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 Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E Refno: 1205 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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: LANDED ALIVE, NVA APPROACHING EGRESS: Always giving the guards a hard time - did not mentally adapt to capture. 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 Valley. 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 following day. 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. ----------------------------------------- [324.txt 12/29/92] Bob Smith New Hampshire 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 list) -last known alive (DoD April 1991 list) ---------------------------------------------------- [ssrep6.txt 02/09/93] APPENDIX 1 South Vietnam Walter R. Schmidt, Jr. (1205) 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 Asia. In 9 June, 1968, Marine Captain Walter Schmidt Jr bailed out Page 74 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.