STAEHLI, BRUCE WAYNE
Name: Bruce Wayne Staehli
Rank/Branch: Lance Corporal/USMC
Unit: l/3/9 3 MAR DIV
Date of Birth: 24 September 1948
Home City of Record: Crow Point Lake IN [Crown Point?]
Loss Date: 30 April 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164930N 1070200E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Others In Incident: none missing
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: Bruce Staehli was a Marine in Vietnam when the fighting was
intense. His Marine brothers at Khe Sanh had fought the Vietnamese in one
of the bloodiest battles of the war earlier in the year, while the Marines
at Hue were fighting the enemy in the streets. By April, the Marines at Khe
Sanh had finished operation Pegasus and had embarked on a series of missions
called Scotland II to search and clear the area of enemy presence.
It was perhaps on such a mission that Bruce Staehli disappeared on April 30,
1968, near the city of Dong Ha, South Vietnam. Dong Ha is only a few miles
from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and less than 30 miles northeast of Khe
Sanh. Staehli is the only missing man from the action that day, and there
is good reason to believe the enemy knows his fate. He may have been
When American prisoners were released 5 years later, the Staehli family was
shocked and disappointed that their son was not one of them. Experts say
there were hundreds expected to be released who were not.
Since the end of American involvement in Vietnam, thousands of reports of
Americans still held captive in Southeast Asia have been received by the
U.S. Government. Official policy states that there is not enough proof to
act, but that presumably, one or more American is held. Critics of that
policy, including individuals in government, say the proof is there, but
that no one is willing to pay the price of freedom for these captive
If one of them is Bruce Staehli, what must he be thinking of us?
If you desire to correct your records:
Bruce Staehli was a member of Lima Company 3d Bn 9th Marines 3d MarDiv,
not India Company.
Govt has made many mistakes from fighting that day. I was the commanding
officer of Lima 3/9 from
late Jan 68 until Oct 68.
On April 30, 1968, Company L of the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine
Regiment, 3rd Marine Division was on a search and destroy
mission east of Cam Lo in the vicinity of YD 170 620. At 1630
hours, the company came into contact with an enemy force of
unknown size firing automatic weapons, small arms, and mortars.
One Marine, who was walking point for his squad, shouted back he
had been wounded in the leg. The heavy contact continued and as
darkness approached the company moved back 150 meters to a tree
line to set up a defensive perimeter, leaving 18 Marines behind.
At first light the following morning, and continuing through
late morning, there was an extensive search and 17 of the 18
Marines were recovered (all but the Marine who had been walking
point). Searchers found a pack belonging to the missing Marine
and boots minus the laces, which were thought to be his. A
member of the missing Marine’s unit said that at about 1700
hours on April 30, 1968, he saw this missing Marine running
towards him without a weapon or equipment and apparently not
wounded. When the missing Marine saw him, he screamed and turned
and ran the other way. May 13, 1968, a Marine element found the
missing Marine’s identification tags by a stream at YD 170 648,
over 2 kilometers north from the battle location.
Private First Class Bruce Wayne Staehli, who entered the U.S.
Marine Corps from Indiana, was a member of Company L, 3rd
Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. He was
walking point for his squad on April 30, 1968, when his team
encountered the enemy. He shouted back he had been wounded in
the leg, but was not able to rejoin his unit at the time. He
still had not rejoined his unit when they moved to set up their
perimeter on the treeline. At first light the following morning,
his unit launched a search effort but were unable to locate him.
Further attempts to locate PFC Staehli were unsuccessful, and he
remains unaccounted for. After the incident, the Marine Corps
promoted PFC Staehli to the rank of the Staff Sergeant (SSgt).
Today, Staff Sergeant Staehli 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
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