For 47 long years, Army Maj. Donald G. Carr’s family knew of his heroism in the Vietnam War, but they lacked closure. In perhaps his finest display of courage, the Green Beret agreed to fly an OV-10A Bronco plane through horrible weather conditions in support of a U.S. Special Forces reconnaissance mission.
That mission ended up being his last. Maj. Carr’s plane crashed on plane crashed July 6, 1971, and, despite extensive searches, he was declared missing in action after the Army could find neither Carr, nor the plane.
Then, in 2014, something amazing happened. The family received a call from the Department of the Army saying that after 25 recovery missions, remains had been located. In 2016, his remains were verified by conclusive DNA tests on a small fragment of bone.
"We were in disbelief that this late in the game they would even be exploring it anymore,” says Lisa Carr, AVP reputation and crisis communications, Maj. Carr’s daughter-in-law. “You hear the phrase ‘No man left behind’, but it’s really true. The continuing passion of the members of those search-and-rescue teams who explored every last clue is remarkable.”
To make his homecoming complete and give closure to his family, Maj. Carr received a full repatriation ceremony and a burial with the highest military honors at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Fellow service members who served with Maj. Carr spoke at the ceremony, and his family was presented with gold star lapel pins symbolizing their loss.
“He was truly a man among men,” said retired Lt. Col. Michael Taylor, who served alongside Maj. Carr, at the memorial service. “Your family can be very proud of this great American Special Forces soldier as are all of us who served with him.”
Lisa, a self-described “military brat” whose dad served in the Air Force for 22 years, says it wasn’t until she met her husband and heard his family’s story that she could truly understand the sacrifice of those who serve.
“It’s been an emotional and powerful journey, and it makes me even more proud to work for USAA, because we keep what service members do top of mind,” says Lisa. “We owe them our best, and they deserve to be honored.”
The Army’s 243rd birthday is today. Please take a moment to thank someone who has served.