MICHAEL J BLASSIE
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HONORED ON PANEL 1W, LINE 23 OF THE WALL

MICHAEL JOSEPH BLASSIE

WALL NAME

MICHAEL J BLASSIE

PANEL / LINE

1W/23

DATE OF BIRTH

04/04/1948

CASUALTY PROVINCE

BINH LONG

DATE OF CASUALTY

05/11/1972

HOME OF RECORD

ST LOUIS

COUNTY OF RECORD

St. Louis City

STATE

MO

BRANCH OF SERVICE

AIR FORCE

RANK

1LT

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR MICHAEL JOSEPH BLASSIE
POSTED ON 6.24.2000
POSTED BY: Michael Robert Patterson

A Family Says Good Bye

A Family Says Good Bye
Michael Joseph Blassie's family attending his re-burial in St. Louis, Missouri, 11 July 1998

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.com/vietnam.htm
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POSTED ON 6.24.2000
POSTED BY: Michael Robert Patterson

"I Once Was Lost But Now I;m Found..."

"I Once Was Lost But Now I;m Found..."
The gravesite of Michael Joseph Blassie in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.com/vietnam.htm
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POSTED ON 6.24.2000
POSTED BY: Michael Robert Patterson

In Honored Remembrance

In Honored Remembrance
Michael Joseph Blassie was killed in action in Vietnam and his remains were found but not identified at the time.

From May 24, 1984 until May 14, 1998, Lieutenant Blassie served his country again as the Vietnam Unknown Soldier and his remains were buried with the Unknown from World War I, World War II and the Korean War on the East Plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery.

In May 1998, through the use of DNA examination, Michael Joseph Blassie was identified. His remains were subsequently returned to his family for burial in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, on 11 July 1998.

"I once was lost, but now I'm found..."

http://wwww.arlingtoncemetery.com/vietnam.htm
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POSTED ON 2.23.1999
POSTED BY: CLAY MARSTON

IN REMEMBRANCE OF THIS FINE YOUNG AIR FORCE OFFICER WHOSE NAME SHALL LIVE FOREVER MORE

In 1984 as the result of the US Government's eagerness to lay to rest a VIETNAM UNKNOWN SOLDIER, it interred the remains of a missing American serviceman that today can be identified and accounted for through the US Government CENTRAL IDENTIFICATION LABORATORY in Hawaii (CIL-HI).

The interment of that "unidentifiable" US serviceman in ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, beside the UNKNOWNS of WORLD WAR I and II and KOREA was supposed to be the ultimate symbolic gesture in healing the POW / MIA issue, the Vietnam War's "sorest wound".

Instead, as it turned out, the entombment of a VIETNAM UNKNOWN was at the very best premature and at worst a politically expedient attempt to further close the books on the POW / MIA question.

On April 13, 1984, the DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE chose a VIETNAM UNKNOWN from one of the four sets of remains then at CIL-HI. Because of the progress in identification techniques, the DEFENSE DEPARTMENT waived an administrative criteria, which had been followed in earlier wars, that only remains that were 80 percent complete were selected as candidates to be an UNKNOWN SOLDIER. With today's advancements in technology and the CIL-HI boasting of its ability to identify remains of American servicemen from evidence as minute as a tooth fragment, remains that are 80 percent complete would be the worst choice for any selection as an UNKNOWN SOLDIER.

The remains finally chosen by CIL-HI to be the VIETNAM UNKNOWN had been found by a South Vietnamese Army reconnaissance team in late 1972 near An Loc, Binh Long Province, which is located 60 miles north of Saigon. The remains, which consisted of only six bones, or only 3 percent of a skeleton, were eventually given the # by CIL-HI of X-26. Along with the X-26 remains, the reconnaissance team had brought in the remains of a parachute, a piece of a flight suit, a pistol holster and a one-man inflatable raft.

CIL-HI determined that X-26 was a caucasian man who had been between 26-36 years of age at the time of death.

