received a dignified transfer. pic.twitter.com/LuyPcstV4A
— Matthew Seedorff (@MattSeedorff) May 9, 2018
In April of 2014, a Vietnamese citizen contacted American officials and said they had information about American remains in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam; they provided photographs of “dog tags” for one of the two crewmembers involved in the crash. The plane wreckage, personal effects, and remains were located and transferred to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). Major Carr was listed as “accounted for” on August 19, 2015. Captain Thomas was identified in March 2018.
Major Carr’s remains were returned home to San Antonio on May 9; he will receive a burial with full military honors at the San Antonio National Cemetery on May 11, 2018.
There are still 1,598 American service members and civilians unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.