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Rank/Branch: E2/US Marines
Unit: 1st Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion,
1st Marine Division
Date of Birth: 02 May 1947
Home City of Record: Lomita CO

Date of Loss: 28 August 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 155800N 1081500E
(BT061673)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: ground

Other Personnel in Incident:
John E. Bodenschatz Jr.; Robert C. Borton Jr.;
Robert L. Babula (all missing)

 

Since first adopting PFC Carter, I felt it only right and proper to also adopt the other three Marines lost with him, they are:

Rank/Branch: E2/US MARINES
UNIT: 1st Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion,
1st Marine Division
Date of Birth: 29 May 1946
Home City of Record: Los Angeles,  CA

Date of Loss:  28 August 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates:  155800N 1081500E
(BT061673)
Status: (in 1973) Missing In Action
Category:  2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground

 

Rank/Branch: E2/US Marines
Unit: 1st Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion,
1st Marine Division
Date of Birth: 24 June 1946
Home City of Record: Benton harbor, MI

Date of Loss: 28 August 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 155800N 1081500E
(BT061673)
Status: (In 1973) Missing In Action
Category: 2

Rank/Branch: E2/US Marines
Unit: 1st Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion,
1st Marine Division
Date of Birth: 07 March 1947
Home City of Record: Indiana, PA

Date of Loss: 28 August 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 155800N 1081500E
(BT061673)
Status: (In 1973) Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground

 

SYNOPSIS: PFC Robert L. Babula, PFC Robert C. Borton Jr., PFC John E. Bodenschatz Jr., and PFC Dennis R. Carter were members of 1st Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. On 28 August 1966, the four were assigned as a fire team ambush with instructions to establish an ambush site approximately 500 meters to the south of their platoon patrol base. This specific location is in Hoa Hai village within grid square BT 0667.

The fire team departed at 3:00 a.m. on August 28, and were given instructions for use of the pyrotechnics they were carrying as signaling devices. They were further instructed to relocate in the same general area or return to their platoon patrol base in the event their ambush site was compromised, and finally to return no later than 9:00 a.m. that morning.

When the fire team failed to return as scheduled, an immediate search of the area was conducted by Company K with negative results. During the period of August 29-31, the Battalion made a dovetailed search of the entire area covering all possible routes of egress in the event the team members had been captured. Indigenous personnel in the area were questioned, but no evidence was uncovered which gave any clues. Villagers were questioned and a search of the area continued. On September 4, Company K discovered part of an American wrist watch and PFC Bodenschatz' two identification tags in the vicinity of BT 061673. The search was intensified in that area, including the use of heavy engineer equipment in an effort to locate graves, but no further trace was found.

On September 13, the Battalion cordoned off grid squares BT 0567, 0667, 0566, 0666 and all inhabitants were assembled, screened, and interrogated by an ARVN interrogation team from Hoa Vang District Headquarters. Three Viet Cong suspects were retained for further questioning, however, no additional information was obtained concerning the four Marines. The Battalion commander's final determination was that the four Marines were probably captured.

In 1975, information was declassified that indicated that since the fire team's disappearance, Marine headquarters had received two reports sighting three to four Americans being displayed in villages south of the area in which the fire team disappeared.

A Christmas card received by Company K/3/1 1st Marine Division, sent by Babula's mother and sister, stated that they had recently received news that Babula was a prisoner of war. None of the four, however, returned in the general prisoner release in 1973.

Since the war ended, the Defense Department has received over 10,000 reports relating to the men still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, yet concludes that no actionable evidence has been received that would indicate Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. A recent Senate investigation indicates that most of these reports were dismissed without just cause, and that there is every indication that Americans remained in captivity far after the war ended, and may be alive today.

The fate of the four Marines on the fire team on 28 August 1966 remains uncertain. What is clear, however, is that it's time we learned the truth about our missing and brought them home.