In the surrounding area of An Loc where X-26 had been found, there had been numerous American servicemen reported as being missing in action / bodies not recovered (MIA / BNR).

There were at least two C130s, several helicopters and an A37 fighter aircraft that went down in that general area during the war prior to the Fall of 1972. The remnants which were found with the bone fragments of X-26 are important pieces of a puzzle which when placed together point specifically to the identification of the UNKNOWN SOLDIER of the Vietnam War.

The piece of the flight suit indicates that the VIETNAM UNKNOWN was an airman and the evidence of the existence of a parachute rules out the possibility of a helicopter crew, thus focusing on the aircrews of the C130s and the pilot of the lone A37. The existence of a one man inflatable raft can be argued as a strong reason to rule out the crews of the C130s, leaving only the lone pilot of the A37, who would be equipped with a one man raft.

On May 11, 1972, near An Loc, an A37 flown by United States Air Force pilot, 1st LIEUTENANT MICHAEL JOSEPH BLASSIE, was hit by ground fire. LT BLASSIE's wingman saw him crash into the ground and witnessed an explosion and fire. He did not see any signs that indicated the survival of the pilot.

Later,in October 1972, the US Government sent a search team to this crashsite (probably in response to the remains recovered previously) and found "identification media that correlated to the case".

Further, in November 1992, the US Government again visited the area of the crashsite, and found a witness who had heard about the incident. The witness, according to a US Government source, took US Government representatives to what was believed to be the exact crashsite. The crashsite, according to the source, had been severely scavenged over time and the US Government investigators were unable to find anything significant pertaining to the BLASSIE incident. The crash crater, according to the source, was being used by a local farmer as a watering hole.

Many facts pertaining to LT BLASSIE's shootdown closely match those of the UNKNOWN SOLDIER. CIL-HI determined the UNKNOWN SOLDIER to be a male caucasian and between 26-36. LT BLASSIE was a male caucasian who, at the time he became missing in action was 24-years-old. Remnants found with the remains of the UNKNOWN SOLDIER indicate that he was a fighter pilot. LT BLASSIE, from St. Louis, Missouri, was the only fighter pilot listed as KIA / BNR within a 2500 square mile area of where the remains of the UNKNOWN SOLDIER were found.

If the experts at CIL-HI can determine American Missing in Action personnel from minute tooth fragments, as they have claimed, then they should have been able to right this wrong by determining through DNA that these were the remains of
1st LIEUTENANT MICHAEL JOSEPH BLASSIE
resting in the TOMB of the UNKNOWNS.



^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


THE REMAINS OF USAF PILOT
1st LIEUTENANT MICHAEL JOSEPH BLASSIE
COME HOME TO ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
26 YEARS AFTER HE WAS LOST OVER VIETNAM



"We have waited a long time to hear this formally", sister PAT BLASSIE said at a news conference outside her mother's home in north St. Louis. "This is a significant day in our family's search for the truth. We are finally going to bring Michael home."

His remains which had been classified as unidentifiable had rested from 1984-1998 in the Vietnam War Tomb of the Unknowns.

Chris Calhoun, a retired Army Colonel who never met Michael Blassie, led the 1972 mission into the jungle to recover the remains. He told the American press earlier in 1998 that he had no doubt carried out the bones and personal effects, that he threw into a helicopter as it was mobbed by refugees and pummelled by enemy fire, of Michael Joseph Blassie.

CIL-HI had analyzed the four ribs, pelvis and an upper arm bone and initially labelled them as "believed to be" those of Blassie, but in 1979 the designation was removed when it was decided the evidence was scant.

Finally, on July 11, 1998, the remains of
1st LIEUTENANT MICHAEL JOSEPH BLASSIE
were buried in the
JEFFERSON BARRACKS NATIONAL CEMETERY
in St. Louis, Missouri.

"He was good at everything he tried to do",
said his mother, JEAN BLASSIE.



HE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT
HE FINISHED THE COURSE
HE KEPT THE FAITH


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