St. Paul airman finally makes it home – decades after being killed in Vietnam War


"Bob Olson will finally make it home, 47 years late."

That's what Maj. Robert Olson's obituary says, which was published this week, decades after the aircraft he was flying in was shot down over Laos.

Maj. Olson was deployed with the United States Air Force in Pleiku, Vietnam, and on Feb. 5, 1969 he and nine other airmen onboard were killed. Unable to identify the remains at the time, all the men were interred together at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, his obituary notes.

Family members have wanted to positively identify the remains to bring them home to each family, and thanks to advancements in DNA technology since the 1960s, Olson is coming home.

On Saturday afternoon, Olson's widow, Mary Kay Olson and four of their five children stood on the tarmac at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport and watch an Air Force major place Olson's remains inside a hearse, the Star Tribune reports.

When Olson died, his five children were ages 9 and younger, his obituary notes.

Mary Kay Olson told the Star Tribune they all wondered where he was, and on Saturday they got their answer.

Olson will be interred at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery at 1 p.m. Monday, "this is where he would have come home to live after his deployment. This is where he will come home to stay," his obituary notes.

Olson, of St. Paul, graduated from Cretin High School in 1954 and was recently honored posthumously by his graduating class.

He went on to attend West Point Military Academy in 1958 before marrying his wife and starting a family. He completed his Master's degree in Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1968 and then was sent to Vietnam.

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