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By Danny Reneau

After nearly 45 years, the brother of a longtime Silsbee resident is coming home.

Senior Master Sergeant Robert Thomas Elliot was killed in action during the Vietnam War. He was a gunner in the Air Force Special Forces and died when an AC-130 gunship was shot down on Dec. 21, 1972. The gunship was on a reconnaissance mission to prevent North Vietnamese Army units from infiltrating South Vietnam through the neighboring country of Laos.

For many years the communist authorities in Laos did not allow a recovery team to excavate the crash site, where hundreds of bone fragments were recovered. Using the recovered fragments, a military forensic specialist at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii officially identified each of the 13 unaccounted-for members from Elliott’s final mission.


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