COLORADO SPRINGS – An Airman who went missing over North Vietnam in 1966 was buried with full military honors at the Air Force Academy Friday.

Col. Leo Boston of Canon City was flying a search and rescue mission as a member of the 14th Air Commando Wing when he was reported as missing in action.

“We’ve gathered this afternoon to remember a national hero, a decorated veteran, and obedient son, a loving father, a faithful husband, and a legacy that continues to live on in those who knew Colonel Leo Boston,” said Air Force Chaplain Joshua Kim.

Boston’s children, who were 3, 4, and 6 years old at the time of his disappearance, were on hand for his burial.

“It is amazing,” said Stephanie Boston Danielson. “We are just so grateful to everyone involved in identifying our father's remains."

“It's hard to keep up hope,” said John Boston. “My sisters never gave up. We owe this day to their perseverance."

Colonel Boston remained in MIA status until April 27, 1978, when his status was changed to presumed dead.

Between 1996 and 2005, joint U.S.-Vietnam teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, analyzed numerous leads, interviewed villagers in Son La Province, and conducted excavations that recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains and crew-related equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Boston’s mother and brother – in the identification.

His remains were positively identified April 4, 2011. With the accounting of Colonel Boston, 1,687 service members still remain missing from the conflict.