 

NOTE: I think it is worth pointing out that  PFC. Carter and PFC. Babula was only 19 years old at the time of their capture/loss, PFC. Bodenschatz and PFC. Borton only 20 years.  These young men did what their country asked them to do, isn't it time their country did something for them..Please bring them home.

My Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President;

What is being done to determine the fate of Pfc Dennis R. Carter, who was last seen at 3AM on August 28, 1966 with 3 others; Pfc Robert L. Babula, Pfc Robert C. Borton Jr. and Pfc John E. Bodenschatz Jr. as part of a fire team ambush, with instructions to establish an ambush site in Hoa Hai village (within grid square BT0667) and to return by 9AM. When the team failed to return an intensive search was conducted from August 29-31. No remains were ever found although, and no one saw them fall. There is no evidence that he was killed and he is known to have been capable of surviving under harsh conditions. Please advise me of any action that is being taken by you or any other elected appointed official to determine his fate.

In the event there is nothing being done, please explain why not, and tell me how you personally plan to correct this and prevent it from ever happening again.

Sincerely,
Patricia Spencer

DEFENSE PRISONER OF WAR/MISSING PERSONNEL OFFICE
2400 DEFENSE PENTAGON
WASHINGTON, DC 20301-2400

Dear Ms. Spencer

   Thank you for your March 18, 1998 letter to President Clinton concerning Marine Corps Staff Sargent Dennis Ray Carter (posthumously promoted) who is unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  As the Department of Defense (DoD) office responsible for prisoner of war/missing personnel (POW/MP) affairs, we are pleased to provide the following information.

   On August 28, 1966, Sergent Carter was one of four marines last seen departing their base area en route to establish an ambush site in the vicinity of Hoa Hai village. When they failed to return as scheduled, an immediate search of the area was conducted by their parent company with negative results. From August 29-31, 1966, their parent battalion made a through search of the area, finding only the dogtags of one of the soldiers and part of an American watch.

   In the intervening years, DoD investigators have conducted two field investigations into this case. Investigators interviewed a witness who claimed to have been a member of a guerilla unit that killed Sergent Carter and the other Marines.  In 1993, the remains of one of the four marines were recovered and subsequently identified; however, despite our efforts, Sergent Carter and the two other marines remain unaccounted for.  If you would like to have more information about Sergent's loss incident and our efforts to account for this Marine, his records are available to you at the Library of Congress (LoC).  I have enclosed an information paper detailing how to research POW/MIA information at the LoC, and call your attention to the section on accessing the LoC through the Internet.

   To stay abreast of our efforts to account for our unaccounted for Americans, you may wish to contact our Internet site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo. This site contains a wealth of information to include weekly updates and annual newsletter detailing our current operations worldwide.

   The DoD is vigorously working to account for our missing personnel in Southeast Asia. These Americans have not been forgotten. Since 1988, American teams have completed more than 2,000 investigations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in an attempt to account for our countrymen lost during the war. These efforts have resulted in the recovery, identification and return of 493 Americans for interment with full military honors. Such consistent and dedicated efforts by this Department are not indicative of a Government that is not devoted to accounting for its service members it has sent into harm's way.

   There are those who continue to speculate that Americans remain in captivity in Southeast Asia and other regions of the world where the United States has prosecuted war. Although such allegations make interesting conversation, those who would like to accept such as the truth should first demand to see the proof upon which the claimants base their charges.  The truth is that no one has ever provided any credible evidence to support such claims. Further, all such allegations are consistently refuted by more than 20 years of aggressive investigation and intensive intelligence collection by our nation's intelligence community. Our investigative and intelligence collection efforts have found no credible evidence that live Americans are now, or were ever in captivity in Southeast Asia following Operation Homecoming in 1973.

   Thank you for remembering this special Marine. I hope this information is help

Sincerely,


Charles W. Henley
Legislative and External Affairs
Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office

 


I wrote the original letter to the President before I adopted the remaining 3 marines missing with SSGT Carter, I am going to research the Library of Congress to find which one of the remaining three remains were found. When I find this information, I will post it. My only other comment regarding Mr. Henley's letter is on the last sentence.."He doth protest too much".

