Oklahoma Missing In Action and POW Soldiers to be honored

TULSA -- Some loved ones in Oklahoma are getting the news they desperately longed for over the past 50 years.

Loved ones who went missing in action in the Vietnam war have now been identified.

More than 1,400 Oklahoman's are still missing in action, and this week the community is honoring those who have been accounted for and those who are still missing. The recent identification of two Oklahoma Vietnam war vets is now giving other families hope of closure.

It’s a slogan the United State's military lives by.

“The hope never dies and the search continues,” Rtd. Col. Weydan Flax, a Marine Corp. veteran said.

This week that hope is blanketing families across Green Country.

“I can't imagine having to go home to a loved one and tell them, ‘Well your person is missing,’” Col. Flax said.

It’s the reality for families of nearly 14,000 soldiers in Oklahoma, but for two families this year, the names of their loved ones resurfaced as found.

Cpt. Martin Ronald Scott of Claremore was assigned a mission over north Vietnam in 1966 as the pilot of an F4C phantom fighter. He was ordered to make a low bombing pass over two trucks on a highway, which reportedly ended with an explosion. Cpt. Scott was declared missing.

51 years later his body was identified.

“For 50 years you just push pause on that and now its push play and that family has to go through with that process to bring a loved one home,” Col. Flax said,

The same goes for Donald Joe Hall of Stroud, who went missing on a helicopter recovery and rescue mission in north Vietnam. His unit was hit by enemy ground fire, resulting in an explosion and crash. His body was finally recovered this month.

“The defense POW/MIA accounting agency is charged with trying to recover all of those remains of all those 83-thousand American's who have been declared missing,” Col. Flax said.

The agency is giving families who've lost a soldier something to cling to.

“It absolutely must give hope to those families that are still waiting to hear about their loved one.”

Families like that of Tulsa natives Samuel Joseph Padgett, and Wayne Irsch. Padgett was killed in a south Vietnam helicopter crash, and Irsch, who was killed in Laos after his plane was hit by enemy fire. Both are still unaccounted for.

All of these men, among thousands of others still missing, will be honored this week, sending the message that no soldier gets left behind.

The ceremony will be held on Friday at the VFW 577 post downtown and begins at noon. The public is encouraged to attend.

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