WATKINS, ROBERT JAMES JR. Name: Robert James Watkins, Jr. Rank/Branch: W2/US Army Unit: Company D, 158th Aviation Battalion, 160th Aviation Group, 101st Airborne Division Date of Birth: 10 June 1942 Home City of Record: Ft. Mehoe MD Date of Loss: 08 October 1969 Country of Loss: Laos (some lists say South Vietnam) Loss Coordinates: 161003N 1070758E (YC280885) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AH1G Refno: 1499 Source: Compiled 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 in 1998. Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: Capt. Robert T. Andrews was the pilot and CW2 Robert J. Watkins the copilot in a 2 gunship flight providing protective cover for a downed aircraft in the A Shau Valley, South Vietnam. After the flight had completed its mission, and was returning to Camp Evans, Capt. Andrews determined that because of approaching darkness, bad weather and low fuel, he would attempt to land in the A Shau rather than attempt to continue the hazardous trip. As the aircraft was descending through a cloud layer in a landing attempt, it apparently hit some trees, and Andrews was knocked unconscious. Andrews regained consciousness the following morning, and saw that Watkins was hanging from the helicopter. He was unable to find any heartbeat or pulse and reported that the remains were cold. Andrews was rescued 5 days later during which time he attempted to walk to a recognized area, walking away from the crash in what he believed to be a westerly direction. Andrews was rescued in Laos, but was unable to determine where the helicopter had crashed. It is for this reason, and for the reason that the helicopter's last known location was on the border of Laos and South Vietnam at a point where the Lao Province of Saravane meets Thua Thien Province in South Vietnam, that some lists vary as to the country of loss. An attempt to find the crash site by air was unsuccessful. An attempt at map tracking by intelligence specialists located the probable crash site location, but because of enemy presence, that site has never been visited. The case of Robert J. Watkins seems clear. It is unfortunate that he has not been buried in American soil, having fought for his country bravely and well. Even more unfortunately, evidence mounts that hundreds of missing Americans are still alive, held captive in Southeast Asia. What must they be thinking of us? What would Robert Watkins think of us?