Remains Identified. Burial Aug 8, 2012
Name: Aado Kommendant
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 09 August 1941
Home City of Record: Lakewood NJ
Loss Date: 08 August 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 111630N 1065430E (YT082472)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Charles M. Walling (Missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
SYNOPSIS: 1Lt. Aado Kommendant was backseater to flight commander Capt.
Charles M. Walling on an F4C Phantom jet called to provide close air support
of friendly forces who were in contact with the enemy northeast of Bien Hoa
airbase near Saigon. The two departed Cam Ranh Bay Airbase in South Vietnam
and arrived in the target area without incident. They prepared to make
bombing runs on a suspected enemy troop concentration, and shortly after the
second run, the Forward Air Controller noticed an explosion about two miles
southeast of the target. Both he and the flight leader proceeded to the
scene as no radio replies were received from Walling's F4C. Rescue
helicopters were alerted and arrived within minutes.
No parachutes were seen, nor were there any emergency radio transmissions.
The area of the wreckage could not be seen by air because of dense foliage,
nor could ground troops gain access to the area because it was defended by
enemy troops. The last known location of the aircraft was near the juncture
of Binh Duong, Bien Hoa, Long Khan and Binh Long Provinces in South Vietnam,
about 40 miles northeast of Saigon.
Later that day, Foreign Broadcast Information Service in Okinawa monitored
two radio releases from Radio Hanoi regarding the shoot-down of an F4 and
the killing of two "yankees on board". Because Walling and Kommendant were
aboard the only F4 lost that day in that area, it was felt that if the
releases were true, they related to Walling and Kommendant. This report was
discovered by the family in 1973 and had not been given to them by the Air
Force or Defense Department prior to 1973.
Since American military involvement in Southeast Asia ended in 1975, the
U.S. Government has received thousands of sighting reports of living
Americans in captivity in Southeast Asia. Because many of these reports
cannot be disproven, families of men like Charles Walling wonder if their
loved one could still be waiting to be rescued by the country they loved and
Aado Kommendant and Charles M. Walling were both promoted to the rank of
Major during the period they were maintained Missing in Action.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 658-12
August 06, 2012
Airmen Missing from Vietnam War Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel
Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two
servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been
identified and are being returned to their families for burial
with full military honors.
Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling of Phoenix,
Ariz., and Maj. Aado Kommendant of Lakewood, N.J., will be
buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 8 --
the 46th anniversary of the crash that took their lives.
Walling was individually buried on June 15, at Arlington
On Aug. 8, 1966, Walling and Kommendant were the
crew of an F-4C aircraft that crashed while on a close air
support mission over Song Be Province, Vietnam. Other Americans
in the area reported seeing the aircraft crash and no parachutes
being deployed. Search and rescue efforts were not successful
in the days following the crash.
In 1992, a joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam
(S.R.V.) team investigated the crash site and interviewed a
local Vietnamese citizen who had recovered aircraft pieces from
the site. In 1994, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team excavated the site
and recovered a metal identification tag bearing Walling's name,
and other military equipment. In 2010, the site was excavated
again, and additional evidence was recovered, including human
Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command
and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used
circumstantial and material evidence, along with forensic
identification tools including mitochondrial DNA in the
identification of the remains.
For additional information on the Defense
Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the
DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.