FRANK, MARTIN STANLEY
Name: Martin Stanley Frank
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record:
Date of Loss: 12 Jul 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 134026N 1073809E (YA850131)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
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.
Other Personnel In Incident: Nathan B. Henry; Cordine McMurray; Stanley A.
Newell; Richard R. Perricone (all released); James F. Schiele; James L. Van
Bendegom (both missing). Held with men from at least two other incidents
including: Incident on 18 May 1967: Joe L. DeLong (missing); Incident on 17
Feb 1967: David W. Sooter (released).
REMARKS: 730305 RELSD BY PRG
SYNOPSIS: In the spring of 1973, 591 American Prisoners of War were released
from prisons and camps in Vietnam. Among them were six of a group of nine
U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division personnel captured in and near Pleiku
Province, South Vietnam during the year of 1967 whose lives had been
intertwined for the past six years. All had belonged to that part of the
"Ivy Division" which was assigned to Task Force Oregon conducting border
operations called Operation Sam Houston (1 Jan - 5 Apr 67) and Operation
Francis Marion (5 Apr - 12 Oct 67).
On February 17, 1967, W1 David W. Sooter was the only man captured from a
OH23 helicopter downed at the southeastern edge of Kontum Province near the
edge of Pleiku Province, and near the Cambodian border.
PFC Joe Lynn DeLong was the machine gunner for his company, on a
company-sized patrol in Rotanokiri Province, Cambodia on May 18, 1967.
(Note: most records list this loss as in South Vietnam, and coordinates
place it in the Ia Drang Valley, Pleiku Province, South Vietnam near the
border of Cambodia, but U.S. Army casualty reports state that the loss was
in Kotanokiri Province, Cambodia.) While on patrol, his unit was hit by a
Viet Cong force of unknown size and cut off from the rest of the company.
DeLong's platoon formed a defensive perimeter and attempted to hold their
position. Later that day, at about 1830 hours, DeLong's platoon position was
overrun. The next morning, another unit reached his position, and was able
to account for all platoon members except for DeLong. It was later learned
that DeLong had been captured.
Nearly two months later, on July 12, 1967, SP4 Martin S. Frank, PFC Nathan
B. Henry, Sgt. Cordine McMurray, PFC Stanley A. Newell, PFC Richard R.
Perricone, SP4 James F. Schiele and PFC James L. Van Bendegom, all members
of Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, were
conducting a search and destroy mission along the Cambodian border when
their position was overrun by the Viet Cong. With the execption of Schiele,
all the men were captured. The U.S. Army notes that Schiele and Van Bendegom
were captured by the North Vietnamese, while the others, apparently, were
captured by Viet Cong.
PFC Schiele was seen by his platoon leader as his unit was forced to
withdraw, leaving him behind. He had been hit a number of times by automatic
weapons fire in the legs and chest and was thought to be dead. PFC Perricone
stated in his debrief upon return to the U.S. that the enemy camp commander
of Camp 102 told him that SP4 Schiele had died of wounds received in the
fire fight. However, since there was no positive proof of death, the U.S.
government placed Schiele in a Missing in Action category. Classified
information given to the Vietnamese by Gen. John Vessey in 1987, however,
states that both Schiele and Van Bendegom were captured by the North
PFC Vanbendegom was also wounded in the engagement, and was seen alive by
other Americans captured in the same battle about one week after his capture
at a communist field hospital in Cambodia, not far from his capture
location. One of the released Americans was later told by the commanding
North Vietnamese officer at his prison camp in Cambodia that SP4 Vanbendegom
had died of his wounds. Vanbendegom was categorized as a Prisoner of War.
The other seven Americans were held in prison camps on the Vietnam/Cambodia
border for several months. According to the debriefs of releasees Sooter and
Perricone, they and DeLong had attempted to escape from a border camp in
Cambodia on November 6, 1967, but were recaptured the same day. Two days
later, Sooter and Perricone were shown DeLong's bullet-ridden and
blood-soaked trousers and were told that DeLong had been killed resisting
recapture. The Vietnamese included DeLong's name on a list of prisoners who
had died in captivity (saying he died in November 1967), did not return his
remains, and did not offer any explaination.
Sooter, Frank, Henry, Perricone, McMurray and Newell were all released by
the PRG in 1973. Frank was never known to be a prisoner by the U.S. Henry
was injured, and maintains a permanent disability today. The U.S. is certain
the Vietnamese also know the fates of DeLong, Schiele and Vanbendegom, but
the Vietnamese continue to remain silent.
Since the end of the war, only a few score of the many remains the
Vietnamese could provide have been returned to U.S. control. Each return of
remains signals some political move by the Vietnamese. Strong moves towards
normalization of relations began in the mid-80's, which most Americans would
not oppose. As evidence mounts that hundreds of Americans are still held
captive by these same governments the U.S. is rushing to befriend, many
concerned Americans believe that in our rush to leave Indochina, we
abandoned our best men. And that in our rush to return, we will sign their
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
MARTIN S. FRANK
Staff Sergeant- United States Army
Captured: July 12, 1967
Released: March 5, 1973
I was born in Montclair, New Jersey and was raised in Belleville, New Jersey.
l entered the Army in April of 1966 shortly after a separation from my wife. I
attended Basic Training at Ft. Dix, New Jersey and at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. In
September of 1966 I left for Vietnam and was assigned to Company B, 1st
Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Division. My station camp, Camp Eneri, Pleiku,
I was captured at Pleiku Province July 12, 1967. My first two and a half years
were spent in the jungle prison camp in South Vietnam. We walked to North
Vietnam. At one time I was down to 95 pounds and at the time of my release I
was back up to 130 pounds.
After returning to US control 5 March 1973, I had a preliminary examination at
Clark Air Force Base, Philippines and then was sent to Ft. Monmouth, New
Jersey for further examination. I am presently assigned to Ft. Monmouth as a
career counselor. I just re-enlisted for four more years as I intend to make a
career of the service. I was divorced 12 October 1973 and as of yet have no
future marital plans.
Martin S. Frank passed away April 3, 2008 at the Audie Murphy VA
Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.
Arrangements will be announced later.