GRZYB, ROBERT H.
Name: Robert H. Grzyb
Rank/Branch: U.S. Civilian
Date of Birth: 22 October 1946
Home City of Record:
Date of Loss: 10 December 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 141211N 1075700E (ZA184721)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Other Personnel In Incident: (none mssing)
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.
REMARKS: 680900 DIC; ON PRG LIST
SYNOPSIS: On December 10, 1967, Robert H. Grzyb, an American civilian, was
captured while riding in a jeep in Pleiku Province, South Vietnam. He was
detained with other American prisoners at a camp just over the border in
When 591 Americans were released in 1973 in exchange for scheduled U.S.
military withdrawal from Vietnam, Robert Grzyb was not among them. Returned
POWs who were held with Grzyb reported that he died in September 1968, and was
buried near the camp in Cambodia. The Provisional Revolutionary Government
confirmed Gryzb's capture and stated that he died while in captivity.
This Cambodia/Vietnam border region was the detention area of several U.S. POWs
who returned, and some who did not. Life in the South in the hands of the Viet
Cong was very difficult and primitive. Medical treatment was inadequate, if
available at all, and food supplies inconsistent. The POWs as well as their
guards suffered when warfare forced them to move from camp to camp, and
successful American bombing prevented food supplies from reaching them. Many
died of starvation-related complications, as well as malaria and dysentery.
Although both the U.S. and the Vietnamese know the location of Grzyb's grave,
tragically, the U.S. has been powerless in returning the remains to Grzyb's
family for burial in his homeland.
In 1987, the U.S. sent information to the Vietnamese through Gen. John Vessey
in hopes that they would provide information concerning him, but no further
information has been learned.
Even more tragically, the U.S. has been powerless to secure the freedom of the
hundreds of Americans experts now believe are being held captive by the
governments of Southeast Asia.
from the SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE on POW/MIAs FINAL REPORT :
Cambodia Robert H. Grzyb
In the late morning of December 11, 1967, a U.S. Army private assigned at
Pleiku City, South Vietnam, reported to his unit that he, Mr. Grzyb, and two
Koreans had been ambushed by the Viet Cong on the afternoon of December 10,
1967. Mr. Grzyb was reportedly wounded in the arm, and one of the Koreans was
killed, when they were ambushed north of Pleiku City where they had gone to
A subsequent investigation revealed a Vietnamese police officer, a neighbor,
and Mr. Grzyb departed Pleiku at noon on December 10th in a Vietnamese police
jeep. It was located by an aircraft spotter late that afternoon at the
village of Plei Pok 25 kilometers north of Pleiku. The damaged jeep was
recovered, and its FM radio and battery had been removed. The body of the
dead policeman was found there with a bullet wound in the head which had
apparently been fired at close range. Plei Pok villagers said Mr. Grzyb and
the policeman were ambushed by Viet Cong just outside their village after
buying five small pigs for 500 Vietnamese dong, equivalent to approximately
$4.00. The policeman was killed, and Mr. Grzyb was apparently abducted.
Further police investigation determined Mr. Grzyb, a former U.S. Army
serviceman and unemployed U.S. civilian in Vietnam without proper
identification at the time, had been arrested in Pleiku on September 30th by
the Vietnamese National Police following the discharge of a pistol which
blinded a young Vietnamese boy. Mr. Grzyb was attempting to sell the pistol
to another serviceman at the time of the incident. A search of his residence
led to the recovery of a .45 caliber sub-machine gun. Also during that time,
he was wanted for the illegal sale of 384 cases of stolen U.S. Government
C-rations. Mr. Grzyb was jailed and fined and was released from jail on
November 11, 1967, at which time he told U.S. authorities he wanted to apply
for Vietnamese citizenship. The American private who claimed he was with Mr.
Grzyb was on an unauthorized absence from Pleiku at the time of the incident,
having been confined to the city after his release from a U.S. military jail
in November 1967. When captured, Mr. Grzyb never mentioned any Koreans with
him. He said he was in the U.S. Army, wounded in the side when captured, and
had been due to rotate from Vietnam the day after his capture.
Mr. Grzyb was first listed by Department of State and DIA in 1970 as
unaccounted-for after receiving his file from JPRC. He was listed as a POW at
the time of Operation Homecoming and, in January 1973, was listed by the PRG
as having died in captivity.
Seven returning U.S. POWs described Mr. Grzyb's incarceration with them at a
People's Army of Vietnam B-3 Theater of Operations prison along the
Vietnam/Cambodia border where he died one evening late in 1968 while suffering
from malaria and malnutrition. Wartime reports related his name as "Gzip" or
"Gzeb." One wartime report from a Vietnam People's Army Captain described Mr.
Grzyb's presence at the prison while suffering from malaria. Two other
reported sightings of Americans in captivity were placed in Mr. Grzyb's file
but, apparently, did not pertain to him.
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