Soldier killed in Vietnam War buried at Arlington Cemetery - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Soldier killed in Vietnam War buried at Arlington National Cemetery 46 years after death

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Army Capt. James M. Johnstone Army Capt. James M. Johnstone
Army Capt. James M. Johnstone Army Capt. James M. Johnstone

The remains of an Army captain killed in action were buried Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery. But Capt. James Johnstone did not die in Iraq or in Afghanistan.

Nor did he perish in the first Iraq war. He was killed in Southeast Asia just over 46 years ago.

Johnstone, of Baton Rouge, La., died in Laos in 1966 when his Grumman OV-1 Mohawk crashed during a surveillance mission.

The military never gave up looking for Johnstone's remains, but for decades, government records listed the wrong geographical coordinates. Then, a Laotian man disclosed where he had found an American Express credit card with Johnstone's name on it.

A now-retired Army buddy went to Laos to help pinpoint the spot, and after six recovery missions, fragmentary remains were found and identified.

"I'm so thankful that they didn't give up," said Shawn Hocevar, the daughter of James Johnstone. "You know, he fought for our country, and I think that [for] every person, if possible ... [to] find them, [they] should be brought back. Isn't that our duty to them?"

Shawn Hocevar (and her twin brother) were born a few weeks before their father was killed in Southeast Asia. They never met James Johnstone.

Shawn, her brother, a group of other relatives and a few Vietnam War veterans gathered at Arlington Cemetery to salute the ultimate sacrifice made by Captain Johnstone.

As the eldest twin, it was Shawn who determined her father would be buried at Arlington.

"I just know that the amount of people that come here daily, weekly, monthly, that everyone [who is buried] here is honored," said Hocevar.

Captain James Johnstone, who died 46 years ago, has now joined his 260,000 comrades at Arlington National Cemetery.

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