The remains of Pfc. Daniel Benedett, a 19-year-old Marine from Auburn who died after a U.S. helicopter crashed in the surf off Cambodia in May 1975, will be buried Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.
Benedett was one of 26 men aboard a helicopter that came under heavy enemy fire during a rescue mission of the crew of the SS Mayaguez, according to a Defense Department statement released Tuesday. Thirteen were rescued from the sea.
An extensive effort to uncover remains unfolded between 1991 and 2008.
By 2004, all of the remains except Benedett’s were accounted for. Then in January of this year, through the use of circumstantial evidence and the DNA process, Benedett’s remains were accounted for.
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In an obituary published on Tuesday May 20, 1975, The Seattle Times reported that Benedett was born in California, moved to the Auburn area when he was in first grade and graduated from high school there in 1974.
He joined the Marines in October 1974 “so he could look around and see what career he’d want to enter into,” said his father, Robert Benedett, in the 1975 obituary.
Today, more than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, and the U.S. government continues to work with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the war, according to the Defense Department.