Sunday, November 9, 2008

Final Salute for Lance Cpl. Luis Palacios Vietnam MIA laid to rest

Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
BACK HOME: Yolanda Montiel and her grandson Michael Montiel grieve during graveside services for her brother, Marine Lance Cpl. Luis Fernando Palacios, who was 19 when his helicopter crashed during the Vietnam War in 1968.
Marine killed in Vietnam 40 years ago gets a final salute as his remains are buried in Cypress
By Raja Abdulrahim Sat, 8 Nov 2008 10:10:16 PM
Lance Cpl. Luis Palacios, who died in a helicopter crash, is honored with a full military burial. A U.S. search team recently recovered his remains, which were identified through DNA.
By Raja Abdulrahim
November 9, 2008

Yolanda Montiel was only 10 years old when her older brother Luis Palacios was killed in Vietnam. Her memories of him are few but endearing, like the time he bought her a yellow hat or when he gave her piggyback rides.

Over the years, Yolanda's siblings and her late mother would tell her stories about Luis, which included the nickname he gave her.

"I didn't remember who used to call me rag doll," she said, "and it was him."

The day the family learned that Luis had been killed, a relative came to Yolanda's school to pick her up and on the way home tried to explain death.

The 19-year-old Marine was on a rescue mission on June 6, 1968, when his helicopter was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Lance Cpl. Luis Palacios was one of four passengers on the downed aircraft presumed dead but whose bodies were not found.

Then, in early September, Yolanda's family received the news they had been waiting for for 40 years: a U.S. search team had found some of Luis' remains. He was identified through a DNA sample that Yolanda had given to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command more than a decade earlier.

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