It's never too late to honor Americans who gave their lives for their country, and the Air Force Academy will do that for Col. Leo S. Boston of Canon City, who went missing during action over North Vietnam in 1966. He'll be buried with full honors on Friday.
The academy's release:
Col. Leo S. Boston of Canon City, Colo., was a member of the 14th Air Commando Wing assigned to Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand in 1966 when he went MIA.
Then a captain, he was the pilot of an A-1E Skyraider which was on a search and rescue mission when he was reported missing.
The general procedure for a rescue escort entailed two A-1 Skyraiders flying directly to the search area to look for signs of the downed crewmen while two other A-1s escorted the rescue helicopter to the area. If necessary, the A-1s would attack enemy in the area with bombs, rockets and cannon fire so that the rescue helicopter could land.
His aircraft, the lead plane in a flight of two, became separated from the other aircraft during the mission. No visual contact was made and no radio transmissions were received from him. The last known location of the flight was about 5 miles west of the Black River in Son La Province, North Vietnam. The object of Boston's search is unknown. There were several pilots missing from this general vicinity on that day.
He remained in MIA status until April 27, 1978, when his status was changed to presumed dead. During the time he was listed as MIA, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel.
Between 1996 and 2005, joint U.S.-Vietnam teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, analyzed numerous leads, interviewed villagers in Son La Province, and conducted excavations that recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains and crew-related equipment.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA — which matched that of Boston’s mother and brother — in the identification. His remains were positively identified April 4, 2011.
With the accounting of Colonel Boston, 1,687 service members still remain missing from the conflict.