Name: Richard Raymond Rehe
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Company A, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry 196th Light Infantry Brigade
(Americal) Chu Lai, South Vietnam
Date of Birth: 16 November 1945
Home City of Record: Long Beach CA
Loss Date: 09 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 153551N 1081006E (AT964263)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Category: 1
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0976

Other Personnel in Incident: Company A: James A.Daly (released POW - 1973);
Willie A. Watkins (released POW 1969); Derri Sykes (missing); Company D:
Francis E. Cannon (POW - remains returned 1985); Richard F. Williams (POW -
remains returned 1985); David N. Harker (released POW - 1973); James H.
Strickland (released POW - 1969); Thomas A. Booker (killed); "Coglin" (an
unknown person whom Cannon said died);

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.



SYNOPSIS: On January 8, 1968, PFC Richard Rehe, PFC Derri Sykes, PFC James
A. Daly and Cpl. Willie A. Watkins, members of A Company, 3rd Battalion,
21st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade (Americal) were ordered to move
down to Happy Valley in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam. "Charlie" and
"Delta" Companies had been sustaining heavy losses in previous days.

PFC David N. Harker, James H. Strickland, 1Sgt. Richard F. Williams, Sgt.
Thomas A. Booker, PFC Francis E. Cannon and "Coglin" were part of Delta
Company. During the fight, a mortar shell exploded near Cannon, the
radioman, killing Sgt. Booker and "Coglin". Harker, a rifleman, was stabbed
in the side with a bayonet. Strickland, a rifleman, was not seriously
wounded. Cannon had a large hole in his upper back and a smaller hole near
his neck. The Company's first sergeant, "Top" Williams, was shot through the
right hand and injured an arm. Harker, Strickland, Williams and Cannon were
captured that day.

The next day, under heavy attack, Daly, Rehe, Watkins and Sykes were injured
and captured. Sykes, a rifleman, was hit 3 times as he and Watkins had
jumped for cover just when a grenade hit. Watkins was captured immediately,
but thought that Sykes was left behind, as the enemy rushed him (Watkins)
from the area. During his departure from the area, Watkins saw Daly, whom he
thought dead, lying in a rice paddy. Daly then moved and drew attention to
himself and was captured. Watkins later saw Sykes, bandaged and calling for
water. Watkins and Daly carried him along the trail after their capture, but
were ordered to leave him under a shed at a house on the trail on the first
day. They never saw Derri Sykes again.

Watkins said that Richard Rehe, a grenadier, had also been taken prisoner
that day, but died in captivity from wounds sustained in the battle. Daly
stated that both Rehe and Sykes had been captured but had died the same day.

Cannon, Williams, Harker, Strickland, Watkins and Daly eventually were held
together in prison camps in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam. For Americans
as well as Viet Cong, life in these camps was extremely difficult. The
living conditions were primitive, food scarce at times, and disease and
dysentery common, adequate medical treatment uncommon. It was not uncommon
for POWs held in the south to die of starvation or disease. It is also
reasonable to expect that in such circumstances, one cannot predict behavior
or its aberration. While superhuman efforts were made to maintain the esprit
de corps and military order and honor, it was sometimes impossible not to
revert to a basic, more primitive nature for self preservation.

Top Williams, a veteran of World War II, and a big grey haired man, was
described as being a real professional. His injured hand became gangrenous,
but he survived this injury. He was receiving treatment and still probing
for bone splinters in his injured arm when he contracted dysentery and
ultimately died, September 27, 1968. Death from malnutrition and dysentery
is extremely unpleasant, and the victim suffers not only from the discomfort
of dysentery, but also from severe edema, and many times from halucinations.
Williams' remains were returned in 1985, after 17 years.

Frank Cannon, a handsome 6" tall man of 24 with deep set eyes, suffered from
the wounds he received by the exploding mortar shell. These wounds became
gangrenous, and although the wounds gradually improved by summer 1968,
Cannon grew continually weaker. By August, Cannon weighed only 90 pounds and
slipped into a coma. In early September 1968, Frank Cannon died. 17 years
later, the Vietnamese returned his remains to his country.

Willie Watkins, described as just over 6" tall, good-looking, lanky, very
dark skin, penetrating eyes, wiry and hard as a rock remained one of the
strongest prisoners and at times was a leader among his fellow POWs.
According to some of them, he "always had a Bible and a machete". He was
never sick.

James H. Strickland, a rather short, blue-eyed, boyish looking man was known
to be a hard worker and to be as strong as a bull. He was also pointed out
by the Vietnamese as an example of a "progressive" prisoner, as was Willie
Watkins. The two were released from Cambodia on November 5, 1969.

