RICH, RICHARD
Remains returned. Buried 11/05/00 Arlington National Cemetery.
Name: Richard Rich
Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy, pilot
Unit: Fighter Squadron 96, USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN 65)
Date of Birth: 27 October 1925 (New York NY)
Home City of Record: Stamford CT
Date of Loss: 19 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 203952N 1054125E (WH718962)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B
Other Personnel in Incident: William R. Stark (released POW)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 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 2003.
REMARKS:
SYNOPSIS: When nuclear powered USS ENTERPRISE arrived on Yankee Station on
December 2, 1965, she was the largest warship ever built. She brought with her
not only an imposing physical presence, but also an impressive component of
warplanes and the newest technology. By the end of her first week of combat
operations, the ENTERPRISE had set a record of 165 combat sorties in a single
day, surpassing the KITTY HAWK's 131. By the end of her first combat cruise,
her air wing had flown over 13,000 combat sorties. The record had not been
achieved without cost.
One of the aircraft launched from the decks of the ENTERPRISE was the F4 Phantom
fighter/bomber. The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings,
served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo
and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type).
The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high
altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics
conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities
enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.
When the ENTERPRISE arrived in Vietnam on its second combat cruise, two of its
pilots were LTCDR William R. Stark and CDR Richard Rich. The two comprised the
crew of an F4B Phantom sent on a mission over North Vietnam near the city of
Hanoi on May 19, 1967. Rich served as the pilot of the aircraft, while Stark was
the Radar Intercept Officer (RIO).
During the mission, Rich's wingman reported that enemy defenses, both
anti-aircraft fire and surface-to-air missiles (SAM) were extremely heavy. He
and CDR Rich were forced to fly their aircraft at very low altitudes in order to
avoid the numerous missiles. While over the target, the wingman observed a
missile detonate close behind CDR Rich's aircraft and he subsequently lost sight
of Rich's aircraft during the violent evasive maneuvering. Visual contact was
completely lost and repeated radio calls to CDR Rich produced negative results.
The wingman found no trace of Rich's aircraft, there were no emergency radio
signals, and the wingman saw no parachutes. Search and rescue efforts were
impossible due to the high threat in the Hanoi area. Electronic surveillance of
the area produced negative results.
In 1973, 591 Americans were released by the Vietnamese from Hanoi, including
William R. Stark. Stark had been advanced to the rank of Commander during the
years of his captivity. Richard Rich was among hundreds known or suspected to be
held captive that were not released. Since that time, the Vietnamese have denied
any knowledge of the fate of Richard Rich.
For 23 years, the Vietnamese have denied knowledge of the fate of Richard Rich,
even though his aircraft went down in a heavily populated area. There is every
reason to believe that Vietnamese could account for Rich, even if he died when
his aircraft went down. On November 11, 1976, the Department of the Navy
declared Richard Rich dead, based on no specific information he was still alive.
During the time he was maintained Missing in Action, Rich was advanced to the
rank of Captain.
Disturbing testimony was given to Congress in 1980 that the Vietnamese
"stockpiled" the remains of Americans to return at politically advantageous
times. Could Rich be waiting, in a casket, for just such a moment?
Even more disturbing are the nearly 10,000 reports received by the U.S. relating
to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities who have examined this
information (largely classified), have reluctantly come to the conclusion that
many Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. Could Rich be among these?
Perhaps the most compelling questions when remains are returned are, "Is it
really who they say it is?", and "How -- and when -- did he die?" As long as
reports continue to be received which indicate Americans are still alive in
Indochina, we can only regard the return of remains as a politically expedient
way to show "progress" on accounting for American POW/MIAs. As long as reports
continue to be received, we must wonder how many are alive.
As long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we must do
everything possible to bring him home -- alive.
----------------------------------
November 1997
My Name is Christopher S. Rich Son of Capt Richard Rich USN MIA since
19May67.
I am an active member of Sons and Daughters In Touch (SDIT) During Veterans
Day the Moving Wall was at Knox Berry Farms and a Daughter that was adopted
at birth found out that her Biological Father is a MIA.  She came on line
tonight asking for help for ANY Information on him.
I looked all over the place, many POW Pages and I finally got to yours
and got some information for her.
Thank you VERY VERY VERY MUCH.
You have helped start the healing proces for another KID.
Thank you again and WELCOME HOME to all my Big Brothers and Sisters here at
the Network
Sincerly yours,
Chris
Capt. Rich was the Father of four sons at the time that he was shot down we
were 13, 11, 9, 4. This has effect us in different ways, I am the youngest
of the "boys" and  am asking questions that the US Government would rather
ignore or continue to keep quite. Why would the Government, the one that my
Father was so proud of and WANTED to go do his DUTY for. He actually was to
old and pulled every string he could to go over to Vietnam, but you know how
Fighter Pilots can be, they train their whole lives for combat and will do
anything to show that they have the RIGHT STUFF.
Thank you,
Sincerely,
Christopher S. Rich
mailto:  EMTChris33@prodigy.net" Chris Rich
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Update on my Dads Case as of June 1999
On June 15th I arrived in Washington DC for the annual Government
Breifings on Our POW/MIA's.  I arrived a few days early to have some fun
and to do some research at the Library of Congress (LOC).
While going through one of the reels at the LOC I saw a Live Sighting
report dated 1968.  It was a picture of a group of POW's, location
unknown, my Mom stated that it was Dad postiviely.  My Grand Mother on
the other hand state that it could not be her son as he was always Clen
Cut, with Short Hair and always dressed nicley.  I am sorry but I do not
know of Many of our POW's that had a Barber shop in there Camp.  The DIA
also confirmed this to be my dad.
Than in 1969 an AP report stated that Pilots shotdown on 19May67, my
Dads date, were taken to Russia.  They also mentioned his name.
While going through the one file I have on my Dad, the rest are being copied
for me, I noticed several inconsitatncies by Joint Task Force for Full
Accountablity or better known as JTF-FA in the Circle. I was told last year
that there was no longer any Primary (cases that the government would first
try to finish first) and no Alternate cases (cases that the governemnt would
attpemt to get to).  But in one of the Documents in my dads new file JTF-FA
stated that he was listed as an Alternate site two times.  But there is a
problem with that too, see my Dads site is in a ricepaddy and it can only be
excavated during the dry season.  But the datres given were during the
Monson season.
I had a Friend, Thanks Steve, Attend the Quesion and Answer Session for the
Government Briefings.  He asked Brig. Gen. Tucker these Questions for me.
Gen Tucker Confirmed that yes they had primary and Alt. Cases on each
mission and he did not know why they would schedule my Dads case during a
monson season.  Do they really think that the Families do not know when the
dry season is if it is part of their case?
General Tucker also told Steve that my Dads Case should have been a Primary
last year and that he will personaly look in to this and get back to Steve
and Myself.
Well that is all now.
Thanks for caring
Chris
============================
From - Wed Mar 15 14:17:57 2000
                                             
Press Release from the Family of Commander Richard Rich, USN
Secretary of Defense William Cohen Uses Dad's Crash Site as Publicity Stunt.
By Christopher Rich
Son and Primary Next of Kin to Cdr. Richard Rich, USN
We are extremely grateful for the efforts of the Joint Task Force for Full
Accounting for excavating the crash site associated with my father,
Commander Richard Rich, USN, during the much publicized visit of the US
Secretary of Defense William Cohen to Vietnam.
However, we object to the fact that this recovery operation is being used as
a publicity stunt to give the appearance of the Vietnamese governments "full
cooperation" on the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action issue. US
Intelligence is well aware of the fact that the Vietnamese could readily
account for many missing servicemen but they refuse to do so. Men known to
be Prisoners of War were never returned. The remains of men the Vietnamese
admit died in captivity have yet to be returned.
The US Government should refrain from using recovery efforts to bolster the
misconception of Vietnamese "full cooperation," when in fact Vietnam holds
the answers to the fates of many, many POWs left behind alive in captivity.
If remains retrieved from this crash site prove to be our dad, we will have
our long sought closure. But we will keep in mind that there are hundreds of
American families that the Vietnamese could provide answers for but have
not. Those families deserve to have their long sought closure as well. The
US Government must press the Vietnamese on the men known to be held prisoner
of war and not returned, while continuing efforts to recover remains.
============================
  Associated Press Newswires
  Wednesday, November 1, 2000
  Son will see his father buried after 33 years of waiting
 AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - After more than 33 years of waiting, Chris Rich will
finally attend his father's funeral Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery.
 Navy Cmdr. Richard Rich was shot down in Vietnam in May 1967, just 15 days
before he was scheduled to return home.
....
===========================
The Right Thing
A Long Long time ago in a Land Far Far away was a man. A man with a
Family, Friends and Comrades. A man with a mission. One he would give
his life for, but it would take the Family 33 yrs. to find out what
really happened. Why so long for a man that loved his country and only
wanted to do The Right Thing. Help those that could not help themselves.
He zigged when he should have zagged. A man that was already to old to
go to War, but a man that wanted to do The Right Thing. So he pulled
every last string to go, were he thought he could prove himself to
himself and to others, because he was shit hot, and was on the Fast
Track. His goal by 1974 was to be CINCPAC. He was to help start up a new
program, that the Navy was going to start for it's Fighter Pilots. This
program is known to the rest of the world as Top Gun. But all this ended
on May 19th 1967, when after being hit by 2 Surface to Air Missiles, and
after using the Command Ejection to punch out his RIO but was not able
to punch himself out. He rode it in all the way to the rice paddy. 12ft
under it that is. Flying at 1200ft and traveling at 450 knots doesn't
give you that much room to maneuver. 33yrs 5 month and 19 days ago, he
is now home. But why did it take so long? Why did it take so much work
and hurt to bring him home?
His Wife never had a time to grieve, like most wives she had a family to
raise. She tried to find the answers but was met with closed doors. She
tried to pen them. for the truth is what drove her, the not knowing is
the worst. You can only hope for the best. We all have heard stories how
a man came home after missing or thought of as dead for so long.
He had 4 boys and each handled it very differently.
The oldest, felt that he had to take over the manly duties, this is too
much for a 13yr old to handle but being the oldest......
The 2nd oldest felt that his dad was dead, case closed.
The next oldest boy wrote a letter to LBJ asking him to either bring his
daddy home or bomb Hanoi with the A bomb.
The Youngest being only 4 had just only memory, being put in the cockpit
of his dad's fighter plane.
See I know these things as I am the youngest of the Boys. I can remember
seeing a Navy man come to the door and mom crying. Why did this man make
my mom cry? Men aren't allowed to do that, or this is how I was brought
up. You protect the woman as she takes care of you. But Mom was crying
but only for a short time as she had to raise "The Boys" or "The Rich
Boys". But 3 of theses boys had to grow up a long on May 19th, 1967. I
was to drugged up to really understand what was going on. I can remember
having a teacher tell me that my dad deserved to die as he was a baby
killer. But I would tell people that my dad was on a secret mission or
that he just wasn't home yet, but he would come home soon. See I am told
that, we, my Dad and I had a very special relationship and to this day
that is what brought him home. 33yrs later. Besides keeping him alive,
just not with me for many many years because I wanted a Dad; Someone to
teach me to play catch or hit a ball, or ride a bike, or how to go on a
date and how to ask a girl out, to drive a car, to go to Father and Sons
Dinners/days/banquets with. Mom would go with me or have on of our
neighbors take me but it wasn't the same. When I turned 15 I finally
understood what happened to dad, as I said earlier I was pretty drugged
up during the 1st 28 yrs. of my life. I finally realized that he wasn't'
coming home, see he was Missing In Action or MIA. I started to tell
people that one day he wold come home, I started wearing POW/MIA hats
and T-Shirts and Pins, reading books about Vietnam and on POW's. I told
people that we left my Dad behind and had to go get him, as it was only
The Right Thing To Do.
He wold have done the same for you. Little by little I became more
involved in the POW/MIA issue. I remember having been told by many
adults to just stop whining and give up, they were all dead anyway, but
that just made my resolve even stronger. What hurt a lot was when a
Vietnam Vet, they are all my Hero's, asked me why I was wearing "That
Shirt". I told him why and he told me, so, that only Vets had the right
to wear that shirt. That hurt a lot, one of my Hero's telling me that I
couldn't help bring my Dad home, where he belonged to American Soil. But
I kept going, in the Background until 1990 when I met a man that helped
mold me into what I am today in this issue. I got my Dads files and he
and I went through them with a fine tooth comb one day. He made a Plan
of Attack and we started our War, to bring Dad home. So the last 10 yrs.
has been a long battle that looked like it was going to where until 1997
when my Family got a report saying that they found the crash site and
was just going to give up.
It took hundreds upon hundreds of people to get dads case open again.
But big break occurred in 1999 when my friend, talked to General Tucker
of the JTF_FA and got my dad moved up from a secondary site to a primary
one. This was a after I was told for a year that it would be a primary
site and be done during the dry season as they had to drain the Rice
Paddy to get to where they needed to be.
In October 1999 I know dad's site was to be the 1st secondary site. But
after trying to locate a site for 10 days it was now dads turn. So in
October 1999 they opened the crash site. I was told that there was a lot
of possible human remains, but it was just wood. So in Feb of 2000 they
went back to the my dads site to dig some more. I got a call on March
13th that SECDEF Cohen was at my Dads site and was it ok to give my name
to the press. I am sure a lot of you remember all the press my Dad Got.
They were able to pull 30 bone chips, a tooth, half a pair of Flight
Wings and a log of aircraft and personal effects.
In September of 2000 I was told that the Lab (CILHI) had identified his
remains by matching dental records with a tooth found at the site. On
October 10th, 3 days after I got married to my New Wife, my mom and I
were presented the "Blue Book" of the governments proof of
Identification. Now 3 weeks later we have buried my Father with Full
Military Honors at Arlington National Cemetery. See I finally got my six
feet of ground at Arlington.
We Did The Right Thing.
Welcome Home Dad.
It has been a long time coming.
I love you.
Your Son,
Chris Rich
Written 11/5/00
===================
Monday, October 07, 2002
Two years ago my dad came home. No he didn't come like most dads' do. He
didn't walk through he door, or didn't get out of the car. Instead he came
home in an envelope, all 33 bone chips a tooth and a half a pair of flight
wings was all physically left of him. He was found 12 feet deep in a rice
paddy outside of Hanoi in Vietnam.  His soul had left a long time ago but
the body was still wasn't home.  Not home until just recently, as he was
Missing In Action for 33 and half years. He was forgotten, not by his Family
or Friends or Comrades about by the Government that he served for had
forgotten him and thousands of others.
This story isn't about sorrow but about what the truth feels like. While
growing up I always thought my dad would come home as he was just on a
secret mission, but when the father and son games and the camp outs and the
other guys having someone to throw a ball with or to talk to, he just wasn't
there. My Family has something that many others don't though. That is
CLOSURE, my dad, Capt. Richard Rich, was positively identified two years ago
this week. There are those out there that do not agree that I did not ask
for a MT-DNA sample, that I should have made the government prove to me that
the remains before me were actually my Dad's. After reviewing the evidence
that was presented to my Mom, and me I accepted it as my Dad. Yes the
identification was a tooth and we know that the US Govt has made some bad
identification on just a tooth. This is a good Ident. Those that belittled
me and told me that I was weak and should have made the US Government run a
MT DNA sample, all I have to say is FUCK YOU. Maybe if the evidence was
sketchy, or if the tooth sort of matched, or if the location had more than
one F4 in the general area. Than I would have, asked for a better Ident. The
case is that I, being the PNOK, was satisfied and if there are those of you,
and you know who you are that don't like what I did or how I did it.  Too
bad, you have no right to tell me that I did it wrong because you weren't
here with my family or me. So you might have a loved one that didn't come
home either but you don't tell anyone else how to run their cases or their
lives.
People ask me when I felt like it was over. It wasn't on March 13, 2000 when
Diane and I were awakened at 5am to see if it was ok for the Secretary of
Defense to give my name out to the press. It wasn't when I received pictures
for the repatriation ceremony in Hanoi or the one in Hawaii. It wasn't when
Navy Mortuary Affairs called me up to make final arrangements; I found it
kind of funny when they asked if we would like a full size coffin. When I
said no, it shocked them. For 33 bone chips and a tooth.  Why do we need a
full size casket?  Closure didn't come to me when I had gotten the orders to
fly to Hawaii to pick up the remains. Nor was it when we went to CilHi and
had the tour and the command briefing, (if you ever have a chance to go to
Hawaii, go visit CilHi, it is well worth the trip) or was it when they
showed me the remains and the very nice oak urn with the brass nameplate on
it. Nor was it when I picked up the remains and held them for some time. No
closure still did not come when Diane and I got back on the flight back to
Washington DC. The flight to Chicago was packed, we were on a L1011 packed
to the gills and to top it off it was a red eye. So we got into Chicago
about 5am and killed two hours waiting for the flight in to DC. During this
time I am walking around with the box that contained the urn that contained
the remains of my dad in it. So our flight is getting ready to leave and we
have a whole row of seats. Diane takes the window as I like the aisle for
legroom and I strap the box in to the middle seat and put a windbreaker over
it. The flight attendant came back to inform me that nothing was allowed on
the seat during flight. I explained to her that it was a box that contained
an urn that contained my dad. She said she would go and talk with the Pilot.
So the Pilot comes on back and explains to us that due to FAA regulations
that nothing is allowed to be on the seat. What he said afterwards floored
me, he said, "it would be my honor and privilege if I could place the urn in
the cockpit behind my seat." Well he went out in the cockpit and came home
in the cockpit. But that still wasn't when I felt the closure.
It wasn't when I handed the urn over to the funeral home, nor when there was
visitation hours. Nor was it the day of the services or when I spoke at the
services. No it wasn't when a Navy Captain and Admiral saluted my family as
we were walking out. It wasn't when the Navy Band started to play or when
they loaded the Urn in to the caisson. It was when we were walking behind it
following the precession to the gravesite. YES WE HAVE A GRAVE SITE, just
not a marker or a name on a Wall but we actually have 3 feet in Arlington
National Cemetery. It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders as
I was telling Diane this; my Brother Rob pushes me to the left and points
down. The horses are well fed.
But this is what every family member wants, is just the truth. What hurt the
most are the not knowing and the lack of empathy that is given to the
families of those that are still not accounted for.
I have been asked many of times over the past 10 years if I would give up
this issue if my dad were ever accounted for, "as so many others have". No I
haven't given up on this issue, I just can't do that, but I don't live the
issue on a personal day-to-day basis. I think the reason why so many family
members get out of the issue after their part is done, is just that, their
part is done. So yes I am still here but maybe not as loud as before or as
much as a knife in the governments side but I am still around. I think
someone said it best, as I am a puppy pit bull with basset hound mix.
Why does it take:
 So many,
 So long,
 To make,
 So few,
 So happy
 Chris Rich
 Proud Son of Capt. Richard Rich
 USN 1945-1967
 MIA 1967-2000
 Remains recovered 3/13/00
 Remains Identified 10/10/00
 Buried on American Soil 11/10/00
 ===========================
I have written the Assistant Secretary of the Army of Manpower and Reserves
to get the ball rolling on having a caisson for all, just not the officers.
Here is the web site http://www.asamra.army.pentagon.mil/
I hope this will get to the right people.
I am the son of Capt Richard Rich USN
MIA 1967-2000
My family was fortunate enough to have our loved ones remains brought home
and we had a wonderful experience with Full Military Honors that included
the Horseless caisson at Arlington National Cemetery.
The reason I am writing is that I have been informed that not ALL members of
our Armed Services that died on Active Duty or due to an injury while on
Active Duty do not have the same privilege and honor as my Father had.
I would like to know how to get this policy changed so ALL members of our
Armed Services that died on Active Duty or due to an injury while on Active
Duty do have the same privilege and honor as my Father. As they both died
for the same thing, that was serving Our Country.
Please let me know who I need to contact to make this wrong a right.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter
Chris Rich
Proud Son of Capt. Richard Rich
USN 1944-1967
MIA 1967-2000
Remains Found 3/13/00
Remains Identified 10/07/00
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery 11/7/00
www.ojc.org
==============================
Diane, Tyler (our grand son) and myself just finished watching this show.
Johnnie Webb, who you saw speak a lot, is a man that the Families are able
to Call directly. During the last few months of my dads case, I was able to
call Johnnie at just about any hour for updates. which Johnnie can attest
to.
When Diane and I traveled to CiLHi to escort my dad's remains back. Johnnie
Webb and Dr. Tom Holland met us at the front door. The names you saw of
those recovered is on the way just as you enter the front door. They call it
the Wall of Hero's. They said in 2000 that they were building a new one as
they had just filled the first one up. After we entered the Lab, we were
introduced to some other members of the Team. We were lead to the briefing
room were I was presented a command briefing on why CiLHi felt that they
remains were my dads. It was very impressive to have High ranking Enlisted
Personnel, officers and other officials at your beckon call. If I had a
question and they were unable to answer it, they would find the answer. The
briefing lasted about an hour to an hour and a half. Afterwards we were
given a tour of the lab. We found out that there was a Chinese General on
the other side of the lab and he thought it was fantastic that our country
allowed the families to come and tour the facility. If you ever get a chance
to go to Hawaii, do go and tour CILHI, if at all possible.
My dad's remains 33 bone chips a tooth and a half of pair of flight wings is
all that was left. The lab at CILHI has about 20 examination tables were the
skeletonal remains are laid out for possible identification. My dad's was on
the last row, on the table all the way on the left hand side. On the other
19 tables were the remains of the Making Raiders. I had decided to have dads
remains put in an Urn instead of a full size Coffin because of the amount
and size of the remains. The Urn was very nice, hard oak with a dark stain,
with Brass studs on it and a brass plate with Dad Name, Rank, Date joined
the Service, Date Shot down and Date Identified. I will have to see if that
picture ever came out.
We were in Hawaii for a grand total of 26 hours. We left Hawaii at about 5pm
local time, on a redeye to Chicago and than on to DC.
We explained to the person at check in what was in the box and that we were
a special escort to Washington DC. She attempted to get us upgraded to
Business class but the flight was over booked already. After being on a
PACKED L1011 for 10 hrs or so, we arrived in Chicago at about 5:30am Chicago
time. Our flight to DC wasn't leaving until about 7am, so I grabbed a BIG
coffee and Diane got a big Lemonade, I think. Again we explained at check in
what was in the box and we were given a row of 3 seats so we could stretch
out a bit. Diane wanted the Window and I like the Aisle as I get to stretch
out my feet (Quiet Steve), I seatbelted the box carrying the urn in the
middle seatand put a wind breaker over the box. The Flight attendant came
back and told me that I could not have a box on the seat and would have to
be stored under the seat. I explained to her what it was and asked her if we
could make an exception, she stated it was FAA regs and no. I pleaded my
case again. She went and spoke with the Captain who came back and told me.
That it was against FAA regs to have that but it would be his honor if the
Urn could be placed behind his seat in the cockpit as he was a Pilot in
Vietnam. during this time a guy in the row ahead of us and on the otherside
of the aisle looked spooked and kept on turning his head at us. I felt like
telling him that it was only bone chips and they weren't going to jump out
of the box....
We finally get to DC and our Causality officer a LTJG whose this was her
first assignment of this type, picked us up and took us to the Double Tree
Hotel. Even though our room as prepaid, I was informed that we would not be
able to check in until there was an imprint of the  credit card that was
used to hold the room was there.  That was hard to do, as the credit card
was about 1100 miles away. After telling them that I didn't care, I would
sleep in the lobby and tell people why I was. This little LTJG stepped in
and started her stuff, hope she moved on to another part of teh Navy. The
Hotel Manager stated they would need something. Diane, watch out for red
heads, took the box that had the urn and told them they could have this, in
no uncertain terms and not in her inside voice. We finally were given the
room.
Since this case had so much media attention as it was the crash site that
Former Secretary Defense Cohen went to the media were hot after the "rest of
the story". I told the LTJG that there were to be no media at the viewing,
none the day of the services as it was My Families Day. After talking with
Mom a bit she asked me why I was so adamant on the no press. I just didn't
want them to make a circus out of our time. I finally agreed to No Press at
the Viewing, Chapel or Grave Side. but would grant an interview afterwards
off of Arlington Cemetery's grounds, as it is not a place for a circus.
Before the service was to begin I met a member of every squadron that dad
had been a member of. That in it's self was impressive. In front of the
chapel there were members from Rolling Thunder with the POW Flag flying,
along side the US NAVY Band playing and the horse drawn Cession out front. I
had a opportunity to speak with the Chaplin and asked if I would be able to
speak for about 7-8 minutes on my dad.
With my Mom, my Brothers, an Uncle and cousins. Close friends of the family
and those who had a great importance in helping to bring my dad home. The
services began and the urn was brought in the chapel by the US Navy Color
Guard and placed in the front. The Chaplin, who really had no knowledge of
this case expect that the death occurred in 1967 was only informed a few
minutes prior that this was a case of one that was Missing In Action for
almost 34 years.  You can read in it's entirety what I had read during the
service. This is titled THE RIGHT THING
http://personal.lig.bellsouth.net/r/e/rewired/ While walking out of the
chapel, the sun brightly shined and on the left side of the chapel door was
an Admiral and on the Right side of the door as a Navy Captain (a navy
Captain the equal to that of a Full Colonel in the Air Force, Marines and
Army) in full Dress Whites standing at attention and saluting my Family. The
Navy band is playing and many of us decided to walk to the site behind the
Cession and the US Navy Band. It was during this trip that I felt a huge
weight taken off my shoulders. Something like dad saying, I'm home now. I
leaned over to Diane, who never left my side, that is was all over. While at
the grace site, starting to get hot now in Early November, a Navy Captain
presented the flag to my mother and we had a treat. We were told that
morning because of the weather that there wouldn't not be a fly over most
likely. Well during taps and the 21 gun salute we heard a flight of F18's
flying over head and did the missing man formation, that is when the knees
really buckled.
On a different note, last year that the local air show, Diane and I worked
with the Blue Angels and because of the low cloud cover they could not do
the Missing Man formation during the shows. But while taking off to their
base on Sunday night. They came back across the run way in Missing Man
formation. My brother said it best is that he is glad that they didn't do it
during the show as it would only be another trick to the crowd but it was in
honor of a fallen comrade when they did it for me with hardly anyone else
around.
This Email grew from a paragraph or two on the show tonight on the history
channel to what it became because on, September 11, 2000 I called up Johnnie
Webb and asked him about the findings of what at that time was thought to be
my dads remains and he told me that they report had just come across his had
6 hours before hand. So this month was a busy one for me and Diane and my
family as I was trying to make formal discussions on my dads case, help
Diane (not very much) with final wedding arrangements and trying to contact
as many people of our family and who knew dad to let them know what was
coming.
On October 7, 2000 Diane and I were married, on October 10, 2000 the Navy
presented what is known as the Blue Book to the families of those still not
accounted for and services on November 7, 2000.
Lest We Forget
Welcome home dad it's been a long time coming
Chris Rich
Proud Son of Capt. Richard Rich
USN 1944-1967
MIA 1967-2000
Remains Found 3/13/00
Remains Identified 10/07/00
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery 11/7/00
www.ojc.org

P.S. the most recent pictures of my dads grave site. These items were left
after the lastest meetings on the POW MIA issue in Wahington DC this past
June. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/rrich.htm