WILLING, EDWARD ARLO
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 <email@example.com> 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 commander.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Snuffy (Joe) Jackson email@example.com HQ-2-13,E-2-13,L-4-11,C-1-11