Compiled by Mike "Tiny" Readinger, also known as "Twist."
This Gallery and my writings and poems are dedicated to a close friend, Dennis Hammond, and...for all those who cannot...
I am working with Dennis's remaining family to find and return his remains from Vietnam and shall not rest until Dennis is finally home. It is my hope that others may see this information; and, by adding other information/knowledge to this puzzle, aid us in our search.
I CAN BE REACHED VIA EMAIL AT: Carl Michael "Tiny" Readinger firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a report of an earlier special-remains team's (SRT's) investigation of Case No. 1042 during March and April 1994. This report is based on Field Analysis alone and is not intended to provide final analytical conclusions.
I. Summary of investigation
A. Recommendation: Reinvestigation
The joint, special-remains team investigated Case No. 1042 in May, July, and August '94. The team interviewed thirteen witnesses who knew about either the American Marine associated with this case, the POW camp system in which he was held and died, or Vietnamese unilateral efforts after the war to recover the remains of Americans who died while held in the MR5 POW camp.
The joint team surveyed two sites, the MR5 POW camp occupied in western Quang Ngai province. One site sits almost directly on the border with Quang Nam-Da Nang Province. The team confirmed the location of the campsite at which Corporal Hammond died and was buried; however, the team did not confirm the exact location of the grave.
Recommend that headquarters JTF-FA invite Command Sergeant Major (CSM) XXXXX, a survivor of the MR5 POW camp who helped bury Hammond, to return to Vietnam to assist a Joint Team to locate the burial site of Corporal Hammond. Recommend Reinvestigation.
A. Circumstances of loss
1. Vietnamese communist forces captured Corporal Dennis W. Hammond and another American Marine on 8 Feb. '68 in communist military region 5 (MR5). Their captors moved the two Americans to the MR5 POW camp for American POW's, located in Western Quang Ngai Province, near the border with Quang Nam-Da Nang Province.
American survivors of the MR5 POW camp reported that the Marine captured with Corporal Hammond died on 24 Dec. '68 and that Corporal Hammond died from dysentery on 8 Mar '70. Members of the camp staff and other U.S. POW's buried Corporal Hammond and the other Marine near each other at the edge of the camp. They marked the graves with bamboo crosses.
In 1973, Vietnamese authorities gave U.S. officials a list of American serviceman who died in captivity in South Vietnam. According to the list, Corporal Hammond died on 7 Mar '70.
2. On 14 Aug '85, Vietnamese authorities repatriated remains of two persons they believed were Corporal Hammond and the Marine who was captured with him---and who was buried next to him. Experts at the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (USACILHI), confirmed that one set was the remains of the Marine captured with Corporal Hammond; however, the other set was the remains of a Southeast Asian, Mongoloid person.
B. Previous Investigations/Surveys/Archival Research
1. The reference noted in Paragraph 1 contains a detailed description of previous investigations, surveys, and archival research for this case. The reference is summarized below.
2. An earlier special remains team investigated Case No. 1042 from 25 Feb. to 16 Mar '94. The team obtained no remains or material evidence associated with this case. The team interviewed five witnesses who knew about this case. Three of the five witnesses said they could locate the former campsite where Corporal Hammond died. The team recommended this case for reinvestigation.
3. Details of Investigation
(a) In Aug '93, U.S. and SRV officials agreed to investigate 84 cases that U.S. officials hoped might yield information on the disposition of remains. Subsequently, the JTF-FA and the VNOSMP established the joint special remains team and tasked it to investigate these cases. The joint special remains team investigated Case No. 1042 from 5 to 11 May, 18 and 19 July; and 25 Aug '94.
(1) U.S. Contingent
(2) Vietnamese Contingent
Pham Cong Khoi (Phamj Coong Khooi), Ministry of Defense
Do Tien Thinh (Zoor Tieens Thinhj), Ministry of Defense
Buy Duy Cai (Buif Zuy Cair), Ministry of Defense
(3) Analytical Support
Mr. XXXXX, detachment two researcher/historian
(b) From 5 to 11 May '94, at the Bach Dang Hotel, Da Nang city, Quang Nam-Da Nang Province, the SRT interviewed the following persons who had been members of the staff of the MR5 POW camp:
(1) Mrs. Nguyen Thi Minh Son, 53 YOA, who was a nurse at the MR5 POW camp while it was located in the Tra My District (D), Quang Nam Da Nang Province, and Tra Khe Village (V), Tra Bong (D), Quang Ngai Province;
(2) Mr. Phan Xuan Muoi , 52 YOA, who was a soldier who worked at the MR5 POW camp while it was located in Tra My (D) and Tra Khe (V);
(3) Mr. Nguyen Hong Tam, 65 YOA, who was a logistics cadre member on the staff of the MR5 POW camp while it was located in Tra My (D); and,
(4) Mr. Nguyen Hong Quang, 70 YOA, who was the commander of the MR5 POW camp while it was located in Tra My (D).
