YOUNG, ROBERT MILTON REMAINS RETURNED 12/07/97
Name: Robert Milton Young Rank/Branch: O3/US Army Unit: HHC, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor, 25th Infantry Division Date of Birth: 17 January 1945 (Pittsburgh PA) Home City of Record: New Alexandria PA Date of Loss: 02 May 1970 Country of Loss: Cambodia Loss Coordinates: 114512N 1060827E (XU243013) Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 1 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H Other Personnel In Incident: Michael Varnado; Bunyon D. Price; Rodney L. Griffin; Dale W. Richardson (all missing); Frederick H. Crowson; Daniel F. Maslowski (returned POWs); - Tommy Karreci (evaded and escaped)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of 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 2009.
REMARKS: 72091 - IN CB: ON PRG DIC LIST
SYNOPSIS: On May 2, 1970 a UH1H helicopter from Company B, 229th Aviation Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division flown by WO1 Michael B. Varnado was hit by ground fire and forced to land just over the border of South Vietnam near the city of Memot, Cambodia. The aircraft was transporting members of HHC, 34th Armor, 25th Infantry Division, SP4 Rodney L. Griffin; SP4 Bunyan D. Price, Jr.; WO1 Daniel F. Maslowski; Capt. Dale W. Richardson; and Capt. Robert M. Young. Also aboard were Tommy Karreci, SP4 Frederick H. Crowson, and CW2 Daniel F. Maslowski, crew members of the aircraft.
The men were part of an attempt to stop North Vietnamese forces from gaining strongholds in Cambodia. President Nixon announced the request by Cambodia for American assistance on April 30. Had we not assisted, the North Vietnamese, in addition to having an effective sanctuary to which they could retreat without retaliation, would also have South Vietnam completely outflanked.
The crew all survived the crash, and had only 30-40 seconds on the ground to decide what to do. They all attempted to evade, each in different directions. Only 18-year-old Karreci managed to make it back to U.S. lines in 2 or 3 days. Crowson, Maslowski, Varnado and Young went in one direction and were all captured by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces. Price, according to Defense Department records, was also captured. Griffin and Richardson took off in another direction and were never seen again.
Crowson and Maslowski were released in 1973 and in their debriefings stated that WO1 Varnado and Capt. Young had died in captivity, while detained in Cambodia. The Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam (PRG) officially acknowledged their deaths, listing Varnado's death as 21 September 1970, and Young's death as 17 November 1972.
According to Dan Maslowski, Bob Young died of illness in Dan's arms in the fall of 1972. Maslowski saw Varnado about two months after capture. "Vito" had been shot in the leg and in the side when he was captured, and according to Dan, "looked like hell". His side wound had healed, but the wound in his leg, in the kneecap, was badly infected. He could not walk, and told Maslowski that the Viet Cong had been transporting him in a hammock. The Viet Cong had told Varnado that he was to be taken to a hospital to have his leg taken care of. The Vietnamese state that he died two months after Dan saw him in camp (about 4 months after capture).
On August 1, 1989, it was announced that the Vietnamese had "discovered" the remains of Michael Varnado, returned them to the U.S. His remains were positively identified, much to the relief of family and surviving comrades, and Michael Varnado could finally be buried with the honor he deserved. The remains identification did not contradict that Vietnamese' statement that Varnado died four months after capture.
The fate of Price is uncertain. Maslowski always believed Price had been captured, but never saw him in camps he was held in. One report from escaped ARVN POWs stated that he was captured by the Khmer and because the ethnic groups normally did not cooperate, the Khmer would not likely have given Price over to the Vietnamese, who had captured the other four.
Since 1973, nearly 10,000 reports have been given to the U.S. Government regarding Americans still missing in Southeast Asia. Some, according to U.S. State Department sources, have withstood the "closest scrutiny" possible, and cannot be disputed. There is very strong reason to believe that Americans are still held captive in Southeast Asia today, yet President after President has failed to would bring them home.
