WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 18, 2011, 01:31 PM

Browns Valley man laid to rest 40 years after being shot down in Vietnam

Browns Valley, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A fallen Vietnam veteran is finally home. More than four decades after being shot down in Vietnam, the Browns Valley man is laid to rest.

On this Father's Day Weekend, a homecoming like no other in Brown's Valley, Minnesota. Today, the family of Captain Darrell Spinler finally got a chance to bury the brother and father of two.

Dwayne Spinler - Son: “It's a relief, our entire famly and all our friends are forever grateful.”

Spinler's son Dwayne was six the last time he saw his father. The memories are few but vivid. The emotions overwhelming after hundreds showed up to honor his father.

Spinler: “As we arrived into town behind my father's hearse, it was the most powerful sense of pride and honor I've ever experienced in my life.”

Spinler graduated from South Dakota State in 1960 and was trained as a Fighter Pilot, before he was shot down June 21st, 1967.

Mike Kuss – Vietnam Veteran: “Many times we fail to remember the people that faught and lost their lives and this is just one way to pay them back.”

Steve Carlson – Vietnam Veteran: “He gave the ultimate sacrifice and as a fellow Vietnam Veteran I really fealt strongly about coming and showing his family and relatives support.”

But for Dwayne, now a father of his own. Finally a sense of closure.

Spinler: “My father was missing after 44 years and he's now back home.”

Veterans from as far as Bismarck came to pay their respects. Many rode motorcycles as members of the Patriot Guard, carrying flags and leading the funeral procession.

Members of the American Legion and V-F-W held flags at the burial ceremony in honor of Spinler. Vets came from the tri-states.

DAVE ECKER - American Legion: “The show of patriotism is extraordinary today. We are just happy to do this for the family so they know where their father and grandfather, whatever, they know where he's at.”

More than 16-hundred service members are still missing from the Vietnam War.