C. The witnesses had heard that Corporal Hammond and Pvt XXXXX escaped from MR5 POW camp in Tra Khe. They heard that security forces caught them, and killed Pvt. XXXXX and recaptured Corporal Hammond. The witnesses all believed Corporal Hammond was buried at one of the sites the MR5 POW camp occupied in the Tra Khe Village.
D. Detachment two Researcher/Historian Comment:
American survivors of the MR5 POW camp recalled that it occupied six different sites for relatively long periods, and one site for a brief period. Americans died and were buried at three of the sites. Two German Nationals died and were buried at another of the sites.
Vietnamese witnesses commonly use Hamlet, Village, and District names to refer to these sites. This practice can be confusing, and is highly susceptible to error. The SRT and previous investigation teams sought to overcome this difficulty by confirming the location of each site. For example, various Vietnamese witnesses described one or more sites as "in Tra My" District; however, when we plotted the confirmed location on a map, we found that none of the sites are in Tra My District.
The research historian compiled the following summary of information about the sites from the records of debriefings of survivors of this camp, previous investigations of the camp, and the current investigation of Corporal Hammond's case. The summary is presented here to give analysts a context for the information about Corporal Hammond.
1. SITE 1. Estimated coordinate 49PBS145850. Two U.S. POW's held here circa late-66 and early-77. No Americans died at this site.
2. SITE 2. Estimated 49PBS130840. Two U.S. POW's held here circa 1967. No Americans died at this site.
3. SITE 3. Confirmed location, 49PBS11238536, 151346N1081842E. One U.S. POW died and was buried at this site. A joint team will excavate this site during the 31st JFA.
4. SITE 4. Confirmed location, 49PBS1263482336. Six U.S. POW's died and were buried at this site. Vietnamese authorities repatriated the remains of five of the POW's. Vietnamese witnesses who helped recover remains from this site in about 1978-79, said they could not find the remains of the sixth person. A joint team excavated this site during the 31st JFA. The excavation team recovered a nearly complete skeleton, including several teeth with restorations.
5. SITE 5. Confirmed location, within a 200 meter radius of 49PBS10008500. Two German Nationals died and were buried at this site. Vietnamese authorities have repatriated the remains of both of those persons.
6. SITE 6. Confirmed location, 49PBSO79808. Corporal Zawtocki and Corporal Hammond died and were buried at this site. Vietnamese authorities repatriated Corporal Zawtocki's remains and the remains of another person that they thought was Corporal Hammond. The remains they thought was those of Corporal Hammond proved to be remains of a Southeast Asian, Mongoloid person.
7. SITE 7. Estimated location, 49PBS065792. No Americans died at this site, which was occupied for only about 20 days in late 1970.
E. Several Vietnamese witnesses and the SRT team chief's VNOSMP counterpart, Ltc Khoi, thought Corporal Hammond had died and was buried at SITE 4. Mr. Khoi gave the following reasons:
1. Nguyen Thanh Hung, an interpreter for the MR5 camp, stated Corporal Hammond died at this site.
2. The Vietnamese list of remains recovered from sites in MR5 camp, Corporal Hammond's name appears together with the names of persons who were buried at this site. (Field Comment: In fact, U.S. survivors who helped bury Corporal Hammond confirm he was buried at SITE 6.)
3. The MR5 record of remains recovered described Corporal Hammond as an American Indian. LTC Khoi understood Corporal Hammond said he was an American Indian after he was captured. LTC Khoi believed American Indian skeletal structure is similar to Mongoloid skeletal structure. LTC Khoi speculated that the Mongoloid remains Vietnamese authorities repatriated on 14 Aug '85 could have been Corporal Hammond's remains. (Field Comment: USACILHI assured the team that this was not possible.)
F. During the 27th JFA, CSM Davis, a survivor of the MR5 POW camp, accompanied a joint investigation team that searched for the graves of the American's who died while in camp. When the team visited SITE 4, CSM XXXXX confirmed that the person who is still unaccounted for in Case No. 0951 was buried at SITE 4. He confirmed Corporal Hammond was not buried at SITE 4.
The team shared this knowledge with the Vietnamese witnesses; however, they continue to believe Corporal Hammond was buried at SITE 4.