A Hero’s Welcome: He Laid Down His Life In The Vietnam War, Now He’s Coming Home To Texas

Capt. Robert R. Burnett

Air Force Captain Robert R. Barnett was 32 when he was killed in the Vietnam War. His remains were returned to Austin, Texas for burial with full military honors on April 7, 2017.

On April 7, 1966, Barnett was a member of the 8th Bomb Squadron. He was piloting a B-57B bomber on a mission over Laos. During a dive bombing run, the plane crashed so violently it disintegrated and caught fire. No parachutes were seen from the plane, and hostile enemies in the area prevented a team from conducting a search and rescue mission at the site. After the crash, Barnett was listed as killed in action.

Capt. Robert R. Burnett
Capt. Robert R. Burnett

A joint team from the US and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) visited the crash site in January and May of 2005. In 2014 and 2015, there were three excavations performed which recovered human remains, life support items and material evidence. All the items recovered were sent to the DPAA to be analyzed.

The DPAA used circumstantial evidence and dental records which matched the remains found at the crash site, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency reported.

The government of Laos’ support was critical to successfully recovering Barnett’s remains.

There are still 1,611 US servicemen and civilians from the Vietnam War yet to be accounted for.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE