SMITH, ROGER LEE REMAINS RETURNED 11/94, IDENTIFIED 07/99
Name: Roger Lee Smith Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Unit: 117th Aviation Company, 214th Aviation Battalion, 12th Aviation Group Date of Birth: 14 March 1947 (Cabell County OH) Home City of Record: South Point OH Date of Loss: 03 October 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 113101N 1055352E (WT979732) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H Refno: 1297
Source: Compiled 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 in 1998.
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
SYNOPSIS: On October 3, 1968, SP4 Roger L. Smith was the crew chief aboard a UH1H helicopter (serial #67-17595) on a command and control mission in Phuoc Long Province in the general vicinity of Phuoc Binh. There were a total of six individuals aboard the aircraft.
When Smith's helicopter was flying over an operations area, the aircraft was hit by hostile ground fire, crashed and burned. Of the six aboard, five were recovered, although public record does not indicate whether they survived or were dead. Information allegedly obtained from witnesses indicates that Smith's remains are probably still at the crash site and under the aircraft's transmission. The site was not revisited. A great deal of information relating to this case was still classified as late as May, 1988.
SP4 Roger Smith is listed with honor among the living because his remains were not returned to be buried with honor at home. But, for his family, the case seems clear that he died on that day. That they have no body to bury with honor does not greatly change that fact.
For other who are missing, however, the evidence leads not to death, but to survival. Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports received relating to Americans still missing in Indochina have convinced many experts that hundreds of men are still alive, waiting for their country to rescue them. The notion that Americans are dying without hope in the hands of a long-ago enemy belies the idea that we left Vietnam with honor. It also signals that tens of thousands of lost lives were a frivolous waste of our best men.
---------------------------- National League of Families UPDATE LINE: JULY 6, 1999
Thank you for calling the National League of Families Update Line. This message is being recorded on Tuesday, July 6th. The number of Americans still missing from the Vietnam War is 2,060.
The name of the American recently accounted for, previously not announced by DPMO, is US Army Specialist 4th Class Roger L. Smith of South Point, Ohio. Spec. 4 Smith was listed as unaccounted for since the UH-1H on which he was crew chief was hit by ground fire and crashed in Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam, on October 3, 1968. In November 1994, during a third field operation to account for Spec. 4 Smith, remains and crew-related artifacts were recovered from the crash site, identified earlier by a Vietnamese citizen. Forensic analysis of the remains and other evidence by the US Army's Central Identification Laboratory confirmed Spec. 4 Smith's identification.
With the accounting for this man, there are now 2,060 Americans still missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. Since the release of US POWs in 1973, the remains of 523 Americans previously missing in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have been recovered, identified and returned to their families. Of the 2,060 still unaccounted for, over 95% were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under the control of Vietnamese forces at the time of loss.