Michael J BlassieFirst Lieutenant
8TH SOS, 377TH ABW (BIEN HOA), 7TH AF
United States Air Force
04 April 1948 - 11 May 1972
St Louis, MO
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The database page for Michael J Blassie
"Because of what has happened, and the significance of who Michael was, the family realized that wasn't just Michael Blassie coming home to the Blassie family. We're sharing it with a couple of thousand families whose loved ones haven't come home yet."Michael's A-37 airplane was shot down on May 11, 1972 in the Vietnam War. Michael is one of the men whose remains had been buried in the Tomb of The Unknowns (formerly Unknown Soldier) in Arlington Cemetery.
Michael's family crusaded to have the remains analyzed after finding out that his wallet and dog tags were found near the crash site. The remains were exhumed for DNA analysis in May, 1998, and identified as those of Michael Blassie.
Michael's remains were then buried in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery near his home town on 11 July 1998.
May Michael and his family now have peace.
Virtual Wall NoteOn 11 May 1972, 1st Lt Michael J. Blassie was flying as wingman to Major James Connally in A-37B tail number 69-6345 on a ground attack mission in support of ARVN troops besieged in the town of An Loc. Blassie was making an attack run on NVA positions about 2 miles northwest of the ARVN perimeter when he was hit by 23mm AAA fire. Major Connally and a Forward Air Controller watched as Blassie's A-37 rolled inverted, crashed, and exploded. There were no signs of ejection, no parachute was sighted, and no emergency radio signals were heard. The crash area was in enemy-occupied territory and an immediate recovery attempt was impossible. Because of the circumstances - eyewitnesses and the absence of any evidence that he had escaped his aircraft - 1st Lt Blassie was classed as Killed in Action. It should be noted that a number of US aircraft had been shot down in the vicinity of An Loc, including an AH-1G (with the loss of two crewmen) on 11 May.
In October 1972 ARVN forces regained control of the area where Blassie had crashed and fragmentary human remains were recovered from the crash site. Although aircrew-related objects also were recovered, it was decided that then-available techniques were inadequate to confirm that the human remains could be positively identified as those of 1st Lt Blassie, although they were those of a Caucasian who was similar in age and stature to Blassie.
In the early 1980s a decision was taken to inter the remains of an unidentified Vietnam casualty in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1984, the selected remains - those recovered from the vicinity of the A-37 crash - were interred with due ceremony as the Vietnam War's Unknown Soldier.
A decade later, questions concerning the identity of the Vietnam Unknown Soldier were raised. It was argued that the crew-associated equipment was sufficient to rule out the possibility that the remains recovered in October 1972 were those of a helicopter, C-130, or AC-119 crewman - leaving only the possibility that they belonged to the pilot of the A-37.
The remains were disinterred from the Tomb of the Unknowns in May 1998 for DNA testing, and at the end of June 1998 the Secretary of Defense announced that the DNA tests demonstrated that the remains were indeed those of First Lieutenant Blassie. Formal identification was announced on 08 July 1998 following the Blassie family's acceptance of the identification.
On 10 July 1998 the 8th Special Operations Squadron, now flying MC-130 aircraft, transported 1st Lt Blassies remains to Saint Louis for burial with full honors in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
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31 May 1998
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 11/24/2002