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Central Route Special Newsletter WHY WE RIDE

This is a copy of a Facebook post of one of our riders. I have known Karoni (Hoops) for over a decade (We were FNGs together on different Routes). I am honored to call her a Friend. Read below and think about the fact that Karoni and many others are still searching for closure and they are beginning to get that due to the efforts of Groups like us!

Our Mission Statement reads; “To promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA), to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world.”

We have some big news in the Forrester family. Over the past few months, the US government has conducted two excavations of Daddy’s crash site. The site is still open and there are additional Joint Field Activities (JFAs) being scheduled to complete the excavation. During the two excavations this year, osseous material (potential bone fragments) and two teeth were recovered as well as life support equipment (LSE) indicating at least one crew member was in the aircraft when it when down. It was confirmed to be the right crash site when, in June, the team found the dog tag belonging to the pilot, Capt. Jim Chipman, along with a fragment of a credit card with Dad’s name on it. While the credit card remains a mystery (he didn’t need gas money!), the dog tag confirmed for us that Capt. Jim Chipman went down in his A-6A on 12/27/72. Today we learned the lab in Hawaii has positively identified both teeth as Capt. Chipman’s.
We still have a long journey ahead as DNA sequencing is being done in the lab on the osseous material recovered and there is more to excavate. We do not know if Dad’s remains are among the bone fragments recovered. The DNA process is tedious and takes 12 – 18 months at times. Each small fragment recovered must be tested.
The GREAT news is that Capt. Jim Chipman, USMC, is coming home after 50 years. Our hearts are with the Chipman family during this bittersweet time for celebration. It’s been a long road for our families to get this far and we couldn’t have done it without the love and support we’ve received from you all over so many years. Thank you! More to come…

Photo of Capt. Ronald W. Forrester

Karoni and Her Father

Nick “Richboy” Hentges
RFTW Central Route Coordinator 2024

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