Got this from a guy on another site, Buffalo Bob. I'll let it speak for itself, it's fairly long. Two MIA have been brough home from Vietnam and who hears of it/ No one!
If you take a look here Jim, thank you:
1Lt. Fred Ransbottom, Snoopy 6 and Pfc. William E. "Skip" Skivington.
Services for these 2 Heroes, Home after 38 years of being MIA at the
Battle of Kham Duc, Mothers Day, May 12, 1968:
1. The Family of 1Lt. Frederick J. Ransbottom announced that services
will be held: January 12, 2007
Friday Evening -Visitation for Family and Friends:
6:30 - 9:00 (May be changed for 1 hour earlier)
Baggerly Funeral Home
930 S Broadway
Edmond, OK 73013
January 13, 2007
Henderson Hills Church
1200 E I-35 Frontage Road
Edmond, OK 73034
Memorial Park Cemetery
13400 N Kelley
Oklahoma City, OK 73131
2. The Family of Pfc. William E. "Skip" Skivington, Jr., announced that
services will be held: January 23, 2007
Fort Myers Chapel,
Arlington National Cemetery.
Military Honors will be rendered grave side.
Introduction- by 1Lt Collier, Recon, E, 2/1 196th Infantry Brigade, Republic of Vietnam, 1971
What follows are accounts of the battle of Kham duc from different points of view. The first story is from a book about Green Berets and tells the story from their point of view as they were down in the valley in the main base camp but you have to wade through the first battle which occurs five miles down the valley at Ngok Tavak. The second and third newspaper story is more from the families’ points of view. I post this story because I later commanded this unit and admire and respect the memories of the brave men of Recon who had the kind of courage it takes to go to certain death. This is the story of a brave young infantry Lt, his RTO and his men who all died on the mountain tops surrounding Kham duc. Actually, the going to your individual death is not such a hard thing. It is looking in the faces of your men and giving them the op order briefing and having to tell them that there is very little chance of coming back. These are men who are in your care and every day you have tried your very best to keep them alive and now you must stand in front of them and inform them as kindly as you can that they are going to die. I assume one or more of the recon members would have asked for an hour to write a letter to be left with the 1st Sergeant and mailed if they did not come back. I do not know what Ransbottom did if one of his men asked the question, but I would guess he just nodded his head and looked at the plt sergeant as an indication to give all the men an hour to get their personal lives squared away. Giving assignments of what team would be on what OP and where he would be and where the Plt Sgt would be an making sure he placed himself squarely in the area of most danger and the team that would be lead by only the buck sergeant was in the least danger. There is little doubt in my mind that Ransbottom understood that the OP’s on the mountains had to be held and that the NVA would hit them first in order to control the high ground. Infantry officers school makes it very clear that the OP’s are vulnerable to be encircled by the larger attacking force and either you run for it at the first sign of the enemy or else you will be killed. Very little doubt that the Recon teams were surrounded and then just overwhelmed. The last that is known of Ransbottom is he is doing what an infantry officer is trained to do – simultaneously give orders and fighting. He is on the radio communicating with his men as he is killing NVA coming into the bunker door.
The 2/1 was the “swing battalion” and was sent wherever things were hot. We never had a home AO like other battalions but were moved all over to wherever there was a special need. Echo (E Company) Recon as we were known, consisted of about 18-25 men. There would be a Plt Ldr, Plt Sgt, RTO, a medic, three team leaders, pigman, asst pigman, 4-6 snipers with scoped M-14’s, and the remainder would be infantry men with M-16s. Typically, the platoon operated as three individual teams and a team was about 5-7 men. The Plt Ldr and his RTO would be with one team and the Plt Sgt and the Medic would be with another. Recon members were volunteers from the regular rifle companies and had no special training, they were just draftees who had the courage to volunteer for dangerous duty. After the Special Forces Groups left Vietnam, then SF qualified officers and NCO’s who came to RVN would be asked to volunteer to run Recon which we did. In 1971, me and another Lt from 10th SFG volunteered for RVN at the same time and he ran Recon for the 1/46 Inf Bn (and got shot up and sent home) and I ran Recon for 2/1. It appears that during the battle of Kham Duc that 2/1 Inf Bn was reinforced with one or more units from the sister Bn, 1/46. There were some Marines, Australians and special forces, helicopter units and the Air Force involved. Whether Colin Powell was Ass’t S3 for the 23rd at that time I do not know.
