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Sun Nov 18, 2012, 06:45 AM

Pilot's family gets his dog tag, 43 years after his death

Cynthia Burke rubs the silver cross on her necklace between two fingers as she tries to identify feelings even she can't quite grasp.

"According to the government, this case was closed in '69, so I'm " Burke pauses and throws her arms in the air. "Nervous? Anxious? I don't really know."

The 71-year-old turns to her daughter and asks, "Lauren, what is it I feel?"

"I think it's overwhelming," Lauren Branch, 49, answers, holding a length of toilet paper in her lap in case the tears come back.

More than four decades after Air Force Capt. Walter Burke's spy plane was shot down over Laos and he was declared missing in action, his family has some answers and more questions. Eighteen years after one of his dog tags was recovered from a jungle crash site, it will finally be returned to his wife and children.


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