East Texas MIA remains returned to family

East Texas MIA remains returned to family

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LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -

After 43 years of searching, the remains of an East Texas Air Force officer have been returned to his family. Air Force Captain Clyde Campbell, of Longview, was declared missing in action in Vietnam back in 1969.

He will see his final resting place Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Five years ago, a service was held in Longview for Campbell; back then, friends and family were still trying to find out what happened to him.

"Anytime you seen that POW-MIA flag, that means that we've still got people unaccounted for that's fought for this country," says Longview Vietnam veteran William Perkins.

A Texas A&M graduate, Campbell was flying a 'Skyraider' fighter that crashed on a mission in Laos.

"I watched him walk out to the plane on October 26, 1968, that's the last time I saw him. He wrote me every day. He was doing what he loved to do," says Campbell's widow Diane speaking to KLTV from Washington D.C.

Recovery teams searched the crash site three times. Finally, remains were recovered, along with a pistol with serial numbers matching the numbers on Campbell's sidearm.

"I didn't and I have to say I am among the fortunate because there are so many who have not been recovered. We united ourselves to get something done and to make sure our men weren't forgotten. I have always been Clyde's wife, he was the love of my life, Clyde and I met on a blind date, we fell in love the first night we met," Diane says.

His boyhood friend Ken Smith will be at the service to give something back to his friend: an MIA bracelet.

"I'm wearing that bracelet right now because when my friend died his wife sent me that bracelet. I'm going to put that bracelet on his casket, this is my way of giving back to him," Smith says.

For his widow, it is final honor for her hero.

"Arlington is a place where people are respected their memories revered and they're honored and that's what I want for my husband. We are here together and I think that would be the biggest thing for my husband," says Diane.

The service at Arlington National Cemetery will be at 9 a.m. Thursday. Captain Campbell's widow, two daughters, and six grand-children, are all attending.

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