TUSTIN (CBSLA.com) — A local Navy pilot missing since the Vietnam War has been buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Forty-six years after being killed in action, the U.S. Navy honored Lt. Dennis Peterson of Huntington Park and his crew during an interment ceremony on May 2.
Kirsten Peterson, the late lieutenant’s daughter, attended the burial along with her younger sister.
“I wanted to know more about what my father was all about,” Peterson, who was two when her father went to war, said. “Having somewhere to go. Having somewhere to remember him by. We didn’t have any of that.”
Lt. Peterson was 27 when he left to serve in the Vietnam War on March 27, 1967.
Four months later, his family learned that he was killed in action when the SH-3A helicopter he was piloting was shot down in Ha Nam Province of North Vietnam.
He, along with three other sailors, were killed.
“Three of those men … their remains were brought back in 1982. But they didn’t find anything for my dad,” she said.
Kirsten says U.S. excavation teams went back to the crash site in 1999 and found more remains. Two months ago, she got word that her father’s remains were identified through forensic testing.
She said having her father finally honored was all her late mother, Sharon, ever wanted.
“It was incredible. There were so many people there. And when you saw these people coming to pay respect for your dad, it meant a lot,” she said.