I would note also that following the battle of Kham Duc, the Recon Platoon was rebuilt and then was nearly wiped out and the platoon leader killed again in early 1970. The platoon was rebuilt again and the next platoon leader was killed. Then in early 1971, once again the replacement plt leader and about a third of the platoon was either wounded or killed up on the DMZ. It was at this point in time that I became the Recon platoon leader for E 2/1.
This is the story of my unit and its leader and RTO a few years before I took over. Lt Ransbottom was awarded a Silver Star but it is hard to convey the amount of courage it takes to lead a small unit mission that is almost certain death and to face that death and continue to fight and command to the last drop of blood.
RANSBOTTOM, FREDERICK JOEL
Remains Identified 10/20/2006
Name: Frederick Joel Ransbottom
Rank/Branch: O1/US Army - Platoon Leader
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade
23rd Division, Americal -- ID Snoopy 6
Date of Birth: 19 September 1946 (Columbus OH)
Home City of Record: Oklahoma City OK
Date of Loss: 12 May 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 152630N 1074806E (ZC005090)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
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 2006.
Personnel in Incident: Ngok Tavak: Horace H. Fleming; Thomas J. Blackman; Joseph F. Cook; Paul S. Czerwonka; Thomas W. Fritsch; Barry L. Hempel; Raymond T. Heyne; Gerald E. King; Robert C. Lopez; William D. McGonigle; Donald W. Mitchell; James R. Sargent (members of USMC search team – all missing); Glenn E. Miller; Thomas H. Perry (USSF teammembers - missing); Kham Duc: Richard E. Sands (missing from CH47); Bernard L. Bucher; Frank M. Hepler; George W. Long; John L. McElroy; Stephan C. Moreland (USAF crew of C130 - all missing); Warren R. Orr (USSF on C130 - missing); Harry B. Coen; Andrew J. Craven; Juan M. Jimenez; Frederick J. Ransbottom; Maurice H.Moore; Joseph L. Simpson; William E. Skivington; John C. Stuller; Imlay S. Widdison; Danny L. Widner; Roy C. Williams (all missing); Julius W. Long (released POW).
REMARKS: GROUND ATTACK - POSS KIA
SYNOPSIS: Kham Duc Special Forces camp (A-105), was located on the western fringes of Quang Tin ("Great Faith") Province, South Vietnam. In the spring of 1968, it was the only remaining border camp in Military Region I. Backup responsibility for the camp fell on the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal), based at Chu Lai on the far side of the province. The camp had originally been built for President Diem, who enjoyed hunting in the area. The 1st Special Forces detachment (A-727B) arrived in September 1963 and found the outpost to be an ideal border surveillance site with an existing airfield. The camp was located on a narrow grassy plain surrounded by rugged, virtually uninhabited jungle. The only village in the area, located across the airstrip, was occupied by post dependents, camp followers and merchants. The camp and airstrip were bordered by the Ngok Peng Bum ridge to the west and Ngok Pe Xar mountain, looming over Kham Duc to the east. Steep banked streams full of rapids and waterfalls cut through the tropical wilderness. The Dak Mi River flowed past the camp over a mile distant, under the shadow of the Ngok Pe Xar. Five miles downriver was the small forward operating base of Ngok Tavak, defended by the 113-man 11th Mobile Strike Force Company with its 8 Special Forces and 3 Australian advisors. Since Ngok Tavak was outside friendly artillery range, 33 Marine artillerymen of Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 13th Marines, with two 105mm howitzers were located at the outpost.
Capt. Christopher J. Silva, commander of Detachment A-105 helicoptered into Ngok Tavak on May 9, 1968 in response to growing signs of NVA presence in the area. Foul weather prevented his scheduled evening departure. A Kham Duc CIDG platoon fleeing a local ambush also arrived and was posted to the outer perimeter. It was later learned that the CIDG force contained VC infiltrators.
