OLSON, BARRY ALLEN
Name: Barry Allen Olson
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: B Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division
Date of Birth: 04 August 1947
Home City of Record: Albert Lea MN
Date of Loss: 26 September 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 125912N 1081406E (BQ001372)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: M113 (APC)
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 1990 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.
SYNOPSIS: PFC Barry A. Olson was a member of B Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th
Infantry. On September 26, 1968, he was riding on top of an armored
personnel carrier while his unit conducted a tactical move along Highway 14
in Darlac Province, South Vietnam. Their position was approximately 20-25
miles northeast of Ban Me Thuot.
During the move, the APC was hit by an anti-tank round (a D-40 rocket). In
the confusion that followed, it was first believed that Olson had been
evacuated from the area by helicopter. However, the investigating board
could find no evidence that this had occurred. The APC commander reported
that at the time of the incident, Olson had been sitting on claymore mines
and grenades and that the anti-tank round had hit the tank near Olson.
A search of the area was made at the time of the incident and again on
October 17, but both searches were unsuccessful. Flyers were distributed in
the area asking for information concerning Olson, but no new evidence
There was sufficient doubt that Olson was killed that he was not declared
dead, but rather was declared Missing in Action. The U.S. Army believes that
the Vietnamese could probably account for Olson, alive or dead.
For 22 years, the Vietnamese have denied knowledge of the fate of Barry A.
Olson. Disturbing testimony was given to Congress in 1980 that the
Vietnamese "stockpiled" the remains of Americans to return at politically
advantageous times. Could Olson be waiting, in a casket, for just such a
Even more disturbing are the over 10,000 reports received by the U.S.
relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities who have
examined this information (largely classified), have reluctantly come to the
conclusion that many Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. Could
Olson be among these?
Perhaps the most compelling questions when remains are returned are, "Is it
really who they say it is?", and "How -- and when -- did he die?" As long as
reports continue to be received which indicate Americans are still alive in
Indochina, we can only regard the return of remains as a politically
expedient way to show "progress" on accounting for American POW/MIAs. As
long as reports continue to be received, we must wonder how many are alive.
As long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we must
do everything possible to bring him home -- alive.