• Last modified 691 days ago (Sept. 16, 2020)


Book details family's search for missing pilot

Staff writer

The sister of a Vietnam veteran shot down in 1965 over North Vietnam and whose remains were recovered in 2014 gave Marion city library Friday a book that includes Dean Klenda’s story.

Deanna Klenda, now of Wichita, gave a copy of the book, “What Remains: Bringing America’s Missing Home From the Vietnam War,” by Sarah E. Wagner.

The book, published in November 2019, tells the stories of four families of the nearly 1,600 Americans still unaccounted for in Vietnam and those who continue to search for them.

One chapter is about the Klenda family’s lengthy search for Dean.

Dean, born in Marion in 1940, was returned to his family in 2016 after testing identified his remains. He was buried Sept. 17 in St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church cemetery in Pilsen, on the 51st anniversary of the day his plane was shot down.

The Klenda family spent decades working with U.S. and Vietnamese officials and private groups to try to find and identify Klenda’s remains.

His body was recovered after a North Vietnamese farmer came forward with where he was buried. Deanna Klenda called the farmer’s revelation “a miracle.”

A positive identification was made by an isotope test on a gold filling in one of Dean Klenda’s teeth.

The bodies of 24 Kansans lost in the Vietnam War still remain missing, Deanna Klenda said.

Last modified Sept. 16, 2020