Lost Vietnam Pilot Identified For Longview Family - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/4/05-Longview

Lost Vietnam Pilot Identified For Longview Family

After four decades of waiting and wondering, an east Texas family finally knows what happened to a loved one lost in the Vietnam war.

"When you have 40 years of questions it can get to be a long 40 years" says Valerie Baker.

As Baker looks through her old scrapbook, she'll never forget one day in April 1965. She was 9 years old when her father, Air Force Navigator Major Arthur Baker's plane was shot down in the Vietnam war.

"My immediate thought and question was does this mean I'll never see my father again? we don't know, i was looking forward to growing up so i could cook for him" says Valerie.

Bakers B-57 Canberra was lost in Laos, and for 40 years his family contacted every agency they could trying to find out what happened to him.

"The not knowing, the questions that haunt you their maddening, you can't shut them off".

An Armed Forces excavation team confirmed the crash site recently, and Baker was informed through DNA evidence; the remains found were her father. She takes comfort in finally knowing, but feels Vietnam vets have been almost forgotten.

"Those men need to be honored the ones that came back need to be honored" says Baker.

Finally she can rest, and say one thing she's been waiting to say for 40 years to her father.

"Welcome home, welcome home my hero".

Baker plans to hold a funeral service for her father in the last week of July. Remains of major Baker will be buried with full military honors at Arlington national cemetery in Washington D.C. in September. 

Bob Hallmark reporting.  bhallmark@kltv.com

 

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