GAGE, ROBERT HUGH

Name: Robert Hugh Gage 
Rank/Branch: Staff Sergeant/US Marine Corps 
Unit: 1st Anti-Tank Battalion 
1st Marine Division 
Date of Birth: 17 March 1945 (Columbus, OH) 
Home of Record: Columbus, OH
Date of Loss: 03 July 1966 
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 155650N 1081508E (BT059649)
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Missing in Action 
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) 

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS:  Then Lance Corporal Robert H. Gage was very proud to be a Marine who volunteered to serve his country in Vietnam. After completing his tour of duty, he was transferred to the Marine base at DaNang prior to rotating to the United States.

The region south of DaNang was densely populated and hotly contested because of its rice fields and prime location in northern South Vietnam. It was laced with rivers, canals and waterways of all sizes that flowed in all directions. Many roads of various sizes also ran in different directions connecting the hamlets and towns of the region with the major cities and US military bases. Rice fields were scattered everywhere.

LCpl. Gage was in DaNang only a couple days when he disappeared. At 1300 hours, Robert Gage and another Marine were preparing their belongings for the trip home. The two men left their platoon's position to find a local resident to do their laundry. In their quest, the two Marines entered Thanh Thuy Village, which was located 15 kilometers south-southeast of DaNang City, Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam.

LCpl. Gage was last seen by his friend while engaged in a conversation with two Vietnamese women. When it was discovered he was in fact missing, a search of the area was conducted by two platoons of Americans accompanied by eight trained search dogs. On 3 and 4 July, US personnel detained and questioned local village women in their continuing investigation, but obtained no information about Robert Gage's fate.

On 5 July, members of the search party learned that  LCpl. Gage had actually entered a Viet Cong (VC) controlled hamlet. The Americans thoroughly examined Thanh Thuy Village, but found no trace of Robert Gage in or around the area. At the time the formal search was terminated, Robert Gage was listed Missing in Action.

LCpl. Robert Gage was a well-trained and experienced Marine who found himself in jeopardy while off duty in a "secure" rear area. During the Vietnam War, it was no secret there truly were no safe areas no matter where you were or what you were doing because Viet Cong guerrillas infiltrated into villages and cities alike while blending in with the local population.

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 Robert Hugh Gage.

If LCpl. Gage died as a result of this inadvertent encounter with the enemy, he has a right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. However, if he survived, he most certainly was captured and his fate, like that of other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different. Either way, there is no doubt the Vietnamese could return him or his remains any time they had the desire to do so.

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 ever occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.