Name: Gary Bernard Scull  
Rank/Branch: Captain/US Army/font>
Unit: Advance Team 3, MACV/font>
Date of Birth: 26 September 1940 (Washington, DC)
Home of Record: Harlan, IA
Date of Loss: 12 March 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164656N 1065415E (YD029563)
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Missing in Action 
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)


SYNOPSIS:On 11 March 1970, then 2nd Lt. Gary B. Scull was assigned as an Assistant Battalion Advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment. On 12 March, Gary Scull was serving at an ARVN outpost that was responsible for guarding the Khe Gio Bridge located on the east side of a heavily forested mountain range approximately 11 miles west-southwest of Dong Ha, 13 miles northeast of Khe Sanh and 18 miles west of Quang Tri City, Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. In addition to the normal complement of personnel assigned to the outpost, it was protected by 1 US manned M42 self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) vehicle known as a “Duster,” along with the standard issue of small arms, mortars, grenades, etc.

At approximately 0125 hours, the outpost came under attack from an unknown size NVA force. 2nd Lt. Scull's forward observation bunker was hit twice by enemy mortar fire and burst into flames. After the attack started, no one saw Gary Scull, although an ARVN officer and one of the US crewmen of the anti-aircraft artillery vehicle attempted to locate him on separate occasions. At 0415 hours, the outpost was declared undefendable and the surviving American and ARVN soldiers evacuated the outpost by preplanned escape and evasion routes.

At 0700 hours, an ARVN company with US advisors retook the outpost. After securing the outpost’s perimeter, the company made a thorough search of the area. In addition to looking for both survivors and remains of their dead, they located and disarmed booby traps left behind by the communists. During their extensive search, they found no trace of 2nd Lt. Scull either alive or dead in or around the forward observation bunker or any other part of the compound. At the time the formal search effort was terminated, Gary Scull was declared Missing in Action.

In December 1974, a NVA rallier reported to US intelligence that in June 1971 he saw an American POW in the vicinity of the outpost. According to the rallier’s statement, the American had been captured by elements of the 52nd Regiment, 320th Division, in Quang Tri Province and was being taken to the B-5 Front Headquarters. Further, his description of the POW, along with the circumstances of capture, matched the incident involving Gary Scull and the attack on the ARVN outpost. A thorough analysis of this information led US intelligence analysts to the conclusion this report "matches" the missing advisor’s loss information.

In April 1991 the US government released a list of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action who were known to be alive in enemy hands and for whom there is no evidence that he or she died in captivity. This list, commonly referred to today as the USG’s “Last Known Alive” list, included Gary Scull.

If 2nd Lt. Scull died as a result of wounds received during the attack on his outpost, the Vietnamese most certainly could return his remains to his family friends and country any time they chose to. On the other hand, if he survived the attack only to be captured by the NVA as the rallier’s first hand report indicates his fate, along with that of other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, 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.

American military men in Vietnam were call upon to fly and fight 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.