VIETNAM MIA

We honor them by remembering them.

May they rest in peace

In Memory of the men from the 12th cavalry who have not returned

SGT Louis Buckley Jr.
Company C, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 12th Cavalry
May 21, 1966

Sgt. Louis Buckley was attached to a mortar platoon based at An Khe, South Vietnam. The day after his 23rd birthday on May 21, 1966, Buckley's 21 man platoon was inserted by helicopter to LZ Hereford, located northeast of An Khe near the Song Ba River. The platoon was to provide continuous fire support for C Company's sweep of the area lying between LZ Hereford and LZ Milton to the south. Everything went without a hitch, and around 1200 hours, the platoon prepared to be picked up to rejoin the rest of the Company at the bottom of the valley. Helicopters were inbound when mortar platoon members saw a number of enemy soldiers five meters away, and opened fire with their M16s. As if by signal, other enemy located on a hill about 300 meters away poured a hail of machinegun, mortar and rocket launcher fire onto the platoon's position. The platoon's 81mm mortar was knocked out almost immediately, and the platoon, taking heavy casualties, called for help. The company commander immediately ordered his 1st Platoon to get up the hill, and led the rest of the company, scrambling, sliding and falling in a desperate effort to reach the mortar platoon. The commander did not realize until later the scope of the attack and that his entire company might have been in a classic ambush. The enemy had watched patiently until the Americans felt confident that the LZ was secure, and they launched their attack. The mortar platoon had 5 wounded, 15 dead and one missing. The Viet Cong on top of the hill divided into two groups to search for the remaining Americans, loot the dead and grab what arms and munitions they could. Just 35 minutes after the first call for help, the enemy was gone, and so was Sgt. Louis Buckley. His pack was found with blood on it. He was declared Missing In Action. Survivors reported seeing Sgt. Buckley withdrawing at a southwesterly direction by himself. He is reported to have had blood on his shirt and arm, although it is not known for certain if he was wounded.  He was declared Killed In Action in 1978, when part of his remains were found and identified.

SP4 Billy J. Ellis
Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry
January 3, 1968

On January 3, 1968, SP4 Billy Ellis was on radio watch at Landing Zone Leslie when the LZ came under heavy mortar and small arms attack. Other members of SP4 Ellis' unit stated that he had been hit in the initial barrage as they went to seek cover. While in a protected position, these individuals saw an ammunition bunker explode. After the engagement, no trace of SP4 Ellis could be found. From witness statements, it was assumed that Ellis had probably crawled into the ammunition bunker that exploded. However, Ellis was not declared Killed in Action, because there was sufficient doubt that he was killed. He was declared Missing in Action, and it is believed that the Vietnamese could account for him. Witnesses believe that Ellis was probably killed the day LZ Leslie was attacked. If Ellis crawled into the ammunition bunker, he almost certainly did die. But still, doubts remain.

1LT James M. Stone
Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry
January 7, 1968

1LT James M. Stone, company commander, was on a combat operation with his unit near the border of Quang Nam and Quang Tin Provinces in South Vietnam on January 7, 1968. During a fire fight with a superior enemy force, his battalion was forced from their position and began a breakout maneuver. 1LT Stone was accompanied by members of his company as they executed the breakout maneuver. While making their way down a hill with the armored personnel carriers (APCs), the small group encountered automatic weapons fire and were forced to take cover. When the firing stopped, one of the men noticed that 1LT Stone had his blood-stained hands over his face. A medic checked him and stated that there were no vital signs. His body was left behind. A search of the area was conducted on January 8 and again on January 16, but Stone's body was not recovered.

PFC Robert S. Trujillo
Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry
January 7, 1968

PFC Robert S. Trujillo, rifleman, was on a combat operation with his unit near the border of Quang Nam and Quang Tin Provinces in South Vietnam on January 7, 1968. During a fire fight with a superior enemy force, his battalion was forced from their position and began a breakout maneuver. Members of Trujillo's unit saw him stand up and start to advance with the armored personnel carriers (APCs) that were attached to his unit. That was the last time he was seen, and he was not wounded at that time. A search of the area was conducted on January 8 and again on January 16, but Trujillo was never found.

SP4 Dean C. Spencer III
Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry
June 6, 1968

On June 7, 1968, SP4 Dean Spencer and his unit were on a combat operation and crossing the Rao Tank River about twenty miles southwest of Hue in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam, when Spencer swam out to recover a canteen. Spencer was pulled under the water. Another man dove in to help him, but was also pulled under and drowned. This man's body was not recovered until four days later, and almost 2 kilometers downstream. Despite repeated searches, Spencer's body was never found.

PFC Jerry L. Moore
Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry
February 16, 1969

On February 16, PFC Jerry L. Moore's company had established a perimeter in Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam. At about 1400 hours, he and two other men from his unit were sent to set up and man an observation post 50 yards outside the perimeter. Between 1430 and 1435 hours, PFC Moore's company began receiving heavy enemy mortar fire. Jerry's two companions were wounded and started crawling toward bamboo cover, but Jerry, apparently frightened and disoriented, ran in the opposite direction of the company's perimeter. The two companions made it back; Jerry did not. Search efforts were made that afternoon and the next morning without results.

 

C Company had walked into the edge of a bunker complex and the first platoon began taking intense automatic weapons and small arms fire. An attached scout dog was shot in the opening burst. The OPs were called in and the company formed a hasty perimeter. NVA began to walk 82mm mortars around, both outside and inside of the perimeter. The 2nd platoon leader, SFC Charles Dawson, was seriously wounded and the platoon sergeant John Pinney was killed. The platoon's RTO was also wounded, taking a piece of shrapnel in one eye. 1Lt Rick Kopec had just joined the company an hour earlier, having come out on the same resupply helicopter as Moore. As soon as the 2nd platoon's leaders were taken out, Kopec was assigned command of the platoon by the company's CO, CPT Graham. The mortar attack continued with Kopec and several 2nd platoon members receiving minor shrapnel wounds. When a Medivac was called in, it received intense small arms fire when it landed. The company broke contact late in the day and when it was realized that Moore was missing a patrol went out in the direction of the OP but Moore could not be found. The company began to move in the opposite direction of the bumper complex and a division psyops helicopter circled the area with a loud-speaker, advising PFC Moore to move or crawl to an open area or a bomb crater so he could be seen and picked up. He was never seen. Later than night C Company linked up with B Company (a dangerous maneuver in itself) and the next day both companies moved out of the area so a B-52 arc light strike could bomb the area.
(Contributed by Rick Kopec, 2nd Platoon Leader, C 2/12th Cavalry)

 On February 17, search efforts were suspended while B52's bombed the general area. Search operations were then resumed until the 20th, again without success or any sign of Jerry Moore.