Remains of Air Force Colonel shot down in Vietnam identified by Pentagon

Saturday, November 11th 2006, 10:02 pm
By: News On 6

SAN DIEGO (AP) The remains of a missing Air Force officer whose plane was shot down over North Vietnam in 1965 have been identified, the Pentagon announced.

Col. Charles J. Scharf, of San Diego, was flying his F-4C Phantom after a pair of bombing missions when he was shot by enemy fire.

The Pentagon said Thursday that his remains had been identified after specialists matched the DNA from gummed adhesive on envelopes of letters Scharf sent his wife Patricia to a bone fragment found near the crash site in a 1992 excavation.

A burial at Arlington National Cemetery was set for November 30th.

``Finally, we can bring Charles home,'' said Patricia Scharf, 72, of Falls Church, Virginia. ``He'll have a place of honor on sacred ground with other servicemen. And now I know where I'll be buried: right next to him.''

Charles Scharf's widow and his sister, Barbara Scharf Lowerison, have long been at odds over his status.

Lowerison, of Hemet, did not accept the Pentagon's new findings. She believes her brother is alive and possibly a prisoner in the former Soviet Union. She has lobbied six U.S. presidents and Russian and Vietnamese officials in an attempt to find out what happened to him.

She has pointed to a similar DNA test in 1997-1998 that was inconclusive. Pentagon officials responded that improved DNA technology led to the recent match.