| Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs:
Smith 324 Compelling Cases - Cambodia
Senator SMITH's 324 Compelling Cases
Joe L. Delong
On May 18, 1967, Private First Class Delong was a machine gunner from the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, in Phu Pah District, Pleiku Province, South Vietnam. His unit's position, approximately 14 kilometers northwest of the village of Duc Co, was attacked and overrun by hostile forces. PFC Delong was missing after the unit reformed.
On May 20, 1967, a Viet Cong prisoner described an American in captivity who correlated to PFC Delong. Delong was listed as a POW at the time of Operation Homecoming.
In June 1967, a People's Army of Vietnam publication from the B-3 Theater of Operation, entitled Tay Nguyen, reported that the K4 Battalion had captured a U.S. POW, and this unit was transferred to regimental level. This was believed to refer to the capture of PFC Delong, and the regiment to which it referred was believed to be the 320th Regiment.
PFC Delong was listed by the Provisional Revolutionary Government as having died in captivity. His date of death was given as November 1967.
U.S. POWs repatriated during Operation Homecoming stated PFC Delong and two other U.S. POWs escaped from a B-3 Theater level POW camp on November 6, 1967, while they were being detained in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia, approximately two kilometers from the border with Vietnam and an estimated 70 kilometers west of Kontum, South Vietnam. Several days later, the remaining POWs were shown PFC Delong's trousers by their prison camp commander and were told that Delong had been killed resisting capture. The two other U.S. POWs were recaptured.
Charles E. White
On January 29, 1968, Sergeant First Class White was a member of a covert cross border operations reconnaissance team from Forward Base 2 (FOB 2) in South Vietnam. His team was inserted into Ratanakiri Province in extreme northeastern Cambodia and three kilometers inside Cambodia from Attopeu Province, Laos. His team engaged hostile forces. While being extracted by helicopter, Sergeant White fell from a rope harness approximately 200 feet into a tall bamboo thicket. A ground team searching the area on January 31, 1968, found what appeared to be evidence of where he landed and the area appeared to have been searched by hostile forces. There was no sign of Sergeant White and no grave. He was initially declared missing in action in the Republic of Vietnam. On February 23, 1968, his commanding officer wrote to his mother that Sergeant White became missing while under heavy hostile fire near Khe Sanh in South Vietnam although his circumstances of loss were falsified until they were declassified in 1973.
Returning U.S. POWs were not able to provide any information concerning his fate and he was not reported alive in the Vietnamese or Cambodian prison system. His case was among others passed to Khmer representatives at the United Nations in December 1975. The representative stated there were no American prisoners in Cambodia and the Cambodian government had no information about any missing Americans. On April 6, 1978, Sergeant White was declared dead/body not recovered.
Jerry M. Shriver
On April 24, 1969, Sergeant First Class Shriver was a member of the 5th Special Forces Group Command and Control South with a 25 man Vietnamese/U.S. reconnaissance control in a covert cross border operation into Cambodia. While 23 kilometers southeast of Memot, Kampong Cham Province, the platoon engaged hostile forces. He was last seen running into woods near his platoon's helicopter landing zone. Vietnamese voices were later heard stated that one American was in the process of being captured. He was initially declared missing in action. The area of his loss was later struck by a B-52 strike.
In June 1970 a recovery team landed at the site of the platoon ambush and recovered the remains of two Vietnamese and another American platoon member. Their remains were found lying on the ground and had not been buried.
Sergeant Shriver was initially declared missing in action and after the end of hostilities was declared dead/body not recovered. Returning U.S. POWs were unable to provide any information on his fate.
Dale W. Richardson
On May 2, 1970, eight U.S. Army personnel were flying in a UH-1H in northern Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam. They crossed into Cambodia and were shot down by hostile ground fire, crashing southwest of Memot City. One Army Private evaded capture and was rescued. Four were captured. Two of those captured, Warrant Officer Maslowski and Specialist Crowson, were released in February 1973 during Operation Homecoming. Warrant Officer Varnado was wounded in the right side and left leg. He was taken to a hospital after captured and was never seen by U.S. POWs as alive after that time. A wartime report was received describing an American POW who died at Hospital K-21 on 26 August 1970, wounded in the left thigh during a helicopter crash in June 1970. The unit which shot down the helicopter was Z26 Company, 75th Artillery Group.
In January 1973, the Provisional Revolutionary Government acknowledged the death in captivity of Captain Young and Warrant Officer Michael B. Varnado. Varnado's returns were repatriated on April 27, 1989. The death of Captain Young was witnessed by nine U.S. POWs who were repatriated during Operation Homecoming. In February 1975, a Viet Cong defector who had served as a guard at prison camp TB.22 described Captain Young's death and located his burial site.
In April 1970, a Viet Cong defector reported having seen an American in Kampong Cham Province in April 1970. This report was believed associated with Specialist Price. In 1981 three South Vietnamese Army escapees from prison B-7 in Kratie Province reported an American POW there in 1971 who had reportedly been there for one year. During their only one hour interview they identified one of two photographs of Price as similar to the individual imprisoned at their camp. This identification led to a reclassification of Price from missing in action to POW.
Specialist Griffin and Captain Richardson were last seen alive after their crash and prior to the capture of Captain Young and the three others. Although those surviving into captivity were kept together and joined other U.S. POWs then in custody inside Cambodia, returning U.S. POWs never saw Richardson, Price or Griffin alive in captivity. A classified document last believed in the possession of Captain Richardson was shown to Captain Young. Captain Richardson was last seen alive and firing his pistol at enemy forces and was then hit by hostile fire while running.
After the end of hostilities, all unaccounted for crewmen were eventually declared dead/body not recovered.