POWERS, VERNIE HOMER

Name: Vernie Homer Powers
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Company C, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry
Division
Date of Birth: 12 March 1947 (Pound VA)
Home City of Record: Baltimore MD
Date of Loss: 24 December 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 143326N 1073532E (YB793108)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0948
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 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: PFC Vernie H. Powers was a member of Company C, 3rd Battalion,
12th Infantry. On December 24, 1967, Powers was an acting squad leader in an
element of a platoon-sized patrol on a mission to establish an ambush in
Kontum Province, South Vietnam.

During movement to the ambush site, about 20 miles west-southwest of Dak To,
Powers' squad made contact with the enemy and PFC Powers was wounded by a
gunshot above the eye. Witnesses, who included the platoon medic, reported
that PFC Powers bled heavily from the mouth and nose, and despite the
medic's efforts, he apparently died.

Because of increasing enemy fire, the platoon withdrew from the area,
leaving Powers, whom they believed to be dead, behind. The platoon called
for air strikes and artillery on their former position for about one hour.
When elements of the platoon returned after the artillery and air strikes,
PFC Powers' body could not be found during a thorough search.

When 591 Americans were released from POW camps at the end of the war,
Powers was not among them. Military officials were startled that "hundreds"
suspected to be prisoner or expected to be released, were not freed. Since
that time, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner or
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government.
Many officials, having reviewed this largely classified information, believe
that there are hundreds of Americans still alive in captivity today.

Witnesses believed that Powers was dead before air strikes were called in on
his position. Whether the Vietnamese found him dead or wounded is not known.
What is certain, however, is that the Vietnamese have a wealth of
information on our missing, alive and dead, and the United States has a
legal and moral obligation to return the men she sent to war in her name. If
there is even one American held alive against his will, we must do
everything in our power to free him.