The remains of a U.S. serviceman killed in action during the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to his family. 

Air Force Airman 1st Class Jerry M. Wall, 24, died on May 18, 1966, in South Vietnam, after his aircraft was hit by enemy fire. 

The remains of three of the other five crew members onboard were recovered later that day, but Wall’s were never found.

According to the Department of Defense, from 2007 to 2012, crews conducted excavations of the crash site, resulting in the discovery of Wall’s remains, his military identification tag, military equipment, and aircraft wreckage of a C-123.

After conducting tests, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forced DNA Identification Laboratory were able to match the remains to both dental records and DNA matching Wall’s mother.

“Something like this, you don't ever forget,” said Lora Wall, his mother. “You just live your life and go on with it, but I am so thankful that it was finally found.”

Wall’s family said although it’s been 46 years since his death, they always held out hope that his remains would be found.

“We consider it a tremendous blessing and a miracle that after this long, Jerry was found,” said Wall’s younger brother, Larry Wall. “But we still have people actively looking for those lost in battle.”

Wall’s remains were flown into San Antonio International Airport on Wednesday, where family, friends and strangers waited to welcome his remains as they touched down on American soil.

Wall will be buried with full military honors.