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 2020.


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?




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Private First Class Merritt Stoves III, who joined the U.S. Army from Alabama, served with A Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. On January 10, 1967, he and other soldiers from Company A were on a mission in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam, when they crossed a stream using sampans. The sampan PFC Stoves was on sank in the stream, and PFC Stoves disappeared under the surface. Search efforts started immediately, but his body was not recovered. Today, Private First Class Stoves 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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