POWERS, VERNIE HOMER Name: Vernie Homer Powers Rank/Branch: E3/US Army Unit: Company C, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division Date of Birth: 12 March 1947 (Pound VA) Home City of Record: Baltimore MD Date of Loss: 24 December 1967 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 143326N 1073532E (YB793108) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 0948 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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: PFC Vernie H. Powers was a member of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry. On December 24, 1967, Powers was an acting squad leader in an element of a platoon-sized patrol on a mission to establish an ambush in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. During movement to the ambush site, about 20 miles west-southwest of Dak To, Powers' squad made contact with the enemy and PFC Powers was wounded by a gunshot above the eye. Witnesses, who included the platoon medic, reported that PFC Powers bled heavily from the mouth and nose, and despite the medic's efforts, he apparently died. Because of increasing enemy fire, the platoon withdrew from the area, leaving Powers, whom they believed to be dead, behind. The platoon called for air strikes and artillery on their former position for about one hour. When elements of the platoon returned after the artillery and air strikes, PFC Powers' body could not be found during a thorough search. When 591 Americans were released from POW camps at the end of the war, Powers was not among them. Military officials were startled that "hundreds" suspected to be prisoner or expected to be released, were not freed. Since that time, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having reviewed this largely classified information, believe that there are hundreds of Americans still alive in captivity today. Witnesses believed that Powers was dead before air strikes were called in on his position. Whether the Vietnamese found him dead or wounded is not known. What is certain, however, is that the Vietnamese have a wealth of information on our missing, alive and dead, and the United States has a legal and moral obligation to return the men she sent to war in her name. If there is even one American held alive against his will, we must do everything in our power to free him.