DEMMON, DAVID STANLEY
Name: David Stanley Demmon Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Unit: 73rd Aviation Company, 765th Transportation Battalion Date of Birth: 30 November 1940 (Santa Monica CA) Home City of Record: Venice CA Date of Loss: 09 June 1965 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 093514N 1062201E (XR035296) Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 1 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: OV1C
Other Personnel In Incident: Charles Alva Dale (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NEWTORK
REMARKS: DISAPPEARED OVER VINH BINH
SYNOPSIS: At 0317 hours on June 9, 1965, 1Lt. Charles A. Dale, pilot; and SP4 David S. Demmon, electronic sensor operator, departed Vung Tau in an OV1C (serial #61-2687) on a mission. The nature of the mission is not included in public record, but was undoubtedly a standard battlefield surveillance mission, or, as the 765th Transportation Battalion was primarily aircraft maintenance and support, it might have been a test of equipment onboard the aircraft.
The OV1C maintained surveillance using infrared detection equipment and a forward-aimed camera (which proved especially useful since the Viet Cong relied heavily on darkness to conceal their activities).
Standard proceedure for the OV1C was to periodically fly over a known location to update the navigation computer. One such update, about 87 minutes after takeoff placed Dale and Demmon over Vung Tau. At this time, he was headed to a second mission area in Vinh Binh Province, South Vietnam.
Somewhere over the U Minh forest, the aircraft was shot down. Search and rescue forces sighted two men wading out of the water and the Viet Cong capturing them, but positive identification was prevented by weather. However, Demmon and Dale were the only two Americans shot down that dayu. Dale was declared Missing in Action, while Demmon was classified Prisoner of War. It was felt that the enemy knew the fates of both men, alive or dead.
Reports relating to Dale and Demmon were received as late as 1970, both together and separately. Both men were seen alive by intelligence sources in the hands of the Viet Cong. One defector provided the phoenetic name "Phyan De Mann", which translates to "Family name of De Manh" (possibly meaning "Demmon").
In 1971, Demmon was seen alive in captivity. A Viet Cong guard, who stated that he had guarded American POWs from September to December 1965, stated he saw two men he believed to be Demmon and Dale in his camp. The families of both men believed they were captured, and eagerly awaited their release at the end of the war.
When the war ended, however, and 591 Americans were released from communist prisons in Souteast Aisa, Dale and Demmon were not among them. The Vietnamese never acknowledged their existence, nor did their names appear on lists provided by the Vietnamese of prisoners who had died in captivity.
In 1987, evidence of a large number of Americans being held in China began to surface in the private sector. It was said that these Americans were the "property" of a number of pro-China Vietnamese officials who had fled Vietnam in the wake of a stronger national sympathy to the Soviet Union. Charles Alva Dale, it was said, was serving as a houseboy to one of these officials.
The reports could not be verified. Dale and Demmon's families still wonder where they are. They don't know whether to hope they died that day in June 1965, or to hope they survived, and are alive still. If they survived, what must they have gone through? And what must they think of the country they so proudly served?
Charles A. Dale was promoted to the rank of Major and Demmon to the rank of Staff Sergeant during the period they were maintained Missing and Prisoner.
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FAMILIES FOR THE RETURN OF AMERICA'S MISSING SERVICEMEN WORLD WAR II - KOREA - COLD WAR - VIETNAM
DOLORES ALFOND -- VOICE/ FAX 425-881-1499 LYNN O'SHEA -------- VOICE/FAX 718-846-4350 E-MAIL ---------------- PGGK94A@PRODIGY.COM WEB SITE -------------- http://www.nationalalliance.org BITS 'N' PIECES JANUARY 17, 1998
How time changes the story - Captured, Held and Moved to Cambodia or Dead in a Sandy Grave?
On March 17th, 1971, the Joint Personnel Recovery Center (JPRC) issued a memo Recommending a status change be considered an Army MIA. The memo reads:
1. Reference DEMMON, David S., SSG [data] MIA 9 June 1965.
2. "On 11 Dec 70 a JPRC representative met with a Vietnamese refugee, [redacted] concerning the subject of PW's. A that time source stated a PW by the name of Demmon was being held in Cambodia. Source stated that he had seen Demmon several times but the last time was 1 December 1970."
