The remains of a SOG/CCN solider missing in Vietnam for more than 40 years have been recovered and are coming home.
Donald Monroe Shue of Kannapolis was serving in the U.S. Army when he and two others went missing while on a mission in Laos on Nov. 3, 1969. He was listed as missing in action.
The Army informed Shue's family last week that his remains had been identified. His remains will be flown in from Hawaii on April 30. A service will be held at Whitley's Funeral Home in Kannapolis on May 1, followed by a graveside service at Carolina Memorial Park.
His nephew, Mickey Jones, said the family was shocked to hear Donald had been found.
"So much time has passed,” Jones said. “Just the thought of that, to me, it would be extremely unusual. The odds of it were so small.”
According to Army documents, Shue was attached to a unit that performed "in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia."
While on a mission in Laos, he and his patrol were ambushed 30 miles inside the country, near Ban Chakevy Tai in Saravane Province. Shue, SSgt. William Brown and SST Gunther Wald were last seen wounded.
Bad weather delayed a rescue. When the rescue team did follow eight days later, they couldn't find any trace of the three American soliders.
Shue was later classified as killed in action, his body not found, on Jan. 15, 1979. Shue's military grave marker is at Carolina Memorial Park in Kannapolis. Years later, a farmer in Vietnam, near the site where the ambush took place, found human remains and reburied them, then contacted his government. A team from the United States recovered the remains found in Vietnam. The area where Shue and his patrol were attacked was in Laos, but after a border shift, it is now in Vietnam. Jones said along with Donald’s remains, the team found his Zippo lighter, with his name engraved on it.
The Army notified Shue's family in Nov. 2009 that his remains had possibly been found, but further DNA tests needed to be performed. According to military documents, Shue’s mother, Nellie, made repeated requests to army about her son’s whereabouts. Documents show a paper trail from Shue’s disappearance through his reclassification as killed in action to the report of the recovery team sent to collect the remains.
A tree was planted in front of the Concord Post Office in honor of Shue.
Shue’s remains are at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and will stay there until he comes home on April 30. Jones is working with Rolling Thunder, the veterans’ motorcycle group, to lead a motorcade from the airport to Whitley’s Funeral Home in Kannapolis.