McCONNELL, JERRY (NMN)

Name:  Jerry (NMN) McConnell
Rank/Branch: Private/US Army
Unit:  625th Supply & Services Co., 
266th Service and Supply Battalion, 
29th General Support Group 
15th Support Brigade, 
1st Logistics Command 
Date of Birth: 02 January 1947
Home of Record: Jamaica, NY
Date of Loss: 24 September 1968 
Country of Loss:  South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates:  165408N 1071156E (YD342699) 
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Killed/Body Not Recovered 
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground:  Boat 
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) 

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS:   On 24 September 1968, Pvt. Jerry McConnell, was working on a refrigeration barge moored in the Cua Viet River, approximately 10 miles north of the city of Quang Tri, Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.

After finishing the day's work, he and several other personnel decided to swim from the barge to the beach, a distance of only about 50 yards. Pvt. McConnell dove into the river, then happily yelled at some friends who were already on the beach. They watched him as he swam in a circle, then watched in horror as he went under. He surfaced once and a sailor on the barge who heard his cries for help, threw him a life preserver. However, before reaching the life preserver, Jerry McConnell submerged again and did not resurface.

Another sailor who was a Navy diver immediately donned scuba equipment and went down searching for him, but was unable to find him. Later that day a thorough search of the river and shoreline was made by two patrol boats and another Navy diver. When no trace of Jerry McConnell was found, he was immediately listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

The Cua Viet River was quite muddy with jungle growth flourishing along both banks. Tree limbs and vines overhung the river's edge and the current flowed swiftly toward the South China Sea.

While Jerry McConnell's fate is not in doubt, he has a right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country if at all possible. For other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fate could be quite different.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE American Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

Military men in Vietnam were called upon to operate in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.