Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 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 1998.
SYNOPSIS: PFC Robert J. Wells was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 14th
Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. On July 22, 1966,
he and his unit were conducting a mission in Pleiku Province, Republic of
Vietnam when they crossed a swift stream near the Ia Drang River.
During the crossing, the safety line Wells was using broke and he was swept
away. Witnesses tried to save him, but he disappeared under the water. At
the time, Wells was undoubtedly weighted down by ammunition and other gear.
Searches along the banks of the river were conducted, but no trace of Wells
was ever found. He was listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. There is
little likelihood that his body will ever be found.
Wells is listed among the missing because he was never found. Others who are
missing do not have such clear-cut cases. Some were known captives; some
were photographed as they were led by their guards. Some were in radio
contact with search teams, while others simply disappeared.
Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those
who claim to know about Americans still alive in Southeast Asia, and several
million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot seem to
agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Detractors say it would be
far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be alive
home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains.
Well over 1000 first-hand, eye-witness reports of American prisoners still
alive in Southeast Asia have been received by 1990. Most of them are still
classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe, the men are all dead, why the
secrecy after so many years? If the men are alive, why are they not home?