The Wall and Beyond

At first there was no place for us to go until someone put up that Black Granite Wall. Now, everyday and night, my Brothers and my Sisters wait to see the many people from places afar file in front of this Wall.

Many stopping briefly and many for hours and some that come on a regular basis. It was hard at first, not that it's gotten any easier, but it seems that many of the attitudes towards that war that we were involved in have changed. I can only pray that the ones on the other side have learned something and more Walls as this one, needn't be built.

Several members of my unit and many that I did not recognize have called me to the Wall by touching my name that is engraved upon it. The tears aren't necessary but are hard even for me to hold back. Don't feel guilty for not being with me, my Brothers. This was my destiny as it is yours, to be on that side of the Wall. Touch the Wall, my Brothers, so that we can share in the memories that we had. I have learned to put the bad memories aside and remember only the pleasant times that we had together. Tell our other Brothers out there to come and visit me, not to say Good Bye but to say Hello and be together again, even for a short time and to ease that pain of loss that we all share.

Today, an irresistible and loving call comes from the Wall. As I approach I can see an elderly lady and as I get closer I recognize her. It's Momma! As much as I have looked forward to this day, I have also regretted it because I didn't know what reaction I would have.

Next to her, I suddenly see my wife and immediately think how hard it must have been for her to come to this place and my mind floods with the pleasant memories of 30 years past. There's a young man in a military uniform standing with his arm around her......My God!......It has to be my son. Look at him trying to be the man without a tear in his eye. I yearn to tell him how proud I am, seeing him standing tall, straight and proud in his uniform.

Momma comes closer and touches the Wall and I feel the soft and gentle touch I had not felt in so many years. Dad has crossed to this side of the Wall and through our touch, I try to convey to her that Dad is doing fine and is no longer suffering or feeling pain. I see my wife's courage building as she sees Momma touch the Wall and she approaches and lays her hand on my waiting hand. All the emotions, feelings and memories of three decades past flash between our touch and I tell her that it's all right. Carry on with your life and don't worry about me. I can see as I look into her eyes that she hears and understands me and a big burden has been lifted from her.

I watch as they lay flowers and other memories of my past. My lucky charm that was taken from me and sent to her by my CO, a tattered and worn teddy bear that I can barely remember having as I grew up as a child and several medals that I had earned and were presented to my wife. One of them is the Combat Infantry Badge that I am very proud of and I notice that my son is also wearing this medal. I had earned mine in the jungles of Vietnam and he had probably earned his in the deserts of Iraq.

I can tell that they are preparing to leave and I try to take a mental picture of them together, because I don't know when I will see them again. I wouldn't blame them if they were not to return and can only thank them that I was not forgotten. My wife and Momma near the Wall for one final touch and so many years of indecision, fear and sorrow are let go. As they turn to leave I feel my tears that had not flowed for so many years, form as if dew drops on the other side of the Wall.

They slowly move away with only a glance over their shoulder. My son suddenly stops and slowly returns. He stands straight and proud in front of me and snaps a salute. Something makes him move to the Wall and he puts his hand upon the Wall and touches my tears that had formed on the face of the Wall and I can tell that he sense my presence there and the pride and the love that I have for him. He falls to his knees and the tears flow from his eyes and I try my best to reassure him that it's all right and the tears do not make him any less of a man. As he moves back wiping the tears from his eyes, he silently mouths, God Bless you, Dad. God Bless, YOU, Son. We WILL meet someday but meanwhile, go on your way. There is no hurry. There is no hurry at all.

As I see them walk off in the distance, I yell out to THEM and EVERYONE there today, as loud as I can, THANKS FOR REMEMBERING and as others on this side of the Wall join in, I notice that the US Flag that so proudly flies in front of us everyday, is flapping and standing proudly straight out in the wind today, "THANK YOU ALL FOR REMEMBERING"

For he today, that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother.

Author - Unknown

 

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