STOVES, MERRITT III Name: Merritt Stoves III Rank/Branch: E3/US Army Unit: Company A, 1st Battery, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade Date of Birth: 10 January 1948 Home City of Record: North Birmingham AL Date of Loss: 10 January 1967 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 110412N 1063631E (XT757241) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Sampan Refno: 0563 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 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: PFC Merritt Stoves III was a rifleman assigned to Company A, 1st Battery, 503rd Infantry. On his nineteenth birthday, Stoves and his unit were crossing a stream in Binh Duong Province about 10 miles south of the city of Ben Cat in sampans. The sampan on which Stoves was riding inexplicably sank and Stoves was washed away. Extensive search efforts were conducted, and one man was located, but Stoves could not be found. There was no evidence of hostile action, and the reason for the sampan sinking was not determined. Stoves is listed among the missing because his body was never found. It was assumed that he drowned, and there is little reason to believe the enemy knows his fate. Witnesses believe that Merritt Stoves was killed on January 10, 1967. Others who are missing do not have such clear-cut cases. Some were known captives; some were photographed as they were led by their guards. Some were in radio contact with search teams, while others simply disappeared. Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those who claim to know about Americans still alive in Southeast Asia, and several million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot seem to agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Detractors say it would be far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be alive home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains. Well over 1000 first-hand, eye-witness reports of American prisoners still alive in Southeast Asia have been received by 1990. Most of them are still classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe, the men are all dead, why the secrecy after so many years? If the men are alive, why are they not home?