Name: Dean Calvin Spencer III
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry
Date of Birth: 03 October 1947
Home City of Record: Morgantown WV
Date of Loss: 07 June 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162339N 1071810E (YD459138)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 1204
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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: SP4 Dean C. Spencer III was a rifleman assigned to D Company, 2nd
Battalion, 12th Cavalry. On June 7, 1968, Spencer and his unit were on a
combat operation and crossing the Rao Tank River about twenty miles
southwest of Hue in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam, when Spencer swam
out to recover a canteen. Spencer was pulled under the water. Another man
dove in to help him, but was also pulled under and drowned. This man's body
was not recovered until four days later, and almost 2 kilometers downstream.
Despite repeated searches, Spencer's body was never found.

The Vietnam War touched many lives. Tens of thousands of families lost loved
ones in battle deaths. Tens of thousands saw their sons and brothers come
home maimed physically and mentally from the wounds and torments of the
savagry of war. Some received telegrams that their loved ones drowned in
recreation; a few learned their sons died from drug overdose; and some
learned their sons, for unknown reasons, chose to end their own lives in

We tend to bury the unpleasant aspects of war and concentrate on the
victory. In Vietnam, we have only a hollow "Peace with Honor" and must
instead, focus on the warriors - men who willingly served their country when
called. Men whose lives we used as the price for our freedom.

The most tragic of all the warriors are those who still wait, captive and
abandoned by their country in prisons and camps in Southeast Asia. In
abandoning them, we have made the deaths and suffering of thousands a
frivolous waste. We must never neglect the duty we have to the men who must
someday answer their country's call.





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Specialist 4 Dean Calvin Spencer III, who joined the U.S. Army from West Virginia, served with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On June 7, 1968, his unit was crossing the Tran River in the vicinity of (GC) YD 459 137 while on a combat mission in wartime Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam. During the crossing, SP4 Spencer swam out into the river to attempt to retrieve a canteen when the other members of his unit saw him disappear under the water. Another soldier went under the water to save him and also disappeared. Extensive searches were conducted for the two men, but were unsuccessful at the time. Four days later, the second man's body was discovered downstream, but SP4 Spencer was not seen again following the incident. Further attempts to locate his remains were unsuccessful. Today, Specialist 4 Spencer 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 Non-recoverable.

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