|Name:||Lawrence Lee Aldrich|
|Rank/Branch:||Specialist 4th Class/US Army|
173rd Airborne Brigade
|Date of Birth:||16 July 1947|
|Home of Record:||Ft. Worth, TX|
|Date of Loss:||06 May 1968|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Killed/Body Not Recovered|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||(none missing)|
SYNOPSIS: On 6 May 1968, at age 19, Lawrence Lee Aldrich was proud to be a rifleman in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, nicknamed "The Herd." Company B, 2nd Battalion was on a search and clear mission in a hilly and forested area approximately 5 miles south of Hoa Nhon, 7 miles west of the coastline. This sector was also 22 miles north-northwest of Phu Cat Airfield and 39 miles north-northwest of the major coastal city of Qui Nhon, Bien Dien Province, South Vietnam.
Highway 1, the primary north-south road that ran nearly the full length of North and South Vietnam, was located less than 1 mile to the east. In this region, a single-track railroad line ran side by side with the highway. A couple miles to the south lay rich rice fields.
As Company B swept through their area of operation, they engaged a large, well-armed enemy force of unknown size in battle. During the intense fighting, the Americans were under the threat of being overrun, and an airstrike was called in to subdue the enemy. During the airstrike, a 750-pound bomb fell short of an enemy position and was seen to impact on SP4 Aldrich's last known position. At the time, Lawrence Aldrich was also the only man in his company known to be in this location.
After the battle, the platoon leader was able to immediately search the area where SP4 Aldrich was last seen, but found no trace of him or his equipment. A thorough search of the area was conducted by the rest of Company B. It also failed to find any remains that could be recovered and identified as his. At the time the formal search was terminated, Lawrence Aldrich was immediately listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.
While the fate of Lawrence Lee Aldrich is not in doubt and there is virtually no chance he can ever be recovered, he has the right not to be forgotten by the nation for which he gave his life. 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.
American servicemen in Vietnam were called upon to operate in many dangerous circumstances both on and off duty, 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.