3. "On 7 January 1971, [redacted] positively identified SSG David S. Demmon out of a display of photographs as being the PW mentioned above."
4. Subject was given a polygraph examination on 12 March 1971 (Enclosure 1) with positive results.
5. Based upon the evidence reiterated in paragraph 2 through 4, the JPRC is of the opinion that SSG David S. Demmon is now a captive of the Viet Cong. The JPRC recommends a change in status of SSG DEmmon from MIA to captured be considered.
The memo is signed Gerald E. Mc Ilmoyle, Lt. Col. USAF, Director, JPRC
A second memo dated 6 April 1971 to the Chief, Casualty Division, Department of the Army, Washington D.C. states:
1. Reference Chief, Casualty Division, Department of the Army message DTG 012005Z Mar 71.
2. As requested by reference message, following additional information is forwarded
a. COMUSMACV message DTG 091418Z Jun 65 is the casualty report concerning SGT. David S. Demmon. Casualty Branch DA message DTG 102000z Jun 66 made official determination of SGT. David S. Demmon as missing.
b. In April 1966 a Viet Cong rallier, that had served as a guard at a detention camp for U.S. prisoners from mid September 1965 to about 20 December 1965, gave a description of a PW that fit Sgt. Demmon (Inclosure 1). This information is not considered conclusive.
c. In early December 1970, JPRC received information that a Vietnamese refugee from Cambodia had information concerning four U.S. prisoners of war (PW). Source provided the phonetic name "Phan de Manh" which translates to "family name de Manh". (Inclosure 2), as that of one of the prisoners. Source stated he got name from the prisoner while talking to him on the first of December 1970. JPRC researched its MIA/POW biographic files and determined that the name de Manh could be Demmon. On 7 January 1971 source positively identified SGT. Demmon from a display of a dozen pictures shown to him. Based on sources information and that camp was located in village in Cambodia a PW raid was conducted by ARVN troops on 17 January 1971. PW's were not rescued but later indications are that the PW's possibly were in the village in an underground bunker during the raid, and subsequently have been moved to an unknown location.
d. The source was given polygraph examination on 12 March 1971 and this examination is the only recorded testimony establishing his credibility.
3. The above details are the extent of the information concerning SGT. David S. Demmon held by JPRC. Based on this, the JPRC recommends a change of status of SGT. Demmon from MIA to captured."
Credible evidence of capture and detention, a positive photo identification and a favorable polygraph exam all led JPRC to recommend a change in status for Sgt. Demmon. So credible was the evidence that a rescue mission was launched. After the failed rescue, additional information led JPRC to believe the POWs were moved. So, where is David Demmon?
Jump ahead to message traffic dated 22 September 1989, dealing with the "Translation of the Vietnamese Investigation Case List" during the 28-30 August 1989 technical Meeting in Hanoi." In the section titled "Cases in which death clearly occurred but not remains have been recovered," Sub Category "Joint Activities" we find a reference to David Demmon and his crewmate Charles Dale. Of the two the report states "Both men died and were buried in beach sand where there are not longer any signs of the grave. Proposed conclusion: Grave location no longer known."
Captured, Held and Moved to Cambodia or Dead in a Sandy Grave, you decided?
From deposition summary of Eugene F. Tighe, Jr., Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs February 27th, 1992 - Present Neil Kravits, J. William Codinha (JWC) -
JWC: "Do you think that the policy by the Administration of declaring that there were no more POWs, that they were all dead, set in motion a practice by the services and by the DIA that made that a reality, so that it became a self fulfilling prophecy and nobody was going to look for these people?"
Tighe: "No doubt about it..."
JWC: "Did you feel that the military services were reaching out to DIA for all the information DIA had before they were making these decisions?"
Tighe: "Nope. The Only time I think they were interested is when they had a wife or widow on their hands who was giving them a hard time and they were trying to drag something out, a bone to throw or something of that nature to satisfy the widow."
Bracelet teachers student and teacher about Vietnam soldier
JONATHAN VAN FLEET
NASHUA, N.H. (AP) - Walter Freeman's hands trembled as he typed an electronic message to the family of a man he has thought about since he was a child.....