Remains Identified 01/2010
Name: Elton Lawrence Perrine
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 06 January 1935
Home City of Record: Pittsford NY
Date of Loss: 22 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 213300N 1063000E (XJ553835)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Refno: 0706
Other Personnel In Incident: Kenneth F. Backus (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 1990 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: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art
electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing
capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest"
planes around.
1LT Kenneth F. Backus and Capt. Elton L. Perrine were F4 pilots assigned a
combat mission over North Vietnam on May 22, 1967. At a point near the city
of Nam Dinh, their F4C aircraft was struck by enemy fire and crashed.
Because of the probability that both men safely ejected from the crippled
aircraft, they were both classified Missing in Action.
Who was piloting and who was co-pilot  remained a myystery until 2005.
Defense Department records indicate that both Backus and Perrine were
pilots. Usually, one is coded as the rearseater and the other is coded as
the pilot. During a conversation in Washington DC in May 2005, former POW
Dave Gray stated Ken Backus was the backseater on this flight.
591 American Prisoners of War were released in Operation Homecoming in the
spring of 1973, but Backus and Perrine were not. Thousands of reports have
been received by the U.S. Government that indicate hundreds of Americans are
still alive and held captive in Southeast Asia, yet the government seems
unable or unwilling to successfully achieve their release. Policy statements
indicate that "conclusive proof" is not available, but when it is, the
government will act. Detractors state that proof is in hand, but the will to
act does not exist.
Henry Kissinger has said that the problem of unrecoverable Prisoners is an
"unfortunate" byproduct of limited political engagements. This does not seem
to be consistent with the high value we, as a nation, place on individual
human lives. Men like Perrine and Backus, who went to Vietnam because their
country asked it of them, are too precious to the future of this nation to
write them off as expendable.
During the period they were maintained missing, Elton L. Perrine was
promoted to the rank of Colonel and Kenneth F. Backus was promoted to the
rank of Captain.
From: "roy edwardsen"
To: <>
Subject: Recovered Remains Located and Identified
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 11:44:52 -0500

My name is Roy Edwardsen, from Northville N.Y. and I am a Viet Nam Vet U.S. Navy. In 1972 I purchased a POW bracelet and have worn it for 37 years. I contacted the family of my POW many years ago and they sent me a photo of him.  The POW is Elton Lawrence Perrine, USAF, date of loss 5-22-67, dob 1-6-35, location Nam Dinh North Viet Nam.  Yesterday I received notification from his brother that Elton Perrine's remains had been located and identified through DNA, there will be a memorial service at Arlington May 24, 10.  I can't describe the feeling, after 37 years of looking at my bracelet never having had it off that the day has come. I would imagine you can verify this information through your contacts. Then you can update his status.  Never give up I swore I would wear the bracelet until he came home and I did. 

Heights woman wore bracelet for Vietnam MIA whose remains were recently identified; plans to attend Washington, D.C. memorial with family May 24

Friday, March 12, 2010

By Ben Baird, Press & Guide Newspapers

DEARBORN HEIGHTS -- Leave no man behind.

....After the identification of the remains of Col. Elton Lawrence Perrine in January, one more lost soldier has come back. ......

June 02, 2010

Air Force Pilot Missing From Vietnam War Identified

                The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

                Air Force Col. Elton L. Perrine of Pittsford, N.Y., was buried last week at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.  On May 22, 1967, Perrine and Capt. Kenneth F. Backus completed a nighttime strike against the Cao Nung Railroad Yard near the town of Kep in North Vietnam.  Seconds after the bomb run, a nearby aircrew reported seeing an isolated explosion approximately three miles east of the target, thought to be Perrine's F-4C Phantom aircraft crashing.  Search and rescue attempts were not initiated due to heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area. 

                Analysts from DPMO developed case leads with information spanning more than 28 years.  Through interviews with eyewitnesses and research in the National Archives, four locations in Lang Son Province were pinpointed as potential crash sites, separated by as many as 10 miles.

                Between 1999 and 2008, U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, further analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, conducted two surveys and four excavations.  The teams recovered small pieces of aircraft wreckage, human remains, personal effects and life-support equipment from the four locations.

                Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA ? which matched that of Perrine's mother ? in the identification of his remains.  No remains connected to Backus were recovered at the locations. 
POW/MIA bracelets kept memory alive
Journal and Courier
ARLINGTON, Va. - When Col. Elton Lawrence Perrine of Pittsford, N.Y. was laid to rest Monday at Arlington National Cemetery, 43 years after he was shot down over Vietnam, his family and friends finally experienced a sense of closure......