Ngok Tavak was attacked by an NVA infantry battalion at 0315 hours on May 10. The base was pounded by mortars and direct rocket fire. As the frontal assault began, the Kham Duc CIDG soldiers moved toward the Marines in the fort yelling, "Don't shoot, don't shoot! Friendly, friendly!" Suddenly they lobbed grenades into the Marine howitzer positions and ran into the fort, where they shot several Marines with carbines and sliced claymore mine and communication wires.
The defenders suffered heavy casualties but stopped the main assault and killed the infiltrators. The NVA dug in along the hill slopes and grenaded the trenches where the mobile strike force soldiers were pinned by machine gun and rocket fire. An NVA flamethrower set the ammunition ablaze, banishing the murky flare- lighted darkness for the rest of the night. SFC Harold M. Swicegood and the USMC platoon leader, Lt. Adams, were badly wounded and moved to the command bunker. Medical Spec4 Blomgren reported that the CIDG mortar crews had abandoned their weapons. Silva tried to operate the main 4.2 inch mortar but was wounded. At about 0500 hours, Sgt. Glenn Miller, an A-105 communications specialist, was shot through the head as he ran over to join the Marine howitzer crews.
The NVA advanced across the eastern side of Ngok Tavak and brought forward more automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. In desperation, the defenders called on USAF AC-47 "Spooky" gunships to strafe the perimeter and the howitzers, despite the possible presence of friendly wounded in the gun pits. The NVA countered with tear gas, but the wind kept drifting the gas over their own lines. After three attempts, they stopped. A grenade fight between the two forces lasted until dawn.
At daybreak Australian Warrant Officers Cameron and Lucas, joined by
Blomgren, led a CIDG counterattack. The North Vietnamese pulled back under covering fire, and the howitzers were retaken. The Marines fired the last nine shells and spiked the tubes. Later that morning medical evacuation helicopters supported by covering airstrikes took out the seriously wounded, including Silva and Swicegood. Two CH46's were able to land 45 replacements from the 12th Mobile Strike Force Company, accompanied by Capt. Euge E. Makowski (who related much of this account to Shelby Stanton, author of "Green Berets at War"), but one helicopter was hit in the fuel line and forced down. Another helicopter was hit by a rocket and burst into flames, wrecking the small helipad. The remaining wounded were placed aboard a hovering helicopter. As it lifted off, two Mike Force soldiers and 1Lt.
Horace Fleming, one of the stranded aviation crewmen, grabbed the helicopter skids. All three fell to their deaths after the helicopter had reached an altitude of over one hundred feet.
The mobile strike force soldiers were exhausted and nervous. Ammunition and water were nearly exhausted, and Ngok Tavak was still being pounded by sporadic mortar fire. They asked permission to evacuate their positions, but were told to "hold on" as "reinforcements were on the way". By noon the defenders decided that aerial reinforcement or evacuation was increasingly unlikely, and night would bring certain destruction. An hour later, they abandoned Ngok Tavak.
Thomas Perry, a medic from C Company, arrived at the camp at 0530 hours the morning of the 10th. He cared for the wounded and was assisting in an attempt to establish a defensive perimeter when the decision was made to evacuate the camp. As survivors were leaving, Perry was seen by Sgt. Cordell J. Matheney, Jr., standing 20 feet away, as Australian Army Capt. John White formed the withdrawal column at the outer perimeter wire on the eastern Ngok Tavak hillside. It was believed that Perry was going to join the end of the column.
All the weapons, equipment and munitions that could not be carried were
hastily piled into the command bunker and set afire. The helicopter that had been grounded by a ruptured fuel line was destroyed with a LAW. Sgt. Miller's body was abandoned.
After survivors had gone about 1 kilometer, it was discovered that Perry was missing. Efforts were conducted to locate both Perry and Miller, including a search by a group from Battery D. They were searching along the perimeter when they were hit by enemy grenades and arms fire. Neither the men on the team nor Perry was ever found. Included in this team were PFC Thomas Blackman; LCpl. Joseph Cook; PFC Paul Czerwonka; LCpl. Thomas Fritsch; PFC Barry Hempel; LCpl. Raymond Heyne; Cpl. Gerald King; PFC Robert Lopez; PFC William McGonigle; LCpl. Donald Mitchell; and LCpl. James Sargent. The remaining survivors evaded through dense jungle to a helicopter pickup point
midway to Kham Duc. Their extraction was completed shortly before 1900 hourson the evening of May 10.
