More than 1,000 Americans lost in the Vietnam War have had their remains identified and returned to their families for burial since 1973. 1,582 unaccounted-for servicemembers of the war in Vietnam are still missing as of 16 September 2022. Hundreds of the nearly 1,600 Americans from the Vietnam War who are still unaccounted for are thought to fall into the “non-recoverable” category, which means that the Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has determined that the person died but does not believe it is possible to recover the remains. Rarely, fresh leads might return a case to active status. In addition to accounting for POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam War, the DPAA actively searches for the remains of missing Americans from all U.S. conflicts.
With the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, DPAA and its partners have been conducting Joint Field Activities for nearly 30 years. Every year, DPAA organizes investigations in each nation to gather information, check leads, and carry out excavations. Of the original 196 Americans who were “Last Known Alive” from the Vietnam War, the Department of Defense has confirmed the deaths of 177, with 19 of those cases still open. The remains of 51 of the 177 service members have been identified and returned to the U.S. for burial. Work is still being done to find the remains of the other 126.