RICKMAN, DWIGHT GRAY
Name: Dwight Gray Rickman
Rank/Branch: O2/US Marine Corps
Unit: SU1, 1 ANGLICO
Date of Birth: 04 January 1947
Home City of Record: Joplin MO
Date of Loss: 25 December 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164913N 1071011E (YD312607)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Tin Nguyen (Vietnamese observer - missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 July 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.
REMARKS: BURIED AT CRASH W/VIET OBSERVER
SYNOPSIS: The O1 "Bird Dog" was used extensively in the early years of the
war in Vietnam by forward air controllers and provided low, close visual
reconnaissance and target marking which enabled armed aircraft or ground
troops to close in on a target. The Bird Dog was feared by the enemy,
because he knew that opening fire would expose his location and invite
attack by fighter planes controlled by the slowly circling Bird Dog. The
Vietnamese became bold, however, when they felt their position was
compromised and attacked the little Bird Dog with a vengeance in order to
lessen the accuracy of an impending strike by other craft.
Marine 1LT Dwight G. Rickman was a Bird Dog pilot assigned to SU1, 1
ANGLICO. On Christmas Day, 1972, Rickman and his Vietnamese observer were
flying visual reconnaissance in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, when
their aircraft was shot down about five miles east of the city of Dong Ha.
Intelligence reports indicate that Rickman and the observer were killed
either in the crash of the aircraft or shortly afterward, and were buried at
the crash site by persons unknown. No remains have ever been recovered.
The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded Rickman's classification to
include an enemy knowledge ranking of 4. Category 4 indicates "unknown
knowledge" and includes individuals whose time and place of loss incident
are unknown (e.g. aircrew members downed at unknown locations or ground
personnel separated from their unit at an unknown time or place). If the
report of burial is accurate, however, it is unclear why this classification
was given this case.
Disturbing testimony was given to Congress in 1980 that the Vietnamese
"stockpiled" the remains of Americans to return at politically advantageous
times. Even more disturbing are the nearly 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.
As long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we must
do everything possible to bring him home -- alive.
From: "Phillip E Prince" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Dwight G. Rickman
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 11:33:12 -0700
I recently read of your website published in the September issue of VFW
magazine. An old friend, Dwight "Rick" Rickman, served with me in the 1st
Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Pendleton when he volunteered to serve as
an advisor in 1972. In fact, I was offered the Temporary Additional Duty
assignment for that tour. Having completed three tours and bringing home the
Battalion colors in 1971, I respectfully declined the assignment. Rick
joined the Battalion in late '71 or early '72 as a brand new Lieutenant. Not
having the opportunity to serve in Viet Nam, he was not happy about most of
us wearing decorations while he only sported the National Defense Medal. He
actually begged Major Dunning, our Battalion Commander to nominate him for
the assignment. I remember how proud he was on receiving his orders.
We received info on his MIA status around Christmas of '72 and held an
appropriate Memorial Service. A tall, proud intellectual, he and his wife
had no children. We maintained contact with his wife for awhile. I am
ashamed to admit we did not maintain closer ties. His bracelet on the VFW
cover caused instant tearing and feeling of profound sadness.
After all of these years, I would once again like to wear his bracelet.
Please provide information on where I may purchase the bracelet to help
remind those of us, and others, who have been remiss in our recognition to
keep your great program in the thoughts of all of our citizens. Thank you
for your efforts.
Major, USMC (RET)
Phillip E Prince
My name is Trung Nguyen