SCHMIDT, WALTER ROY JR.
Name: Walter Roy Schmidt
Rank/Branch: O2/US Marine Corps
Unit: VMA 121, Marine Air Group 12
Date of Birth: 18 November 1945
Home City of Record: Nassau NY
Date of Loss: 09 June 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 161919N 1070726E (YD273053)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 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.
REMARKS: LANDED ALIVE, NVA APPROACHING
EGRESS: Always giving the guards a hard time - did not mentally adapt to
SYNOPSIS: When Douglas Aircraft created the A4 Skyhawk the intent was to
provide the Navy and Marine Corps with an inexpensive, lightweight attack
and ground support aircraft. The design emphasized low-speed control and
stability during take-off and landing as well as strength enough for
catapult launch and carrier landings. The plane was compact, but in spite of
its diminutive size, the A4 packed a devastating punch and performed well
where speed and maneuverability were essential.
1LT Walter R. Schmidt Jr. was an A4 pilot assigned to VMA 121, 12th Marine
Air Group. On June 9, 1968, he was assigned a bombing mission in northern
Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam -- on the northern sector of the A Shau
After making a bombing run, Schmidt's aircraft came under fire. Schmidt was
seen to eject from the damaged aircraft and parachute to the ground. Voice
contact was established with 1LT Schmidt and he stated that he was hurt with
a possible broken leg and that he was unable to move. North Vietnamese
forces were seen to be approaching his position. It was not possible to
conduct an extraction at the time, and rescue efforts were delayed until the
The next morning, no sign of Schmidt or his parachute could be found.
Attempts to raise him by radio were futile. It was believed that Schmidt had
probably been captured. He was classified Prisoner of War.
Throughout the rest of the war years, Schmidt's family heard nothing. When
591 Americans were released from communist prison camps in the spring of
1973 in Operation Homecoming, Schmidt was not among them. The Vietnamese
denied any knowledge of him.
Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports have been received by the U.S.
Government relating to Americans prisoner, missing, or unaccounted for in
Southeast Asia. Many authorities have reluctantly concluded that hundreds of
them are still alive today.
Whether Walter R. Schmidt survived past the time NVA troops located him is
unknown. If he spent months or years of torture in POW camps, we may never
know it. If he is one of those said to be alive still, we will only know it
when we resolve to bring our men home.
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
U.S. POW/MIAs WHO MAY HAVE SURVIVED IN CAPTIVITY
Prepared by the Office of Senator Bob Smith
Vice-Chairman, Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs
December 1, 1992
Schmidt, Walter R. USMC -landed alive, NVA approaching.
(DIA 1979 analytical comment)
-Captured alive, JSSA
-Possibly shot, JSSA.
-listed as POW by DIA, 1973
-hostile captured (DoD June 1973
-last known alive (DoD April
South Vietnam Walter R. Schmidt, Jr.
On January 9, 1968, Lieutenant Schmidt's A-4E aircraft was shot
down by hostile ground fire over the A Shau Valley in Thua Thien
Province, South Vietnam. He ejected and landed safely and
established voice contact with search and rescue forces to whom he
reported that he had a hurt hand and a possible broken leg. SAR
forces observed him on the ground and established that enemy forces
were within 20 meters of his location.
Lieutenant Schmidt was carried as a POW at the time of operation
Homecoming and was declared dead/body not recovered after the end
of hostilities. Returning U.S. POWs were unable to provide any
information on his fate.
Joint Casualty Resolution Center investigations in the A Shau
Valley during August 1989 failed to locate any witnesses who could
provide information on the crash site or the reported capture of
Lieutenant Schmidt. They were also unable to locate any evidence
about his aircraft or his grave site.
The Bamboo Cage, Nigel Cawthorn
The Full Story of the American Servicemen still held hostage in South-East
In 9 June, 1968, Marine Captain Walter Schmidt Jr bailed out
of his crippled A4 near A Shau in South Vietnam. He radioed that he had broken
his leg and could not move. North Vietnamese troops were seen approaching.
Next day there was no sign of Schmidt or his Parachute. (29) He did not
return. Nor has he been accounted for.