AUSTIN (KXAN) — After nearly 50 years of questions, the family of a U.S. serviceman who was killed during the Vietnam War will finally have some closure.
On Tuesday, the remains of Army Sgt. 1st Class Billy D. Hill, 21, of Wichita, Kan. was brought to Texas. His body arrived in a casket draped with the American flag at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Hill will be buried in Killeen on Dec. 17.
Hill was assigned to the 282nd Aviation Company, 14th Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, as a gunner on a UH-1D helicopter. On Jan. 21, 1968, the helicopter he was in with five other soldiers was struck by enemy fire and crashed near Khe Sahn, Vietnam. One of the two crew members who survived the crash stated he believed Hill was struck by enemy fire just prior to the crash. Hill was declared missing in action following the crash.
A few months after the crash, the remains of two of the soldiers were recovered but the remains of Hill and one other soldier were still missing. On Dec. 12, 1975, a military review board amended Hill’s status to deceased.
Between 1993 and 2014, seven investigations were conducted regarding the whereabouts of Hill, but no remains were attributed to him. In 2014, agencies reanalyzed a set of unknown remains returned from Vietnam during a unilateral turnover in 1989, which were reportedly recovered in the vicinity of Khe Sahn. After decades of searching, the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) was finally able to make the connection.
Currently, there are more than 1,600 American service members that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.