James A. Daly, a conscientious objector, never felt he should have been in
combat. He had been waiting for notice to leave Vietnam, following a lengthy
process of appeal on the basis of his beliefs. Daly, a big man, "coffee and
cream color" was only slightly wounded when he was captured. His sense of
self preservation ensured that he lost a minimum of weight. He joined the
"Peace Committee" comprised of a number of other military men who opposed
the war, and official charges were brought against him upon his 1973 release
by fellow POW Col. Theodore Guy. In the wake of the POW release, charges
were officially dismissed.

David Harker also felt some anti-war sentiments, but it was said that he
slowly turned "reactionary" against the Vietnamese after he was moved to
North Vietnam after three years in the jungle.

Perhaps it is important to note that no returned POW would deny
"collaborating" with the enemy at some point in time. Technically, if a POW
was ordered to work or to perform any function whatever, the execution of
this function would be considered collaboration. Sometimes the abberation in
conduct was a group decision, made for the welfare of the unit. At other
times, the desision to cooperate was made for purely self-serving reasons -
such as starvation, reluctance to be tortured, loss of will to resist. It
cannot be possible for any person to judge this behavior not having
experienced the horror that caused it.

Richard Rehe and Derri Sykes alone remain unaccounted for from the battle in
Quang Tin Province. Although it seems certain that they are both dead, the
Vietnamese deny any knowledge of them.

For many others who are missing, simple and certain death did not occur.
Some just vanished, others were known captives and never were returned.
Still others were alive and well and in radio contact with would-be rescuers
describing the approach of the enemy.

Tragically, thousands of reports have been received indicating that some
hundreds of Americans are still alive and in captivity in Southeast Asia. We
cannot forget them, we cannot write them off. They must be brought home.


                                                [ssrep7.txt 02/09/93]

                   SMITH 324 COMPELLING CASES

South Vietnam              Derri Sykes
                         Richard R. Rehe

On January 9, 1968, Privates First Class Rehe and Sykes were
members of the 3rd Battalion, 196th Light Infantry Brigade,
Americal Division, searching for missing unit personnel in Quang
Tin Province.  Their unit was ambushed by People's Army of Vietnam
forces and they became separated from their unit.  Both soldiers
were reportedly wounded at the time, each hit up to four times in
the chest and shoulder by hostile fire.  Both servicemen were
declared missing in action.

The majority of missing Division servicemen captured on January 8th
and 9th were evacuated to a People's Army Military Region 5 POW
camp.  However, PFC Rehe, completely debilitated, was left behind
in a village on the night of January 9th and was never seen again
by surviving POWs.  PFC Sykes was left behind in a bunker on
January 9th and was believed by returning POWs to have died there
of severe blood loss.

Both servicemen were categorized as missing in action until
released U.S. POWs captured at the time confirmed that although
seriously wounded, they had in fact survived into captivity but
never reached the Military Region 5 POW camp.  One returnee stated
he was told by one of his captors that PFC Rehe and Sykes had both
died on January 9, 1968.  After Operation Homecoming they were
declared dead/body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of

Joint U.S./Vietnamese investigations in Vietnam located and
interviewed individuals with knowledge of the fate of members of
the Americal Division captured on January 8-9, 1968.  Interviews
during September 1992 of former Military Region 5 prison camp
officials provided information on the fate of those who survived to
reach the prison.  Witnesses testified that the precise location of
all graves was recorded after January 1973 and that 21 sets of
remains of those who died at the prison were recovered washed, and
bagged at the end of 1978 or early 1979 and then sent to "higher
headquarters."  Included in these remains were those of a West
German man and woman who died in captivity.  Remains of those
captured at the same time as PFC's Rehe and Sykes who reached the
prison camp alive, were repatriated in August 1985.




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On January 8, 1968, American troops from Company A and Company D of the 3rd Battalion, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, were ambushed by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam. In addition to suffering several casualties, eight Americans were captured during the engagement. The following day on January 9, two more were captured as their units searched for the wounded and missing from the previous day's action. 

Private First Class Richard Raymond Rehe entered the U.S. Army from California and served in Company A, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 196th Infantry Brigade, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. He was severely wounded during the ambush and then captured on January 9, 1968, and was last seen with other prisoners within a roughly two-hour walking distance away from the battle area, completely debilitated and left behind as the enemy moved along with the other prisoners. He was not seen again and his remains were not recovered. Following the incident, the Army promoted PFC Rehe to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG). Today, Staff Sergeant Rehe is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

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