DOLORES ALFOND - VOICE/FAX 425-881-1499 LYNN O'SHEA -----VOICE/FAX 718-846-4350 E-MAIL --- PGGK94A@PRODIGY.COM WEB SITE --- http://www.nationalalliance.org
BITS 'N' PIECES December 6, 1997
Remains Identified - According to the Pentagon, the remains of two servicemen have been declared identified. The name of one serviceman, lost in Laos, is being withheld at the request of the family.
Identified was Army Capt. Robert M. Young of New Alexandria, Pa. Young was one of eight aboard a UH-1H lost May 2, 1970. Of the eight crew members one evaded captivity, making it back to friendly lines. Three, Bunyon D. Price, Rodney L Griffin and Dale W. Richardson are missing.
According to the Pentagon, these three died at the crash site. Four others, Frederick Crowson, Daniel Maslowski, Michael Varnado and Robert Young were captured. Crowson and Maslowski returned during Operation Homecoming. The Provisional Revolutionary Government listed Michael Varnado and Robert Young as "died in captivity."
Returnees Crowson and Maslowski reported that they witnessed Young's death and believed that Varnado had also died although they did not witness his death. The Vietnamese returned remains identified as Michael Varnado in 1989.
A Pentagon "Memorandum for Correspondents," released November 25, 1997, states "In 1989, the Vietnamese unilaterally repatriated remains believed to be those of U.S. servicemen. One of the boxes was determined to contain the remains of the servicemember who died in captivity with Young. (This was Michael Varnado.) Analysis of different remains by the Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii resulted in a putative association with Young, however, records were too limited to conclusively identify them as his ."
"By 1996, through advances in mitochondrial DNA technology, the remains previously turned over in 1989 were determined to be those of Young."
Folks, we're not ashamed to admit we needed a dictionary to find out what "putative" as in "putative" association meant. According to Webser's dictionary the definition of "putative" is "inferred" or "commonly accepted."
The Memorandum ended stating "The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of the governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic which resulted in the accounting of these servicemen. We hope that such cooperation will bring increased results in the future. Achieving the fullest possible accounting for these Americans is of the highest national priority."
Both Young and Varnado "died in captivity" why did it take the Vietnamese 16 years to "locate" their remains. Approximately 25 servicemen listed as "died in captivity," by the Vietnamese, have yet to be returned.
As for the mt-DNA identification, in the days ahead, you might find out a mt-dna identification is not worth the paper they are printed on.
March 9, 2000
I have obtained copies of the battalion daily journal for my unit 1/5 (Mech) Infantry, 25th InfDiv. My copies cover the period 27 Feb through 31 May, 1970. Our unit was the group that found the wreckage of this helicopter in Cambodia on May 17th.
Doug Huffman http://www.users.uswest.net/~huffpapa/vietnam.html <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Network note --- The journals relate:
Daily Staff Journal or Duty Officer's Log
1st Bn 5th Inf (Mech) 25th Inf Div Location: WT261033 From Hour: 0001 Date: 17 May 70 To: 2400 Date: May 17 70
Item 68 cont: Chopper & will send 2 fc to ck out
69 1450: BB: UT 237001 Believed saw sniper in a tree, fired & saw something fell/Will ck out. // Also have 2 pc's stick and 1 piece threw track
70 1452 Ref 69 - Neg findings
71 1453 Dustoff 160 complete Dest Med T.N.
72 1520 A1/5 at chopper
73 1521 B1/5 Moving to S again Fm 237007
74 1550 A1/5 spot report at downed chopper: 24009. Tail number 16542, found neg - bodies, neg bones Believed was shot down by 51 cal - 51 cal hole in blade - both front seat belts were unfastened and armour plates
74 cont pushed back - found numeroUs FT prints (NVA type) around area - 2 rm attempts had been made to conceal the aircraft - Also found 2 sets of burned fatigues but was able to distinguish laundry mark (XA/12/c) // Tail section was abt 50' fm aircraft intact 10' fm tail section was an American Express banking statement w/name, rank & serial number awaiting rtn of A1/5 for ID.
NETWORK NOTE: Item 89 1940 American Express ID -- HARTKE, James L PFC HHC 2/34 Armor Account number (shown in record)
All records indicate Hartke returned alive from Vietnam.