MASUDA, ROBERT SUSUMU
Name: Robert Susumu Masuda
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Company B, 1st Battalion, 605th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne
Date of Birth: 19 October 1947 (Cleveland OH)
Home City of Record: San Jose CA
Date of Loss: 13 May 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 110326N 1062847E (XT618227)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
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.
Other Personnel In Incident: David L. Munoz (missing)
REMARKS: POSSIBLY THROWN INTO WELL
SYNOPSIS: SP4 Robert Masuda and PFC David L. Munoz were serving as a machine
gun team on a reconnaissance enforce mission northwest of Saigon in Binh
Duong Province, South Vietnam on May 13, 1969.
At about 0900 hours, their unit, Company B, 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry,
found a large quantity of rice in a village, and both Masuda and Munoz
assisted in destroying the rice cache, believed to be supplies stored by or
intended for the Viet Cong.
At about 1100 hours, the unit began moving toward their night position. At
1800 hours, it was determined that Masuda and Munoz were missing. Elements
of Company B began to retrace the day's route and search the area where the
rice had been found and destroyed.
A well found in the area that had been recently filled in with dirt was
partially excavated in search of the two men, but excavation was stopped
with the approach of darkness. Freshly fired AK47 rounds and scattered bits
of blood-soaked sand were found in the position in which these two men were
The next day, Company A of the same battalion made another unsuccessful
search of the area, and on May 18, Company B returned to the area and found
an 82nd Airborne patch in a pack of cards that may have belonged to Masuda.
In February 1975, a well in the vicinity of Cu Chi was excavated and the
remains of an American serviceman and a local female were found. After
digging a few more inches, the workers unearthed an old, live hand grenade,
and suspended operation pending the arrival of American Department of
Defense personnel. Subsequent digging unearthed an old rusty bayonette
scabbard, and when the EOD mine detector found evidence of further material
(which perhaps indicated that the well had been booby-trapped), the
investigation was halted and never completed. The remains found were not
correlated to either Masuda or Munoz.
It is known that the Vietnamese have certain knowledge of the fate of Masuda
and Munoz, but it is uncertain if they were taken prisoner or killed.
Defense Department notations indicate that both men were "possibly thrown
Whether the two were killed or captured, the Vietnamese pledged to release
all prisoners and provide information on those missing for whom they have
information. They have been less than forthcoming with this pledge, and the
U.S. Government has not insisted that they provide the information OR the
prisoners of war many authorities are convinced they still hold.
While we as individuals cannot directly secure the release of Robert Masuda
and David Munoz, alive or dead, we CAN insist that our government do
everything possible to secure the release of Americans held captive in
Southeast Asia and the return of those who have died.