ROARK, JAMES DAVID Name: James David Roark Rank/Branch: E5/US Navy Reserves Unit: USS WILLIAM V. PRATT (DLG 13) Date of Birth: 09 December 1941 Home City of Record: Abingdon VA Date of Loss: 12 November 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 185550N 1061804E (XF370935) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Cruiser Refno: 2005 Other Personnel in Incident: John D. Cayce (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 April 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: Ship Fitter Petty Officer James D. Roark and Seaman Petty Officer John D. Cayce were assigned to the USS WILLIAM V. PRATT (DLG 13). On November 12, 1967, they were performing their duties as part of a helicopter detail onboard the ship in the Gulf of Tonkin. The ship was rolling in heavy seas when a 20-foot wave swept over the main deck and carried three men overboard. The USS PRATT immediately turned to recover the men at the same time requested a helicopter from another ship to assist. One man was quickly spotted and rescued. Five additional ships and two helicopters joined the search for the remaining men. An extensive search failed to locate either Cayce or Roark. During the period of July through September 1973, an over water/at sea Casualty Resolution Operation was conducted to determine the feasibility of expanding search operations to be used in cases such as the loss of Roark and Cayce. Based on the lack of any positive results whatsoever, the at-sea operations were terminated. It was decided that personnel lost at sea could not be recovered. Roark and Cayce died an unfortunate accidental death. The fact that they died an accidental death in the midst of war is tragically ironic. They are listed among the missing with honor, because no body was never found to be returned to the country they served. Others who are missing do not have such clear cut cases. Some were known captives; some were photographed as they were led by their guards. Some were in radio contact with search teams, while others simply disappeared. Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those who claim to know about Americans still alive in Southeast Asia, and several million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot seem to agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Distractors say it would be far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be alive home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains. Over 1000 eye-witness reports of living American prisoners were received by 1989. Most of them are still classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe, the men are all dead, why the secrecy after so many years? If the men are alive, why are they not home?