HARRIS, BOBBY GLENN Remains Returned 04/18/02, ID 07/14/03
Name: Bobby Glenn Harris Rank/Branch: W2/US Army Unit: Date of Birth: 27 February 1952 (McKinney TX) Home City of Record: Mission TX Date of Loss: 17 March 1971 Country of Loss: Cambodia Loss Coordinates: 121005N 1062140E (XU480455) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H Refno: 1727
Other Personnel in Incident: On UH1H: Craig M. Dix; Richard L. Bauman (all missing); James H. Hestand (released POW). From AH1G: Capt. David P. Schweitzer (rescued); 1Lt. Lawrence E. Lilly (missing).
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 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. NETWORK 2004.
REMARKS: DEAD/IR 6 918 6247 74
SYNOPSIS: On March 17, 1971, Capt. David P. Schweitzer, pilot and 1Lt. Lawrence E. Lilly, co-pilot, comprised the crew of an AH1G helicopter (serial #69-17935) conducting a visual reconnaissance mission. As the aircraft was near a landing zone at grid coordinates XU488458, it was hit by enemy fire of the F-21B Infantry Regiment, 5th Viet Cong Division and forced to the ground. The LZ was deep inside Cambodia in the Snuol District of Kracheh (Kratie) Province, near Seang Village.
Rescue efforts were successful in extracting Capt. Schweitzer, but due to heavy enemy fire, they were forced to leave the area before Lilly could be extracted. Lt. Lilly was last seen by U.S. personnel lying on his back with his shirt partially open and blood on his chest and neck. He was observed being fired upon by Viet Cong forces.
In mid-April 1971, a report described two U.S. personnel onboard a helicopter shot down in this region getting out of the helicopter and climbing a tree, and firing upon enemy forces. One of the crewmen was shot to death, and the other was captured by Viet Cong soldiers of the 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, F21B Infantry Regiment. The report continued that both crewmen were caucasian and had light complexions. The source described the POW and said that he was later told that the dead airman had been cremated by Cambodian villagers who had come to salvage parts from the aircraft. Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC) evaluated the report and concluded that it could possibly relate either to Lilly's incident or another the same day at the same location.
The other incident related to a UH1H helicopter flown by WO1 James H. Hestand and carrying CW2 Richard L. Bauman; SP4 Craig M. Dix; and SP4 Bobby G. Harris. The aircraft was shot down near Snuol. A medivac chopper lowered a jungle penetrator to men seen on the ground through triple canopy jungle, but was forced to leave the area due to enemy fire and low fuel.
Five ARVN were captured in the same operation and were told by Viet Cong guards that three chopper crew members had just been captured. One was killed in the crash, one was shot in the leg (ankle) trying to escape. The wounded crewmember and two others were finally captured.
James Hestand was captured and was released in 1973. In his debriefing, he reported that Craig Dix was the one who had been shot in the upper right ankle. Hestand stated that Dix was ambulatory and evading capture at the time of his own capture. Hestand also stated that, when last seen, CW2 Bauman was alive, in good condition, and was hiding with Dix. Hestand said that he had seen the body of Harris, whom he believed to be dead because of throat lacerations and a discoloration of his body. Harris had been thrown from the aircraft. Hestand was separated from the others when he was captured, and had no further information on Dix, Bauman or Harris. Defense Department notes indicate that Harris was killed in the crash. Defense Department notes indicate that some intelligence say that Bauman, Dix and Harris are dead, yet other intelligence reports placed Dix in a Cambodian hospital after having been captured, and according to Hestand, the two were alive and well the last time he saw them.
An ARVN ground unit entered the battle area to try to rescue Lilly, but found him dead. The unit came under heavy fire, and in the course of the battle, the body was lost to the enemy. Lilly's remains were never recovered.
A report was received by the U.S. Government which indicated that Harris may have been alive as late as 1974. In November 1974, a report was received from a covert source concerning two U.S. prisoners being held in Cambodia. The source allegedly saw a telegram from Khieu Samphan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Royal Government of National Union (GRUNK), to the "Bureau Politique" in Peking stating that "Sergeant Glenn Harris" had been captured and was being held by communist forces in Kratie Province as of July 1974. The report was debunked because of other information indicating Harris was dead.
In 1988, the Cambodian government announced that it had the remains of a number of American servicemen it wished to return to the United States. The U.S. did not respond officially, however, because there are no diplomatic ties between Cambodia and the U.S. Several U.S. Congressmen have attempted to intervene and recover the remains on behalf of American family members, but Cambodia wishes an official overture. Meanwhile, the bodies of Americans remain in the hands of our former enemy.
Even more tragically, evidence mounts that many Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia, still prisoners from a war many have long forgotten. It is a matter of pride in the armed forces that one's comrades are never left behind. One can imagine any of the men lost in Cambodia on March 17, 1971, being willing to go on one more mission for the freedom of those heroes we left behind.
Oklahoman's Remains Found in Vietnam Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 11:24am
Thirty three years after Army Sergeant Bobby Harris was killed in Vietnam, his remains have been found and identified and will be buried next month at Oklahoma's Fort Gibson National Cemetery......
Tulsa World Friday, September 3, 2004
Final chapter arrives for MIA ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Long-lost Vietnam soldier's family feels relief, gratitude CHECOTAH -- "Just like it was yesterday."
That was the feeling several people experienced Thursday when they finally cast their eyes upon Army Staff Sgt. Bobby Glenn Harris' flag-draped coffin.....