ELLIS, RANDALL SHELLEY
Name: Randall Shelley Ellis
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st
Date of Birth: 14 June 1948
Home City of Record: Charleston SC
Date of Loss: 18 April 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 112323N 1061833E (XT428593)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
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 2020.
SYNOPSIS: On April 18, 1969, SP4 Ellis was serving as a medic for HHQ, 1st
Battalion, 8th Cavalry. His unit was on a combat mission in South Vietnam,
operating in a tank infantry formation when one of the tanks was hit by a
rocket propelled grenade (RPG), causing casualties. Ellis responded
immediately, and as he climbed aboard the tank, sniper fire wounded him in
the left hand. He was taken to a medivac landing zone to be taken to a
medical aid station. He was seen by several different people at the LZ.
Whether Ellis ever boarded a medivac dustoff helicopter was never
determined. No one ever saw him again. The area was cleared and searched
twice that day and again the following day. A company-sized sweep was
conducted but nothing was found. All medical facilities in the country and
some out of the country were queried about SP4 Ellis, but no information
regarding his fate was reported.
Ellis is among some 3000 Americans whose fate remained uncertain at the end
of American involvement in Vietnam. Since 1975, that number has dwindled to
around 2400 due to case resolution, and return and identification of
Incredibly, when Vietnamese refugees began to flood the world, they brought
with them stories of Americans still held in their country as prisoners of
war. By 1989, the number of these reports had almost reached the number of
10,000. The quality of these reports has been deemed very high, as less than
20% of the total have been determined to be fabricated.
Families of the missing are taunted by reports that men are alive, captives
of our long-ago enemy, while the U.S. seems unable to do what is necessary
to bring these men home.