In concert with the Ngok Tavak assault, the Kham Duc was blasted by a heavy mortar and recoilless rifle attack at 0245 hours that same morning. Periodic mortar barrages ripped into Kham Duc throughout the rest of the day, while the Americal Division airmobiled a reinforced battalion of the 196th Infantry Brigade into the compound. A Special Forces command party also landed, but the situation deteriorated too rapidly for their presence to have positive effect.
The mortar attack on fog-shrouded Kham Duc resumed on the morning of May 11.
The bombardment caused heavy losses among the frightened CIDG soldiers, who fled from their trenches across open ground, seeking shelter in the bunkers. The LLDB commander remained hidden. CIDG soldiers refused orders to check the rear of the camp for possible North Vietnamese intruders. That evening the 11th and 12th Mobile Strike Force companies were airlifted to Da Nang, and half of the 137th CIDG Company from Camp Ha Thanh was airlanded in exchange.
The 1st VC Regiment, 2nd NVA Division, began closing the ring around Kham Duc during the early morning darkness of 12 May. At about 0415 to 0430hours, the camp and outlying positions came under heavy enemy attack.
Outpost #7 was assaulted and fell within a few minutes. Outposts #5, #1 and #3 had been reinforced by Americal troops but were in North Vietnamese hands by 0930 hours.
OP1 was manned by PFC Harry Coen, PFC Andrew Craven, Sgt. Joseph Simpson, and SP4 Julius Long from Company E, 2nd of the 1st Infantry. At about 0415 hours, when OP1 came under heavy enemy attack, PFC Coen and SP4 Long were seen trying to man a 106 millimeter recoilless rifle. Survivors reported that in the initial enemy fire, they were knocked off their bunker. Both men again tried to man the gun, but were knocked down again by RPG fire.
PFC Craven, along with two other men, departed the OP at 0830 hours on May 12. They moved out 50 yards and could hear the enemy in their last position.
At about 1100 hours, as they were withdrawing to the battalion perimeter, they encountered an enemy position. PFC Craven was the pointman and opened fire. The enemy returned fire, and PFC Craven was seen to fall, with multiple chest wounds. The other two men were unable to recover him, and hastily departed the area. PFC Craven was last seen lying on his back, wounded, near the camp.
OP2 was being manned by 1Lt. Frederick Ransbottom, SP4 Maurice Moore, PFC Roy Williams, PFC Danny Widner, PFC William Skivington, PFC Imlay Widdison, and SP5 John Stuller, from the 2nd of the 3rd Infantry when it came under attack. Informal questioning of survivors of this position indicated that PFC Widdison and SP5 Stuller may have been killed in action. However, the questioning was not sufficiently thorough to produce enough evidence to confirm their deaths.
The only information available concerning 1Lt. Ransbottom, SP4 Moore, PFC Lloyd and PFC Skivington that Lt. Ransbottom allegedly radioed PFC Widner and PFC Williams, who were in the third bunker, and told them that he was shooting at the enemy as they entered his bunker.
SP4 Juan Jimenez, a rifleman assigned to Company A, 2nd of the 1st Infantry, was occupying a defensive position when he was severely wounded in the back by enemy mortar fire. SP4 Jimenez was declared dead by the Battalion Surgeon in the early morning hours of May 12. He was then carried to the helipad for evacuation. However, due to the situation, space was available in the helicopter for only the wounded, and SP4 Jimenez'remains were left behind.
At noon a massive NVA attack was launched against the main compound. The charge was stopped by planes hurling napalm, cluster bomb units and 750 pound bombs into the final wire barriers. The decision was made by the Americal Division officers to call for immediate extraction.
The evacuation was disorderly, and at times, on the verge of complete panic.
One of the first extraction helicopters to land was exploded by enemy fire, blocking the airstrip. Engineers of Company A, 70th Engineer Battalion, frantically reassembled one of their dozers (previously torn apart to prevent capture) to clear the runway. Eight more aircraft were blown out of the sky.
