Name: Orval Harry Skarman
Rank/Branch: E5/US Marine Corps
Unit: L/3/3 3rd Marine Division
Date of Birth: 11 March 1947
Home City of Record: Duluth MN
Date of Loss: 15 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164902N 1065235E (YD100600)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0987
Others in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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 2020.


SYNOPSIS: Orval Skarman was a Marine stationed in northern South Vietnam
near the demilitarized zone (DMZ). To the west, at Khe Sanh, his fellow
Marines were battling what was to become one of the most publicized battles
of the war. The battle for the city of Hue was one Skarman would not be
around for.

Skarman went on R & R at China Beach on January 4, and did not return. What
happened to him was never discovered. He just disappeared. The Marines did
not doubt his honor; they knew something had happened to Skarman that
prevented his return. Perhaps he was captured or killed. He was classified
Missing In Action. Like nearly 2500 other Americans, his fate remains

Since the end of American involvement in Southeast Asia, over 10,000 reports
relating to Americans have been received. Nearly 1000 of these reports are
first-hand, eyewitness reports. Many concern American prisoners who were not
released at the end of the war. Collectively, they present a compelling case
that Americans are still held against their will by an enemy many of us have

Whether Skarman was killed or taken captive is unknown. But, as long as
there is even one man alive, held captive in Southeast Asia, we must
consider that Skarman may be alive. We must insist that every effort is made
to bring him home.




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On January 8, 1968, a CH-53 King Stallion (serial number unknown) departed Phu Bai, South Vietnam, carrying forty-eight individuals on a flight to Dong Ha. The helicopter crashed en route, and all but one service member was identified because he was not on the manifest.

Lance Corporal Orval Harry Skarman, who joined the U.S. Marine Corps from Minnesota, served with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. On January 8, 1968, he left his unit for authorized rest and recuperation leave at China Beach, Da Nang, South Vietnam; however, there is no record of him arriving at China Beach. On January 15, his unit reported that he failed to return to duty. LCpl Skarman served in the same unit as the CH-53 crew that crashed on January 8, and he was possibly the individual who could not be identified following the crash. Further attempts to identify LCpl Skarman's remains have been unsuccessful. Following the incident, the Marine Corps promoted LCpl Skarman to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt). Today, Staff Sergeant Skarman 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 Pursuit.

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