MIDGETT, DEWEY ALLEN

Name: Dewey Allen Midgett
Rank/Branch: E2/US Army
Unit: 355th Assault Helicopter Company, 145th Combat Aviation Battalion,
Phu Hiep
Date of Birth: 29 December 1947 (Elizabeth City NC)
Home City of Record: Chesapeake VA
Date of Loss: 25 November 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 130500N 1091800E (CQ245365)
Status (in 1973): AWOL
Category:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: ground
Refno: 2056
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 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 1998.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: In Vietnam, military experts devised a system to try to relieve
the battle fatigue experienced in earlier wars by those who served long
tours with their units intact. In Vietnam, soldiers were rotated after
roughly one-year tours. The practice had noble intent, but it served to
isolate the soldier and interrupted continuity. Virtually as soon as a man
learned the ropes, he was shipped home and a green replacement arrived to
fill the gap. Some were quite literally, in the jungles one day and at home
the next. The emotional impact was terrific and thousands of veterans are
dealing with it two decades later.

Vietnam was also a limited political war, and had peculiar problems: a vague
enemy, restrictive rules of engagement, an uncertain objective, non-military
State Department minds directing many aspects of the war. In certain periods
of the war, military morale was lower than perhaps any other time in our
history.

Adding to these factors was the extremely young age of the average soldier
shipped to Vietnam. For example, the average combatant's age in World War II
was 25 years, while Vietnam soldiers were 19. The young fighters became
jaded -- or old -- or died -- long before their time.

For various reasons, some soldiers deserted or even defected to the enemy.
Their counterparts in the U.S. fled to Canada, manufactured physical or
mental problems, or extended college careers to escape the draft.

There are only a handful of American AWOL/deserters maintained on missing
lists. At least one of these was known to have fallen in love with a woman
whom he later learned was a communist. Another fled because he had scrapped
with a superior and feared the consequences. This man was declared dead, and
his AWOL record expunged.

There is little information regarding those listed as AWOL on the missing
lists, and sometimes that information is conflicting.

For instance, on the afternoon of November 25, 1967, Pvt. Dewey A. Midgett
was given pass privileges with instructions to return to his unit at Phu
Hiep by 1700 hours the same day. Pvt. Midgett did not return to his unit at
the specified time, and has not been seen since. Unconfirmed information
indicated that Midgett was in the vicinity of the beach, coordinates CQ
412381, Phu Hiep on the afternoon in question. A report was filed with the
military police and the CID at Phu Hiep on November 26, 1967. Further, a
check was made with graves registration and the 91st Evacuation Hospital at
Phu Hiep. All agencies had negative information. Midgett was
administratively presumed dead on February 4, 1980.

Pvt. Midgett's records have changed over the years. At times, he was
presumed dead, and at other times he was classified Absent Without Leave
(AWOL). Then, by 1983, his name again appeared on lists of missing.
Intelligence reports have been received on Pvt. Midgett that he was at one
time living openly in South Vietnam.

Most records indicate that Midgett was on the way to the beach on a pass.
Some reports say that he was captured by the Viet Cong and has been sighted
several times, both as a prisoner, and living freely. His family cannot know
what to think - whether he was a legitimate prisoner - or abandoned his
unit.

Some of the reports among the over 10,000 received relating to Americans
missing or prisoner in Southeast Asia have to do with deserters, although
there is no evidence they have been asked if they want to come home. In
light of the amnesty granted draft dodgers by the United States Government,
can we be less forgiving of them?