Name: Richard Dean "Dick" Roberts
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division
Date of Birth: 30 April 1948 (Carson City, MI)
Home City of Record: Lansing, MI
Date of Loss: 25 March 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 144018N 1073621E (YB805235)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 1415
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 2002.
Other Personnel In Incident: Prentice Hicks; Frederick Herrera (both
SYNOPSIS: On March 25, 1969, PFC Prentice W. Hicks, PFC Frederick D. Herrera
and PFC Richard D. Roberts were riflemen on a road interdiction mission
northwest of the city of Kontum, South Vietnam. On March 24, their unit had
been in contact with an unknown sized enemy force, and at that time, PFC
Hicks had been wounded several times. The unit was ordered to pull back, and
PFC Hicks was placed on a litter and carried out of the area for evacuation.
As the unit was moving toward high ground, they again came in contact with
the enemy. At that time, PFC Roberts was the point man. During the contact,
the unit began to move in a disorderly fashion back down the hill, and
during that period, PFC Hicks, Herrera and Roberts were separated from the
main element.
It is believed that PFC Herrera and Roberts had stayed behind with PFC
Hicks. This was the last time they were seen. At that time, neither Herrera
or Roberts were injured.
During a search of the area on April 5, a reconnaissance team found some
letters belonging to PFC Hicks, along with the cover from a Bible belonging
to PFC Herrera, but there was no sign of the three missing men. The three
men had disappeared, and, given the enemy situation in the area, it is
entirely possible that they were captured. They were declared Missing In
Action. Later hearings were held to declare them dead, although no evidence
was ever received that the three died.
Americans captured by the Viet Cong had a terrible and grueling ordeal
ahead. The Viet Cong themselves were often deprived of adequate food, and
the need to be constantly moving only made life more difficult to sustain.
Americans were ill-equipped to cope with jungle diseases and drastic change
in diet. Torture was commonplace and cruel. Many were mentally and
physically depleted to the point of starvation and death. Towards the end of
the war, prisoners captured in the south were routinely taken north for
detention by the North Vietnamese, and although torture was a daily threat,
few died of starvation during those late years.
Whether Herrera and the others were captured is not known. The chances of
their having survived the second attack are good. Alive or dead, however,
the Vietnamese certainly know their fate. Someone knows where they were
taken that day.
Tragically, reports of Americans still held captive in Indochina continue to
be received, creating a large body of evidence difficult to ignore. It seems
clear that some of our military are still held prisoner in Southeast Asia.
Herrera, Hicks and Roberts could be among them. Isn't it time we brought our
men home?