HELLE, ROBERT RAY
Name: Robert Ray Helle Rank/Branch: United States Marine Corps/E3 Unit: Golf Co, 2nd Bn, 5th Mar Reg - 1st Mar Div. Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Toledo OH Date of Loss: 24 April 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 162600 North 1074500 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Refno:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
REMARKS: 730316 RELEASED BY PRG
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors).
ROBERT R. HELLE Sergeant- United States Marine Corps Captured: April 24, 1968 Released: March 16, 1973
On my last operation before capture (April 24, 1968) I was on the outside of the village of Phu Bia. Larry Kavanaugh and I were assigned to the outer perimeter of a helicopter lift. After the operation the helicopters picked all up except Larry and myself. We waited for them to come back for us ... In the far distance we could see men running around. They started to close in on us. They were in black pajamas and shorts ... It was the enemy ... There were U.S. planes flying over head .... Larry fired three distress shots... Then the Viet Cong opened fire on us. Larry fired back but my weapon was faulty; it would not fire. It had a broken firing pin. I was shot in the left shoulder ... it bled profusely. Shortly Larry was hit in the hand... it blew up his magazine. He was bleeding badly . . . We were surrounded. We saw that capture was inevitable. I talked to Larry, saying he had a lot to live for: he had a wife and baby (he had never seen) and perhaps if they captured us that someday they may release us.
The irony of the story is that in less than a minute after our capture ... When we were hidden under a tree line ... our helicopters flew over ... they were looking for Larry and myself... They took off without seeing us... our hearts sank ... So started our five years as prisoners of the North Vietnamese and as MIAs.
Robert Helle resides in Ohio.