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Category 5
This category deals with the degree of expected enemy knowledge which states that category 5 is unrelated to degree of enemy knowledge. This often means the loss did not occur during combat, such as a loss at sea due to accident.

It further states that it represents individuals whose remains have been determined to be 
non recoverable as outlined in Department of the Army Technical Manual 10-286, January 1964, section 39.

So nobody is looking for them. If the category was assigned in error or someone is recovered even though they were correctly listed as category 5, no one is working their case.

But individuals labeled as Category 5 have been found before. Here is one case, taken from an incident report of one of the 6 missing crew members:

On July 7, 1967, two B52 aircraft were enroute to a combat mission when they collided in mid-air over the South China Sea. The aircraft were approximately 20 miles offshore at the point of Vinh Binh Province when the accident occurred. 

Seven crewmembers from the aircraft were rescued, but Avolese, Crumm, Bittenbender, Blankenship, Jones, and McLaughlin were not. 

All the missing crewmen onboard the two B52 downed that day were believed to be dead. It is unfortunate, but a cold reality of war that their remains were not recoverable. They are listed with honor among the missing because their remains cannot be buried with honor at home.

Now move forward nearly 30 years and find that three of the 6 have been returned.
Here are the names of the 6 missing: 
Name Incident Report Return Status
Paul Andrew Avolese a380 Still Missing
David Fritz Bittenbender b391 Still Missing
Charles Herman Blankenship b393 Remains Returned 05/02/97
William Joseph Crumm c446 Still Missing
George Emerson Jones j372 Remains Returned 05/02/97
Olen Burke McLaughlin m401 Remans Returned 04/30/97

This information was taken directly from their incident reports at POW Network. We just put it in a table for easier viewing. How many other times has this happened? Could it happen again? Get involved. Find out.

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