HELLE, ROBERT RAY
|Name: Robert Ray Helle
Rank/Branch: United States Marine Corps/E3
Unit: Golf Co, 2nd Bn, 5th Mar Reg - 1st Mar Div.
Date of Birth: 22 December 1948
Home City of Record: Toledo OH
Date of Loss: 24 April 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162600 North 1074500 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Other Personnel in Incident:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews. Updated 2019 with information
from Justin Jackson-Mann.
REMARKS: 730316 RELEASED BY PRG
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
ROBERT R. HELLE
Sergeant- United States Marine Corps
Captured: April 24, 1968
Released: March 16, 1973
On my last operation before capture (April 24, 1968) I was on the outside of
the village of Phu Bia. Larry Kavanaugh and I were assigned to the outer
perimeter of a helicopter lift. After the operation the helicopters picked
all up except Larry and myself. We waited for them to come back for us ...
In the far distance we could see men running around. They started to close in
on us. They were in black pajamas and shorts ... It was the enemy ... There
were U.S. planes flying over head .... Larry fired three distress shots...
Then the Viet Cong opened fire on us. Larry fired back but my weapon
was faulty; it would not fire. It had a broken firing pin. I was shot in the
left shoulder ... it bled profusely. Shortly Larry was hit in the hand...
it blew up his magazine. He was bleeding badly . . . We were surrounded.
We saw that capture was inevitable. I talked to Larry, saying he
had a lot to live for: he had a wife and baby (he had never seen) and
perhaps if they captured us that someday they may release us.
The irony of the story is that in less than a minute after our capture
... When we were hidden under a tree line ... our helicopters flew over ...
they were looking for Larry and myself... They took off without seeing us...
our hearts sank ... So started our five years as prisoners of the North
Vietnamese and as MIAs.
Robert Helle resides in Ohio.