Florida Vietnam War soldier accounted for more than 50 years later

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sanford Finger’s remains were finally recovered in 2021

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sanford Finger (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

More than 50 years after his death, a Florida soldier killed in the Vietnam War was finally accounted for in August, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

In a news release, DPAA announced Thursday U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sanford Finger, 29, of Miami Beach had been accounted for on Aug. 23.

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On Oct. 26, 1971, Finger went missing in action after a helicopter he was flying on crashed into water due to bad weather during a flight from Tuy Hoa to Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam, DPAA said.

Remains of four of the 10 soldiers on board were recovered during later search-and-rescue operations, but Finger was not accounted for at the time, the release shows.

"Medal is tribute to memory of soldier missing since '71," by Gina Shaffer, published in the Miami Herald (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

According to a Miami Herald article, Finger joined the Army when he was 16 years old, and he’d been living in a family home in Miami Shores before enlisting.

Finger had been one month away from coming home when he disappeared, and a flag was later flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor, the article said.

However, in June 2021, divers turned up remains belonging to Finger as part of a recovery mission, DPAA officials said.

Finger’s name was recorded on the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others who are unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

News clippings from the Miami Herald and Associated Press regarding Sanford Finger (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

DPAA stated that a rosette would be placed next to Finger’s name at these sites to show he’s since been accounted for.

According to DPAA, Finger’s family received a full briefing on his identification. Finger’s burial date and location have yet to be decided.

For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490. Visit the DPAA’s website here to view Finger’s personal profile.

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.