|Name:||Dennis Lee Gauthier|
|Rank/Branch:||Staff Sergeant/US Army|
12th Infantry, 1st Brigade,
4th Infantry Division
|Date of Birth:||08 August 1949 (Duluth, MN)|
|Home of Record:||Rochester, MI|
|Date of Loss:||31 October 1969|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
Click coordinates to view )maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing In Action|
|Other Personnel in Incident:||(none missing)|
SYNOPSIS: On 31 October 1969, then PFC Dennis L. Gauthier was a rifleman in C Company, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. While participating in a combat patrol, PFC Gauthier's company was ambushed by an enemy force of unknown size. At the time of the ambush, they were operating in rugged jungle-covered mountains approximately 25 miles southwest of Kontum, 34 miles due south of Dak To, 20 miles northwest of the city of Pleiku and 25 miles east of the Vietnamese/Cambodian border, Pleiku Province, South Vietnam.
As his company was attempting to break contact and withdraw from the intense action, PFC Gauthier's platoon was sent up a hill to provide covering fire for the rest of their company. There his platoon made contact with communist troops, and in the ensuing firefight, PFC Gauthier and another soldier were wounded, with Dennis Gautier being shot in the leg. Because of the heavy volume of enemy fire, the wounded men could not be evacuated from the hill to a safer location. Both Dennis Gauthier and the other man were left hidden behind a log with ample means to defend themselves should it be necessary to do so while the other platoon members moved forward to press the attack.
Two days later, on 2 November 1969, when a reconnaissance platoon was inserted into the ambush site to recover the two wounded men, they found only the body of the other soldier. They then conducted a thorough search throughout the immediate area, but found no trace of PFC Gautier or any of his personal equipment anywhere in or around the ambush site. Dennis Gauthier was immediately listed Missing in Action.
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 and Laos were called 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.