Remains Identified
Name: Johnnie Clayton Cornelius
Branch/Rank: United States Air Force/O2
Unit: 8 Tactical Fighter Wg, Ubon Afld TH
Date of Birth: 22 May 1941
Home City of Record: WILLIAMS AFB AZ
Date of Loss: 26 June 68
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 170152 North 1063254 East
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O2A # 6879
Other Personnel in Incident:
Refno: 1216
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File, United States Air Force Records;Perry Thomas R GS-12
CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS:  Captain Cornelius was the pilot of an 0-2A aircraft
which was on a frag mission when he was killed in action.  The aircraft was
seen to roll in on the target and suddenly go into a steep bank, crash into
trees and explode.  Since his remains have not been recovered and returned,
he is listed by the Department of Defense as unaccounted for in Southeast
No further information available at this time.

November 30, 2007

Pilots Missing From The Vietnam War Are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified.

They are Maj. Robert F. Woods, of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Capt. Johnnie C. Cornelius, of Maricopa County, Ariz., both U.S. Air Force. Cornelius was buried with full military honors on Nov. 10 in Moore, Texas, and Woods' burial is being set by his family.

On June 26, 1968, Woods and Cornelius were flying a visual reconnaissance mission over Quang Binh Province, Vietnam, when their O-2A Skymaster aircraft crashed in a remote mountainous area. The crew of another aircraft in the flight saw no parachutes and reported hearing no emergency beeper signals. Immediate search efforts were unsuccessful.

Between 1988 and 1993, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the incident and surveyed the crash site. The team interviewed several Vietnamese citizens, two of whom turned over human remains and the pilots' identification tags.

Between 1994 and 1997, joint teams re-surveyed the site two times to find a landing location to support a helicopter and recovery team. During their survey, one team found additional wreckage and life-support material.

Between 2000 and 2004, joint teams excavated the site four times. They recovered additional human remains, personal effects and life support materials.

In 2006, a joint team interviewed two former North Vietnamese soldiers who recalled the crash. The soldiers said that Woods and Cornelius were buried near the crash site. In 2007, another joint team excavated the burial site identified by the Vietnamese soldiers. The team recovered additional human remains.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.