|Birth: ||Mar. 22, 1939|
|Death: ||Mar. 20, 1971|
Son of Nettie and Clarence
SOURCE: WAYCROSS JOURNAL-HERALD, Thursday, February 16, 2006, page 1
Remains Of Local Vietnam War Hero Found After 35 Years
The family of Major Jack Barker, a Waycrossan who died in the Vietnam War, has received news that his remains were found in Laos after 35 years.
Surviving family members are glad to be able to give him a proper funeral, which will take place in April at Arlington National Cemetery.
Four members of the 101st Airborne Division--including Barker, the pilot--died on March 20, 1971 when their UH-1H Huey helicopter was hit by enemy fire. It exploded in air, and there were no known survivors.
The chopper was on a mission to rescue troops surrounded by North Vietnamese soldiers. The enemy activity prevented any recovery attempts.
The Barker family members waited 35 years for word. They never gave up hope that the remains of their loved one would come home.
The Defense Department's POW/Missing Personnel Office officially announced Tuesday that the remains of the crew of four had been found by search teams from Laos and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
Now they have a burial service to plan.
"We were actually notified in October," said Debbie Winder, Barker's niece. "We are just thankful we can put this to rest, and bring him home."
Winder was 15 when she answered the phone call from the Army that told the family he was missing in action.
"It was devastating," she said. "My grandmother felt like he was still alive. She could never give in that he was killed."
The four Army helicopter crew members were Barker, Capt. John F. Dugan of Roselle, New Jersey, SP4 William E. Dillende, of Florida, and Pfc. John J. Chubb of Gardenia, California.
The incident in Laos, Barker's status as MIA and the family dealing with it was reported in the Journal-Herald in 1971. Author Earl Swift included their story in his book, "Where They Lay: Searching for America's Lost Soldiers."
A Thai refugee showed to (sic) search teams in 1986 an identification tag that belonged to Chubb. Search teams dug in three sites between 1988 and 2001, with no results.
They recovered a fragment of a human tooth and some crew-related artifacts in 2002. Further remains were located in October and November of 2004 by another joint team at a Huey crash site. The chopper contained material with insignia worn by soldiers of the 101st.
Barker was identified through dental records and tooth fragments, said a nephew of Barker, Steve Hinson of Brunswick.
"I was (Barker's) ringbearer at his wedding," said Hinson. "For us, it's been a dream…it's been just remarkable."
Barker and Dugan were piloting the helicopter with Dillender and Chubb on board while on a troop extraction mission in the Savannakhet province of Laos. Officials said that as the chopper approached the landing zone, it was hit by heavy enemy ground fire and exploded.
Barker, Dugan and Dillender will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in April, said the Defense Department's POW/Missing Personnel Office. Chubb was to be buried in Inglewood, Calif., this week.
Winder said Barker's funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 12. Among the 30-40 family members still living in the area, Winder named Barker's sister, Elizabeth Hinson, in Brunswick. His only living son, Michael Barker, lives in Arkansas.
Winder said that about 20 local family members are going to the funeral. They also hope to hold a local memorial service here later.
A total of 839 Americans have been found and accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the war, and 1,807 remain missing. Of those found and identified, 208 have been from losses in Laos.
TRANSCRIBED BY: Teresa Griffis
Clarence Winfield Barker (1898 - 1965)
Nettie Viginia O'Berry Barker (1904 - 1992)
Bryan Lamar Barker (1968 - 1987)*
Carl Edward Barker (1925 - 1997)*
Richard Eugene Barker (1929 - 1995)*
Clarence Winfield Barker (1931 - 2005)*
Sarah Elizabeth Barker Hinson (1933 - ____)*
Raymond David Barker (1936 - 2001)*
Jack Lamar Barker (1939 - 1971)
Jack Lamar Barker (1939 - 1971)*
Major US Army
Silver Star Purple Heart
Note: See his post at Arlington: Maj Jack Lamar Barker
Maintained by: J. Steven Hinson
Originally Created by: B. B. Roberts
Record added: Mar 22, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 50041680