Name: Edward Arlo Willing
Rank/Branch: E3/US Marine Corps
Unit: Company D, 2nd Battalion, 13th Marines
Date of Birth: 28 August 1949
Home City of Record: Wilmington DE
Date of Loss: 21 July 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 155700N 1081300E (BT075659)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: ground
Refno: 1231
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 2005 with information as provided below.
SYNOPSIS: On July 21, 1968, Lcpl. Edward A. Willing left the Marine base
near Da Nang to return to duty at his observation post at Tu Cau bridge on
Highway 1 in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam.
Soon after Willing left the gate, friends heard shots in the vicinity and a
perimeter guard saw a man in black pajamas running toward a treeline with a
rifle. A group of children were dragging something that possibly was a body.
During the next several days searches were made of the area. Villagers were
questioned and a reward was offered, but no information was ever obtained.
Willing had been in Vietnam nine months, having first been assigned to an
artillery company as a radio operator shortly after his arrival. He had been
in the Marine Corps since November 1966.
Since there existed the possibility that Willing might have been captured,
he was listed Missing in Action, and the Vietnamese could probably account
for him. However, since the war ended, the Vietnamese have denied any
knowledge of Edward A. Willing.
Edward A. Willing was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant during the
period he was maintained missing.
[Note: USG data indicate that Willing was E3 (Lance Corporal), but it seems
unlikely that this was the case, as his final rank at point of presumptive
finding of death was E7 (Gunnery Sergeant). Although missing men received
promotions during the period they were maintained missing, Willing would
have received four rank increases, a very unusual situation, two or three
being the norm. An article quoting information from his family in the late
1970's gives his rank at that time as Staff Sergeant (E6)]
From: Snuffy (Joe) Jackson <da0730@banet.net>
Organization: HQ-2-13, E-2-13, L-4-11, C-1-11
Subject: LCPL Edward A Willing MIA 7/21/68
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 12:07:39 -0500
Lance Corporal Edward Arlo Willing was the radioman for a Forward
Observation team for Delta Battery, 2nd Battalion, 13th Marine Regt. His
team was stationed at the Tu Cau Bridge but the battery was located about 4
miles away. On July 21, 1968, he went to the Battery to check in with the
battery Corpsman and to pick up mail. Around 5 PM after having chow with
friends, he stopped on the way to the gate to talk with a Forward Observer.
They parted and he was seen walking out of the gate, walking back to his
base. The observer climbed up into his watchtower to start his watch.
Several minutes later, he heard shots down the road and observed a VC with a
rifle crossing the road into the trees on the south side of the road and
someone being pulled or dragged into the village. A report was made but no
one was sent out to investigate until the morning. There is some confusion
over whether Willing was on his feet when captured or not. Patrols were sent
out to look for him. I was with a patrol from 2-13 Bn HQ that looked for
him. The patrol was rather short and I objected at the time. I can remember
looking down the dusty dirt road toward the base where he had been picking
up the mail. Straight and at the base was a small hill with a tower on it.
His own base at Tu Cau Bridge was around a slight bend. The spot was just
about halfway in between.
A local VC made claims that Willing died at that time but the account does
not agree with  reports.  Another account has a Marine who may have been
Willing, being found by VC in a river and then buried about 20 miles away on
the north shore of the Song (River) Thuy Bon between Hoi An on the coast and
Liberty Bridge. This incident and location has been turned over to the
military for investigation. The description is not a perfect match only
because of the age given but this could be because Caucasians looked older
to the Vietnamese. It is my theory that Willing had been wounded in the
shoulder and tried to escape during a river crossing but drowned. The report
that I heard at the time said that he had been seen struggling with his
captors who were about a dozen old men, women and children who overwhelmed
him and pulled him into the village. I heard at that time that he was known
to have been wounded in the shoulder. However no mention of this is made in
the official reports. The body recovered by the VC in the river, had been
wounded in the shoulder.
The official reports seem to be a whitewash. No mention of the visit to the
Corpsman is made. Also the report by only one of the two gate guards says
that no one left the base alone on foot, since this was officially against
orders. This may have been the official policy but I can tell you that it
was never enforced or even known. I believe it was to protect the base
Patricia Mielke RacinYank@aol.com obtained the files relating to the case
and continues to watch the case. I helped decipher the files and plot the
location on the maps. Snuffy (Joe) Jackson da0730@banet.net HQ battery 2-13.
Willing was a Lance Corporal E3 at the time of his capture which was 5 weeks
before his 19th birthday. He was promoted over the years to Gunnery Sgt E7
since it was believed that he was taken alive. Willing's middle name was
Arlo but has been misspelled on several web pages as Arle.
Semper Fi
Snuffy (Joe) Jackson