SAN DIEGO -- A U.S. Marine who was missing in action for almost 40 years was finally laid to rest Monday at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
PFC. Richard Rivenburgh was killed during a rescue operation off the coast of Cambodia in 1975 when he was 21 years old. Up until recently, he was one of more than 83,000 American service men and women who remain missing or unaccounted for from past conflicts.
“He always said he’d come home,” said the once-missing Marine’s brother, Robert Rivenburgh.
Rivenburgh’s remains were found in Southeast Asia 37 years after his death, thanks to the investigative efforts from the Department of Defense’s Joint Prisoner of War and Missing in Action command. Today, JPAC is finding and identifying up to 6 missing soldiers on average every month.
“They first asked for a DNA sample in 1995,” Robert Rivenburgh said. It took close to 20 years to positively identify his brother's remains, he said.
For the families of MIAs, it’s a long and anguishing wait even after remains are found, Rivenburgh said.
The Rivenburgh family was pleased to give their relative a proper military burial at Fort Rosecrans.
“He wanted to be laid to rest here because of the beautiful view,” said Robert Rivenburgh.