PFC Richard E. Sands was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 46th
Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade being extracted on a CH47 helicopter (serial #67-18475). The helicopter was hit by 50 caliber machine gun fire at an altitude of 1500-1600 feet shortly after takeoff. Sands, who was sitting near the door gunner, was hit in the head by an incoming rounds. The helicopter made a controlled landing and caught fire.
During the evacuation from the burning helicopter, four personnel and a
medic checked PFC Sands and indicated that he had been killed instantly.
Because of the danger of incoming mortar rounds and the fire, personnel
attempting to remove PFC Sands from the helicopter were ordered to abandon their attempt. The remaining personnel were evacuated from the area later by another helicopter.
Intense antiaircraft fire from the captured outposts caused grave problems. Control over the indigenous forces was difficult. One group of CIDG soldiers had to be held in trenches at gunpoint to prevent them from mobbing the runway.
As evacuation was in progress, members of Company A, 1/46, who insisted on boarding the aircraft first, shoved Vietnamese dependents out of the way. As more Americal infantry tried to clamber into the outbound planes, the outraged Special Forces staff convinced the Air Force to start loading civilians onboard a C130, then watched as the civilians pushed children and weaker adults aside.
The crew of the U.S. Air Force C130 aircraft (serial #60-0297) consisted of Maj. Bernard Bucher, pilot; SSgt. Frank Hepler, flight engineer; Maj. John McElroy, navigator; 1Lt. Steven Moreland, co-pilot; George Long, load master; Capt. Warren Orr, passenger, and an undetermined number of Vietnamese civilians.
The aircraft reported receiving ground fire on takeoff. The Forward Air
Control (FAC) in the area reported that the aircraft exploded in mid-air and crashed in a fire ball about one mile from camp. All crew and passengers were believed dead, as the plane burned quickly and was completely destroyed except for the tail boom. No remains were recovered from the aircraft.
Capt. Orr was not positively identified by U.S. personnel as being aboard the aircraft. He was last seen near the aircraft helping the civilians to board. However, a Vietnamese stated that he had seen Capt. Orr board the aircraft and later positively identified him from a photograph. Rescue efforts were impossible because of the hostile threat in the area. At the time the order was given to escape and evade, SP4 Julius Long was was with Coen and Simpson. All three had been wounded, and were trying to make their way back to the airfield about 350 yards away. As they reached the airfield, they saw the last C130 departing. PFC Coen, who was shot in the stomach, panicked and started running and shooting his weapon at random. SP4
Long tried to catch him, but could not, and did not see PFC Coen again. Long then carried Sgt. Simpson to a nearby hill, where they spent the night.
During the night, the airfield was strafed and bombed by U.S. aircraft. SP4 Long was hit twice in the back by fragments, and Sgt. Simpson died during the night. SP4 Long left him lying on the hill near the Cam Duc airfield and started his escape and evasion toward Chu Lai, South Vietnam. SP4 Long was captured and was released in 1973 from North Vietnam.
The Special Forces command group was the last organized group out of the camp. As their helicopter soared into the clouds, Kham Duc was abandoned to advancing NVA infantry at 4:33 p.m. on May 12, 1968. The last Special Forces camp on the northwestern frontier of South Vietnam had been destroyed.
Two search and recovery operations were conducted in the vicinity of OP1 and OP2 and the Cam Duc airfield on July 18, 1970 and August 17, 1970. In these operations, remains of personnel previously reported missing from this incident were recovered and subsequently identified. (SP4 Bowers, PFC Lloyd, Sgt. Sisk, PFC Guzman-Rios and SSgt. Carter). However, extensive search and excavation could not be completed at OP1 and OP2 because of the tactical situation.
It was assumed that all the missing at Kham Duc were killed in action until about 1983, when the father of one of the men missing discovered a Marine Corps document which indicated that four of the men had been taken prisoner. The document listed the four by name. Until then, the families had not been advised of the possibility there were any American prisoners taken other than Julius Long. A Vietnamese rallier identified the photograph of Roy C. Williams and John C. Stuller as positively having been POWs.
