COCHEO, RICHARD NEWELL
Name: Richard Newell Cocheo
Rank/Branch: U.S. Civilian
Unit: Pacific Architects and Engineers
Date of Birth: 23 May 1938
Home City of Record:
Date of Loss: 31 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 101500N 1055800E (XS5060330)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Other Personnel in Incident: Cocheo's wife (killed)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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.
REMARKS: TAKEN FROM HIS HOUSE - VINH LONG
SYNOPSIS: Richard Cocheo was a base development engineer for Pacific
Architects and Engineers and lived about 60 miles southwest of Saigon in the
city of Vinh Long. On January 31, 1968, during the Tet Offensive, the Viet
Cong attacked the provincial capitol of Vinh Long Province. Cocheo's house
was surrounded, and during the ensuing firefight, Mrs. Cocheo was killed and
Richard Cocheo was captured and taken from his home.
In May 1968, Richard and several South Vietnamese civilians were seen as
captives being held in the village of Tan Giai, Vinh Long Province, where
they had been held since their capture. No further word has been publicly
released about about Richard Cocheo, although other "restricted data" is
held by the U.S. State Department.
The Vietnamese deny any knowledge of Richard Cocheo, and they have not
revealed any details of his captivity. Although they have "discovered" the
remains of over 200 Americans missing in Vietnam, they have yet to
"discover" any information on Richard Cocheo.
Cocheo is one of nearly 2500 Americans who remained missing, prisoner or
unaccounted for from the war in Vietnam. He spent several months in
captivity with the nightmare of his wife's murder.
Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports relating to missing Americans has
been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities believe that hundreds
are still alive in communist hands. If Cocheo is among them, he has spent
over 20 years reliving the murder of his wife and enduring the growing
realization that he has been abandoned by his own country.
SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE
NAME: COCHEO, Richard, Civilian
OFFICIAL STATUS: CAPTURED
CASE SUMMARY: SEE ATTACHED
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: Mr. Cocheo was captured on 31 January 1969, and
one report identifies him as a prisoner as late as 30 June 1973. There are
no reports of his status since then.
REFNO: 1010 23 Jun 75
(U) CASE SUMMARY
1. Mr. Richard Cocheo was employed by the Pacific Architects and Engineers
Corporation in South Vietnam. On 31 January 1968, (the second night of the
enemy TET offensive), the VC surrounded Mr. Cocheo's home in Vinh Long
City, (in the vicinity of grid coordinates XS 060 040 ), and told him to
surrender. Instead, Mr. Cocheo fired on the VC, and during the firefight
Mr. Cocheo's wife was killed. Mr. Cocheo then surrendered and was taken
away. A 26 October 1968 letter from CARE indicates that Mr. Cocheo was last
seen alive in May 1968, and was being held with some government civil
servants at a pagoda, (location unknown). The Buddhists in the area stated
that Mr. Cocheo could be among the many Americans who were reportedly being
held by the VC in the Delta.
2. On 30 June 1973 a report stated that a Vietnamese employee talked with a
monk in Tan My village, Tra On District, and alleged that he had seen a
prisoner whom he identified as Mr. Cocheo who was taken to Vinh Xuan
village, Tra On District. The disposition of Mr. Cocheo from that point was
unknown. (Ref 2)
3. During several trips to the area of the capture JCRC representatives
discussed the case with local officials and residents but were unable to
elicit additional useful information or leads in this case. In March 1975
the Two-Party Joint Military Commission recovered and turned over to JCRC
several sets of remains, one of which was alleged to be an American.
CILThai identified all the remains as mongoloid. Details of this case,
together with information indicating enemy knowledge of the case, were
turned over to the Four-Party Joint Military Team on 8 Apr 74 with a
request for any information which would assist in determine status and
resolution. No response was forthcoming. Mr. Cocheo currently carried in
the status of Captured.
1. LTR (U), CARE/Vietam, 26 Oct 63.
2. MSG (U) , MSG AMCONSUL CAN THO RVN, 30025OZ73.
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