GUMBERT, ROBERT WILLIAM JR.
Name: Robert William Gumbert, Jr.
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Company B, 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry, 23rd Infantry Division
Date of Birth: 12 December 1949 (Cincinnati OH)
Home City of Record: New Richmond OH
Date of Loss: 22 June 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 144848N 1090024E (BS850380)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
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: At 0700 hours on June 22, 1970, PFC Robert W. Gumbert was walking
point for his squad on a combat mission in South Vietnam. The unit was
operating in Quang Ngai Province near the border of Binh Dinh Province, near
the coastline of South Vietnam about 10 miles south of the city of Mo Duc,
and about 3 miles east of Duc Pho.
While Gumbert was moving through a hedgerow area, an explosive device
detonated along the southern edge of the hedgerow at Gumbert's position. The
explosion created a crater 4 1/2' deep and 12 feet wide. The two men, SP4
Gary L. Peat and SP4 Joseph M. Turowski Jr., were killed, with SP4 Peat, who
was just behind PFC Gumbert, being dismembered.
An extensive search of the area was conducted. PFC Gumbert's wallet, with
black powder residue and numerous tears and some letters belonging to him
were found. Also found were small pieces of a rucksack. However, no evidence
of PFC Gumbert could be located.
On April 16, 1974 a Vietnamese source reported a grave site alleged to
contain American remains. This information was tentatively correlated to
this case and a search and recovery mission was performed during the period
of May 21-26, 1974. A small amount of human, mongoloid remains were
recovered, but were insufficient to identify as a specific individual.
A source observed the body of an American soldier and heard that two other
Americans were buried near Pho Yuan village in 1979. This report was thought
to possibly correlate with PFC Gumbert.
It is apparent Gumbert was killed the day he moved through the hedgerow in
Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam. Under the circumstances, his body will
probably never be recovered. He is listed with honor among the missing
because he is an American fighting man who is still in enemy hands - alive
Gumbert's is one of relatively few cases of missing Americans that probably
cannot be resolved by the return of remains. Unlike "MIAs" in other wars,
most of the missing in Southeast Asia can be accounted for. Although the
Vietnamese pledged in 1973 to release all POWs and account for American
missing, they have been less than forthcoming with information and remains
the U.S. is certain that they possess.
Since the last American soldiers left Vietnam in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports
relating to the missing have been received by the U.S. government. Most
authorities now believe there are hundreds of Americans still alive, being
held against their will. While PFC Gumbert may not be among those said to be
alive, as long as there is even one American alive in enemy hands, we must
do everything possible to secure his freedom.