Story highlights

Air Force captain's plane crashed in Laos on March 1, 1969

Texas man's remains have been formally identified

Clyde Campbell will be buried Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery

CNN —  

Diane Campbell last saw her husband on October 26, 1968, when he walked to a departing plane.

Four months later, Air Force Capt. Clyde W. Campbell’s A-1J Skyraider crashed during an air-support mission in Laos.

The Department of Defense announced Wednesday that Campbell’s remains have been identified.

The Longview, Texas, serviceman will be buried Thursday morning at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

“He wrote me every day. He was doing what he loved to do,” Diane Campbell told CNN Tyler, Texas, affiliate KLTV.

Campbell did not return from a March 1, 1969, mission in Houaphan Province during the Vietnam War.

“American forward air controllers directing the mission in the area reported hearing an explosion that they believed to be Campbell’s bombs, but later learned Campbell’s aircraft had crashed,” the Pentagon said. “No parachutes were seen in the area.”

In 1997, a joint U.S.-Laos team found human remains, aircraft wreckage and military equipment, which correlated with Campbell’s aircraft. The site was excavated three times in 2009 and 2010, with the discovery of more human remains and a .38-caliber pistol matching the serial number issued to the pilot.

Diane Campbell told KLTV she met Clyde on a blind date. “We fell in love the first very night we met.”

“I am among the fortunate because there are many, many more whose remains have not been identified and recovered.”

Clyde Campbell’s widow, two daughters and six grandchildren will attend the funeral.