REARDON, RICHARD JOHN Remains returned 06/26/2000 Identified 08/29/2003
Name: Richard John Reardon Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Reserves Unit: Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron 3, Detachment 3 Date of Birth: 24 February 1944 (Brooklyn NY) Home City of Record: Huntington NY Date of Loss: 28 April 1969 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 104747N 1060442E (XS179936) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1B Refno: 1434
Other Personnel in Incident: (two crew remains recovered, one crewman rescued)
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: 700200 CREW REMAINS RECOVERED
SYNOPSIS: LTJG Richard J. Reardon was a pilot assigned to Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron 3, Detachment 3 "Seawolves" in Vietnam. He flew the UH1B "Huey" attack helicopter gunship with his co-pilot LTJG Castle, and two enlisted gunners.
On April 28, 1969 the Detachment 3 fire team was based at the Special Forces Camp, Moc Hoa, and sent on a patrol of the Vam Co Tay River. This location is in Kien Tuong Province, right on the Cambodian border. The river was notorious as a Viet Cong infiltration route and a large number of abandoned sampans were targeted.
During the attack run, intense enemy fire was encountered and suppression fire was called for. LTJG Reardon was seen to impact in a near-vertical crash and become engulfed in flames. One enlisted crewman was either thrown or crawled clear of the wreckage and was later rescued by the lead helicopter only after engaging heavy ground fire.
With the crash circumstances as they were, and the visual concensus of other helicopter crews in the flight, there was little to no likelihood that anyone else could have survived. The crew, including Reardon, was listed Killed in Action. In later recovery attempts, the remains of two crewmembers, including Castle's, were recovered. Reardon's remains were never found.
The U.S. is certain that the Vietnamese could tell us more about LTJG Reardon, although his name did not appear on the list compiled in 1973 as "discrepancy" cases on which the Vietnamese could provide information. Other than the presence of the enemy at the location, there is nothing in the Navy account to indicate why the U.S. specifically believes Reardon's fate is known to the enemy.
591 American Prisoners of War were released in 1973, but nearly 2500 were not. Thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government that indicate hundreds of Americans are still alive and held captive in Southeast Asia, yet the government seems unable or unwilling to successfully achieve their release. Policy statements indicate that "conclusive proof" is not available, but when it is, the government will act. Detractors state that proof is in hand, but the will to act does not exist.
Whether Reardon was found and removed by the enemy is not known. Whether he could be among those believed to be still alive today is unlikely. What cannot be questioned, however, is that America has a moral and legal obligation to secure the freedom of those who may still be illegally held by the communist governments of Southeast Asia. It's time we brought our men home.
Library of Congress files:
South Vietnam, pre-1975: Change of Country and Location of Loss for Case 1434, 1929, 1026, and 0427 Country: South Vietnam, pre-1975; Laos
Name: Reardon, R.J.
Type of Document: Message
Date of Report: 98 12 17
Date of Information: 98 12 00
Document Number: 170437ZDEC98
Originator: SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
Category: MISC PW FILES