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TROY, MICH. — Troy resident Sue Scott has never stopped searching for her brother after he went missing during the Vietnam War.
“We’ve been searching for answers for more than 44 years,” Scott told The Oakland Press.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Douglas Ferguson, 24, went missing around Christmas on Dec. 30, 1969, after his plane was shot down in Na Khang, Laos. He was a 1967 graduate of the Air Force Academy and originally from Washington.
This April will mark the 39th year since the war ended.
Scott, who is Ferguson’s only sibling, has spent years searching for him — even taking trips to Asia to learn about his disappearance. She became an active member of the National League of POW/MIA Families in 1970. She also joined the Michigan POW community
“He was flying an F-4D aircraft,” Scott told The Oakland Press in 2007. “He was in the back seat, in the navigator slot.”
But finally, Scott received confirmation that her brother’s remains had been found.
“My brother has now been accounted for, but the Pentagon has not released that information yet,” Scott said. “The ID was signed off on the 14th of February.”
Scott said multiple excavations have been conducted on the “very large crash site.”
It was changes in things such as the elements in the soil that caused researchers to know where to dig.
“Those excavations were six weeks, and it was at the end of the last one that was early March (2013) to the early part of April and that’s when they found teeth and some other remains, along with his dog tags and some pieces of (the plane).”
Scott previously told The Oakland Press that government teams had found a parachute buckle, pieces of a harness and helmet.
It was last July that Scott found out there had been a dental match made, but that was not completely firm. Ultimately, a DNA test confirmed it was her brother’s remains.
“Immediately when I got the final report from the Air Force . I felt a sense of peace. It’s kind of a roller coaster, when you’ve worked on something so long,” Scott said. “It’s hard to let go of that little bitty flame of hope. But there is joy in going through old photographs and going through his medals.
“That kind of brings him back alive, kind of brings him life.”
Though Scott is relieved that she has finally found him, she has many mixed feelings.
“It can be sad too because you kind of missed all of his life because he didn’t come back — it’s kind of bittersweet.”
Scott will be traveling to Tacoma, Wash., in April, where she will finally be able to say goodbye to her brother.
A service for Ferguson will be held May 2 in Washington.