PERRICONE, RICHARD ROBERT Name: Richard Robert Perricone Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Unit: Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division Date of Birth: 1946 Home City of Record: Uniondale NY Date of Loss: 12 Jul 1967 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 134026N 1073809E (YA850131) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Other Personnel In Incident: Nathan B. Henry; Cordine McMurray; Stanley A. Newell; Martin S. Frank (all released); James F. Schiele; James L. Vanbendegom (both missing). Held with men from at least two other incidents including: Incident on 18 May 1967: Joe L. DeLong (missing); Incident on 17 Feb 1967: David W. Sooter (released). REMARKS: 730305 RELSD BY PRG 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. SYNOPSIS: In the spring of 1973, 591 American Prisoners of War were released from prisons and camps in Vietnam. Among them were six of a group of nine U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division personnel captured in and near Pleiku Province, South Vietnam during the year of 1967 whose lives had been intertwined for the past six years. All had belonged to that part of the "Ivy Division" which was assigned to Task Force Oregon conducting border operations called Operation Sam Houston (1 Jan - 5 Apr 67) and Operation Francis Marion (5 Apr - 12 Oct 67). On February 17, 1967, W1 David W. Sooter was the only man captured from a OH23 helicopter downed at the southeastern edge of Kontum Province near the edge of Pleiku Province, and near the Cambodian border. PFC Joe Lynn DeLong was the machine gunner for his company, on a company-sized patrol in Rotanokiri Province, Cambodia on May 18, 1967. (Note: most records list this loss as in South Vietnam, and coordinates place it in the Ia Drang Valley, Pleiku Province, South Vietnam near the border of Cambodia, but U.S. Army casualty reports state that the loss was in Kotanokiri Province, Cambodia.) While on patrol, his unit was hit by a Viet Cong force of unknown size and cut off from the rest of the company. DeLong's platoon formed a defensive perimeter and attempted to hold their position. Later that day, at about 1830 hours, DeLong's platoon position was overrun. The next morning, another unit reached his position, and was able to account for all platoon members except for DeLong. It was later learned that DeLong had been captured. Nearly two months later, on July 12, 1967, SP4 Martin S. Frank, PFC Nathan B. Henry, Sgt. Cordine McMurray, PFC Stanley A. Newell, PFC Richard R. Perricone, SP4 James F. Schiele and PFC James L. Van Bendegom, all members of Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, were conducting a search and destroy mission along the Cambodian border when their position was overrun by the Viet Cong. With the execption of Schiele, all the men were captured. The U.S. Army notes that Schiele and Van Bendegom were captured by the North Vietnamese, while the others, apparently, were captured by Viet Cong. PFC Schiele was seen by his platoon leader as his unit was forced to withdraw, leaving him behind. He had been hit a number of times by automatic weapons fire in the legs and chest and was thought to be dead. PFC Perricone stated in his debrief upon return to the U.S. that the enemy camp commander of Camp 102 told him that SP4 Schiele had died of wounds received in the fire fight. However, since there was no positive proof of death, the U.S. government placed Schiele in a Missing in Action category. Classified information given to the Vietnamese by Gen. John Vessey in 1987, however, states that both Schiele and Van Bendegom were captured by the North Vietnamese. PFC Vanbendegom was also wounded in the engagement, and was seen alive by other Americans captured in the same battle about one week after his capture at a communist field hospital in Cambodia, not far from his capture location. One of the released Americans was later told by the commanding North Vietnamese officer at his prison camp in Cambodia that SP4 Vanbendegom had died of his wounds. Vanbendegom was categorized as a Prisoner of War. The other seven Americans were held in prison camps on the Vietnam/Cambodia border for several months. According to the debriefs of releasees Sooter and Perricone, they and DeLong had attempted to escape from a border camp in Cambodia on November 6, 1967, but were recaptured the same day. Two days later, Sooter and Perricone were shown DeLong's bullet-ridden and blood-soaked trousers and were told that DeLong had been killed resisting recapture. The Vietnamese included DeLong's name on a list of prisoners who had died in captivity (saying he died in November 1967), did not return his remains, and did not offer any explaination. Sooter, Frank, Henry, Perricone, McMurray and Newell were all released by the PRG in 1973. Frank was never known to be a prisoner by the U.S. Henry was injured, and maintains a permanent disability today. The U.S. is certain the Vietnamese also know the fates of DeLong, Schiele and Vanbendegom, but the Vietnamese continue to remain silent. Since the end of the war, only a few score of the many remains the Vietnamese could provide have been returned to U.S. control. Each return of remains signals some political move by the Vietnamese. Strong moves towards normalization of relations began in the mid-80's, which most Americans would not oppose. As evidence mounts that hundreds of Americans are still held captive by these same governments the U.S. is rushing to befriend, many concerned Americans believe that in our rush to leave Indochina, we abandoned our best men. And that in our rush to return, we will sign their death warrants.
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 spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO RICHARD R. PERRICONE Staff Sergeant - United States Army Captured: July 12, 1967 Released: March 5, 1973 I was a member of Co. B. 1st Bn. 12th Infantry 4th Infantry Division. I was captured on July 12th 1967 and spent a little over two years in the jungles of Cambodia. Then I moved to North Vietnam where I stayed until March 5, 1973, the day I was released. I was captured about 25 miles west of Pleakui City, with four other Americans. When we reached the first jungle camp in Cambodia we met two other American POWs. We all tried to escape from there November 6, 1967, but failed and were recaptured. The camp I lived in was 20 miles inside Cambodia. The buildings I lived in were made of small trees put together like beams. They were about three inches apart. The roof was made of large leaves. The beds were made of thin strips of bamboo tied together with vines. There were stocks the whole length of the bed. At night we put our legs into the stocks. The stocks were two trunks about five inches in diameter. But after the escape attempt, our legs were in the stocks all of the time. The general routine each day was: We would get up at about 5:30 A.M. Eat our first meal at 7 A.M., which was two or three cups of rice and the tops of sweet potato plants. We would then just lay around all day. Then at 4, we would have our second meal. Then, at about 5:30 or 6, we would be locked up again for the night. Some life, don't you think??? We were allowed to bathe about once a week or ten days. This mostly depended upon which guard was on duty that day.
Richard and his wife Maria live in New York.
Sat Feb 21 1998 25 YEARS AFTER RELEASE... ONE POW'S VICTORY PATRICE O'SHAUGHNESSY Daily News Staff Writer Twenty-five years ago last week, the first of 556 American prisoners of war began arriving home from captivity in North Vietnam. In poignant scenes emblazened on the American memory, the survivors embraced families, friends and lives forever changed by the conflict. What follows is the story of one remarkable New Yorker who returned and thrived....... ============================