MCCONNELL, JERRY Name: Jerry McConnell Rank/Branch: E2/US Army Unit: 625th Supply & Services Co., 266th SS Btn, 29th General Support Group Date of Birth: 02 January 1947 Home City of Record: Jamaica NY Date of Loss: 24 September 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 165408N 1071156E Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Boat Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) Refno: 1288 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 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: Pvt. Jerry McConnell, 625th Supply and Services Company, was working on a reefer barge moored in th Cua Viet River on September 24, 1968. After finishing work, he and several other personnel decided to swim from the barge to he beach, which was about 50 yards away. The group entered the water, and Pvt. McConnell yelled at some friends who were already on the beach, swam in a circle and went down. He surfaced once, and a sailor threw a life preserver to him, but he apparently did not see it. Another sailor, who was a frogman immediately went down looking for him. A short while later, a surface search was made by 2 river patrol boats and a diver, but without success. Jerry McConnell is listed among the missing because his remains were never found to send home to the country he served. He died a tragically ironic death in the midst of war. But, for his family, the case seems clear that he died on that day. The fact that they have no body to bury with honor is not of great significance. For other who are missing, however, the evidence leads not to death, but to survival. Since the war ended, over 8000 reports received relating to Americans still held captive in Indochina have convinced experts that hundreds of men are still alive, waiting for their country to rescue them. The notion that Americans are dying without hope in the hands of a long-ago enemy belies the idea that we left Vietnam with honor. It also signals that tens of thousands of lost lives were a frivolous waste of our best men.