Darrell John Spinler
United States Air Force
Browns Valley, Minnesota
June 16, 1938 to June 21, 1967
DARRELL J SPINLER is on the Wall at Panel 22E, Line 32

Darrell J Spinler
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Read detailed history of CPT Spinler in a memorial entry respectfully submitted by Kelsey Senden and R.K., 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on April 29, 2006 for the South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial Dedication on September 15-16th, 2006.

Information for their entry was provided by a South Dakota Vietnam Veteran's bonus application and The Winner Advocate issue, June 29, 1967, and added information and photos by Dave Spinler. Profile approval by Dave Spinler.

Forty-four years ago, Air Force Capt. Darrell Spinler's aircraft crashed along the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. Despite three separate searches, the body of the Browns Valley, Minn., man was never found and was believed to have been carried away during the annual rainy season.

Read detailed recounting of the recovery efforts by the family at the Minneaplois Tribune web site.

Obituary - Eggers Funeral Home, Rosholt South Dakota, used with permission:

Captain Darrell J. Spinler died June 21, 1967
(June 16, 1938 - June 18, 2011)

   Funeral services for U.S. Air Force Captain Darrell John Spinler were Saturday, June 18, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Presbyterian Church in Browns Valley with Chaplain Major Rob Sugg and Rev. Anna Williamson officiating. Music was provided by organist Janet LeClair.

Burial was in the Valley View Cemetery, Browns Valley. Military honors were provided by the 319th FSS Honor Guard, Grand Forks ND Air Force Base, the William Krensing American Legion Post 58 of Browns Valley, and the Patriot Guard Riders. Pallbearers were Bill Randall, Everett Randall, Gary Nelson, and Gene Nelson.

Darrell John Spinler was born June 16, 1938, in Graceville, MN, to Gerald and Myrtle Spinler. Darrell attended school in Browns Valley, MN. In high school, he played basketball, baseball and was a member of the band. After graduation, he attended South Dakota State University on a basketball scholarship. He graduated June 1960 with a BS degree and also earned his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force through the ROTC program.

After completing his pilot training, he received his wings in September 1961. He was then trained in the AIE-Skyraider before leaving for Vietnam in 1966. There he was assigned with the 1st Air Commando Squadron at Pleiku Air Force Base. He was involved in many attacks, bombings, and air support missions. On June 21, 1967, Darrell was killed in action while on a bombing mission.

Darrell J Spinler

Darrell left behind at the time of his death his wife, Darlene; two sons, David and Dwayne; his parents Gerald and Myrtle; a sister, Sharon; and nieces and nephews.

Present family survivors include David and his children Derek and Dedra of El Cajon, CA, Dwayne and his wife Dawn and their son Darrell of Thornton, CO; sister, Sharon and her husband Bill Collins of Tehachapi, CA; and three nieces and nephews.

His awards and decorations include the Silver Star, 1st and 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster for the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Commendation Medal, 6th through 9th Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.

Darrell returned home on June 18, 2011.

Darrell J Spinler

Darrell J Spinler

Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (Public Affairs),
Washington, DC 20301-2900




The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Darrell J. Spinler, 29, Browns Valley, Minn., will be buried on June 18 near his hometown. On June 21, 1967, Spinler was aboard an A-1E Skyraider aircraft attacking enemy targets along the Xekong River in Laos when villagers reported hearing an explosion before his aircraft crashed. The pilot of another A-1E remained in the area for more than two hours but saw no sign of Spinler.

In 1993, a joint U.S./Laos People's Democratic Republic team, led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed villagers who witnessed the crash. They claimed Spinler's body was on the river bank after the crash but likely washed away during the ensuing rainy season. The team surveyed the location and found wreckage consistent with Spinler's aircraft.

In 1995, the U.S. government evaluated Spinler's case and determined his remains unrecoverable based on witness statements and available evidence. Teams working in the area revisited the location in 1999 and 2003 and confirmed Spinler's remains had likely been carried away by the Xekong River. However, in 2010, JPAC conducted a full excavation of the location and recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental x-rays in the identification of Spinler's remains.

With the accounting of this airman, 1,689 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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