Until proof is obtained that the rest of the men lost at Ngok Tavak and Kham Duc are dead, their families will always wonder if they are among those said to still be alive in Southeast Asia.
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#4 01-10-2007, 06:31
The tale of Edmond's hero
The Edmond Sun
EDMOND - Like many young men in the 1960s, Fredrick Joel Ransbottom's life was abruptly disrupted when his military draft number was called.
Ransbottom honored his obligation to his country and signed up for service with his best friend Clint Wheeler.
Like many young men in the 1960s Ransbottom never returned home.
Ransbottom went to Army Officers' Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Ga., and from there he shipped to Vietnam and eventually led a newly formed
long-range reconnaissance team in the Quang Tin province of South Vietnam.
First Lt. Fredrick Joel Ransbottom was in charge of men occupying three
outposts in the northern sector of the country, near the Laos border. At first their mission was to travel in small teams within enemy territory to monitor the movement of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops and later to protect the American special forces camp as it was being evacuated from the area.
The three outposts proved to be an ideal border surveillance site with an existing airfield. They weren't in a safe area, but instead were scattered on the top of three mountains looking down on Kham Duc, the Green Beret camp.
"We were always outside the wire, meaning we were in `bad guy' territory," said Allen "Doc" Hoe of Honolulu, who was Ransbottom's medic.
The only village in the area was located on the other side of the airstrip and was occupied by post dependents, camp followers and merchants.
"The high-ridgeline site overlooked a valley where the Green Beret camp, first occupied in September of 1963, was being evacuated," Hoe said. "We held all three positions there."
Their job was to occupy the outposts to monitor enemy movements as the camp below was being evacuated. All three positions were overrun by a massive NVA division starting on May 10 and finishing the morning of May 12. The attack was the result of what Hoe calls "perhaps one of Gen. (William) Westmoreland's greatest blunders."
The Special Forces command group was the last organized group out of the camp. As their helicopter soared into the clouds, Kham Duc was abandoned to advancing NVA infantry on May 12, 1968, Mother's Day. The last Special Forces camp on the northwestern frontier of South Vietnam had been destroyed, and Ransbottom's Outpost 2 was wiped out, all except for two men.The reconnaissance team had lost 17 members in the attack, including 10 soldiers declared missing in action and one man became a prisoner of war for seven years. Ransbottom had earned a Silver Star citation for his valor, but had lost his life.
The two men who survived were on rest and recuperation leave.
Hoe had been on R&R in Honolulu along with Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) Joseph Blanford of Bardstown, Ky., when the attack on the outposts took place.
Blanford had gone to Honolulu to meet his wife, Phyllis, who was expecting a child. The families of both men had spent the R&R time together.
"He (Ransbottom) was a hell of a good guy," Blanford said. "I was right
beside him all of the time. He was a good lieutenant, and he was
courageous." There were many things the men liked about their new leader. "One of the things that endeared him to us was that when he joined us he realized he was totally out of his element," Hoe said. "He had accomplished a lot of great things as a young soldier.
"When you get to a war zone, many assume they know everything. Rather than assume he knew more than us, he sat down with us and wanted to know everything. The sergeants and platoon leader immediately took to him. They realized immediately that not only did he have all the skills (necessary to lead), but he had common sense, too."
One man, Bill Wright from Midwest City and the RTO for Outpost 1 gives
Ransbottom credit for being alive today.
"If it weren't for Fred I wouldn't be alive today, nor would a lot of other men that survived that war," Wright said.
"First Lt. Fred Ransbottom was of a small frame but very, very neat. He had a real air about him as being in control. When he got to our unit he made a lot of changes that were life-saving. He sent us to artillery school. Hewould tell us these are the things that we need to be doing, and these are the things we aren't going to be doing. He was really down to earth," Wright added. Wright was with one of the excavation groups that went back to look for the men's remains after the Mother's Day attack.
"As of the last excavation I believe remains from as many as seven men from OP2 and three from OP1 may have been recovered," Wright said.
In 1979 some remains were recovered, and three of the missing soldiers were identified. There have been other trips, but no other remains were found until this
spring. The OP2 site was reoccupied in 1970 by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and Wright believes that the bulldozing of dirt over Outpost 2 helped save the artifacts and remains.
