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Delta's MIAs

Of the total 22 Marine MIAs, 6 are in 1/1, and 2 in Delta Company.

LCpl. John Howard Reeves


Drowned body not recovered approx. 15 miles southwest of Danang. See map below.

LCpl. Jerry Don Dewberry


KIA body not recovered while on wire patrol on Hill 689.

We have been contacted by Bill Marker who is helping the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Bill was in Charlie 1/1 and on 689. He has done extensive research and has accumulated a lot of information on 1/1 MIAs. What he needs more than anything else is an eye witness who can verify the location of exactly where on 689 Dewberry was lost, and the same for Reeves.

Grid coordinates 155305N and 414664E on the Tam Ky [west] L7014 Series maps may be the location where Reeves was lost. It is about midway between Thang Binh [on HWY 1], and the National Rail Line where it crosses the Song Ly Ly. The village of Thanh Ly[2] is just north of the coordinates. 1/1 had just finished Operation Shasta II in Dodge City on 19 Dec 1966 and could have relocated to this area. Reeves was lost on the 23rd. Does anyone remember where Delta was right before Christmas 1966, and could this be the location?

Another mystery that has a better ending is the case of LCpl Joseph Felix Trujillo who was declared MIA on 9/3/1966 near Danang. He is listed as a ground casualty, but his remains were not recovered until 1992. He was promoted to Gunnery Sgt. while missing and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. I have been unable to find any information on how he was lost, but it shows that there is still hope for the families of Jerry Dewberry and John Reeves.

Update on Joseph Trujillo

We now have the complete record of what took place in regard to Lcpl Trujillo. The events that led to his death and recovery are both sad and remarkable. Lcpl Trujillo was one of 11 squad leaders who were ordered to attend a forward observer's class at the 1/1 headquarters area. The classroom portion of the class was held on 2 Sept. 1966. On 3 Sept. the instructor, 1st Lt. Earl J. Gorman Jr. led the group to a nearby hill 15 Km SSE of Danang known as Donc Cha Hill, grid coordinates BT 105645. This location had been used repeatedly as a training site for forward observers in the past. The group traveled to the hill in two M113 armored vehicles.

Unknown to the Marines, local Viet Cong forces had patterned this activity and planted a large mine at the top of Donc Cha Hill. When the Marines had assembled, the mine was electrically detonated by a 3 man team of local militia. Eight Marines were wounded by the blast, and five medevaced by helicopter, including Lt. Gorman.

The area within 50 meters was searched, and it was thought that everyone was accounted for. Unfortunately, Lcpl Trujillo had been blown beyond the 50 meter search radius. This was not realized for a number of days.

Meanwhile the very same evening, local militia returned to the hill and discovered Trujillo's body. He was carried to Dien Duong village, which was the headquarters for the unit. The local village party chief, Mr. Le Ngoc Gia, ordered the militia to bury the body according to Vietnames custom in or near a local cemetery. This was done that very night. It was noted that Trujillo had died from concussion shock and showed no sign of external wounds.

According to the official report, in 1986 locals cultivated the area around Donc Cha Hill previously used as a cemetery. All of the graves were moved to another location. Locals then became aware of recovery efforts and in 1987 Trujillo's remains were brought to village government officials who reported this to higher authorities. For some unknown reason, nothing was done until 1992 when the recovery team was made aware of the situation. 

American members of Joint Investigation Unit 3 interviewed 5 individuals. The current village party chief, Mr. Nguyen Coi, had joined the local communist force in 1964 and provided most of the details. The recovery team reported that the time frame, location, and circumstances reported by the witnesses are generally consistent with the information in U.S. files. The witnesses were sincere and cooperative in providing information to the joint team When the village official turned over the remains the believed to be of a U.S. soldier, they did so with the utmost respect and dignity.


Joseph Felix Trujello.jpg

Joe on R&R Bangkok Submitted by Jay Navadel

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