The remains of at least two more soldiers recently were excavated, those of Ransbottom, whose mother Laverne Ransbottom, now lives in Edmond, and PFC William "Skip" Skivington.
"There may be more accounted for after DNA testing is done," Wright said.
A Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) mission uncovered the remains this past April and they included dog tags, Ransbottom's class ring and
Skivington's fiance's class ring, which he wore on his little finger, and other personal belongings. Hoe, as well as Ransbottom's mother, both believe the evidence found is overwhelming and could not belong to anyone else. "These (two men) were the ones we really needed to find," Wright said, "both of their families have been so active in bringing them (MIAs) back, and they are getting older."
The remains were taken June 30 to Honolulu for lab work at the Central
Identification Lab (CILHI) at Hickam Air Force Base.
"Since May 13, 1968, I have accepted that the obligations to my men (in my unit) will not end until they're all safely returned," Hoe said.
Although Hoe made a pact with himself 38 years ago, he may not be able to keep the promise he once made if all of the remains have not been recovered as of this last trip.
The Vietnamese have found gold on the mountains and a firm plans to start mining soon, ending any more excavation opportunities.
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Colleen McCarty, Investigative Reporter
CSI Lab in Hawaii Works to Make Positive ID
July 4, 2006 07:40 PM CDT
(Scroll down for the Skivington Memorial and Freedom Tree Fund information)
A Nevada soldier has been missing for more than three decades, but his
family may soon be able to take him to his final resting place.
A team of military experts believes they've recovered remains and personal effects of Private First Class William "Skip" Skivington. Forensic scientists in Hawaii are working to make the positive identification.
A quote from Ronald Reagan hangs above the lab where forensic experts work to identify remains. It reads, "An end to America's involvement in Vietnam cannot come before we've achieved the fullest possible accounting of those missing in action."
In the heart of paradise near the harbor that lives in infamy, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command honors our nation's promise to find our missing soldiers anywhere in the world and bring them home.
Bill Skivington, Sr. has waited 38 years for this moment, for his oldest son and his namesake to return from Vietnam.
Bill, Sr. said, "It's been a long hard journey."
A journey that began on Mother's Day 1968 when the Army listed Private First Class William "Skip" Skivington missing in action after a fire fight near the Laos border.
Using a variety of resources -- including satellite images, historical
records and field interviews -- anthropologists with the Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command excavated the mountain top battleground.
The third time brought them success.
Brad Sturm, with JPAC, said, "So, here's the area completely exposed.
Skivington's ID media was found about here; his high school class ring, a female ring, in this area here."
The team also recovered Skip's wallet, possible bone fragments and teeth along with evidence of four of his fellow soldiers.
Brad Sturm led the joint field activity. "The first thing you think about is the family's potential relief. That maybe there's going to be some genuine closure on this event they've carried with them all their lives," he said. At long last, a father has something to hold.
Scientists at the central identification laboratory will use the personal effects, dental records, and if necessary, DNA testing to make a positiveidentification. Bill, Sr. said, "I brought my wife's DNA."
Years punctuated by disappointment have taught Bill, Sr. to leave nothing to chance.
"We're trying to speed up the DNA testing on my son. So that maybe we can get him to Arlington before I die," he said.
It may take several weeks or longer before identification can be made. When all of the remains have been processed, the JPAC team will determine whether a fourth trip to Kham Duc is needed.
Bill, Sr. said, "It's a relief, but it never ends."
Anthropologists believe they may still be missing two soldiers who
disappeared that day.
There is a fund to raise money to move a tree dedicated in "PFC "Skip"
Skivington's memory. People that wish to make a donation to the tree fund can mail or drop off their checks to:
Skivington Memorial and Freedom Tree Fund
1800 East Desert Inn
Las Vegas, Nev. 89109
Any excess funds collected will be donated to the Southern Nevada Veteran's
Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City.
I have lost some good friends there and have some more that came home looked down on by to many people. These guy's are Americas hero's, NEVER FORGET!!!! Gods speed you guy's!
Thanks again for bringing this to our attention Jim.