Name: Dewey Allen Midgett   
Rank/Branch: Private/US Army 
Unit: 355th Assault Helicopter Company 
145th Combat Aviation Battalion,
Phu Hiep Airfield, South Vietnam 
Date of Birth: 29 December 1947 
Home of Record: Chesapeake, VA
Date of Loss: 25 November 1967 
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 130500N 1091800E (CQ245365)
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Unauthorized Absence 
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)


SYNOPSIS:  On 25 November 1967, Pvt. Dewey A. Midgett was assigned to the 355th Assault Helicopter Company, 145th Combat Aviation Battalion, Phu Hiep Airfield. This airfield was located on the coastline approximately 9 miles southeast of Tuy Hoa and 58 miles north of Cam Ranh Bay, Khanh Hao Province, South Vietnam

Pvt. Midgett was issued a day pass with instructions to return to his unit no later than 1700 hours the same day. When he had not returned by the specified time, his company commander initiated a check of the company area, which included interviewing other soldiers who had also received day passes. Information was forthcoming that placed Dewey Midgett in the vicinity of the beach earlier in the day. Since the beach was just south of the Phu Hiep Airfield, soldiers easily traveled to and from it.

By the next day, 26 November, no additional definitive information could be generated. The missing soldier was listed Unauthorized Absence (UA) and a report was filed with both the military police and the Army's Criminal Investigation Division (CID). These steps initiated a formal investigation into Dewey Midgett's disappearance by the CID personnel at Phu Hiep.

Over the next several days, a more in-depth investigation was conducted. This included examining Pvt. Midgett's personal affects. Nothing was found to be missing or out of order. His military record was also examined. It indicated the 19-year-old was a fine soldier with a good record. Further, as part of that investigation a check was made with graves registration and the 91st Evacuation Hospital at Phu Hiep. All agencies had no information about this missing soldier.

At the same time an extensive search and rescue/recovery (SAR) operation employing air, sea and ground assets was conducted along the coastline and out to sea, and throughout the area between the designated recreation beach and Phu Hiep Airfield. Local villagers were also questioned about the fate of Dewey Midgett, but none could provide any information about his whereabouts. Unfortunately, the US Army was never able to establish the precise circumstances of his disappearance, or establish if he was a legitimate prisoner or victim of foul play. At the time the search and investigation were terminated, Dewey Midgett's status of Unauthorized Absence was allowed to stand in spite of the fact the US military had no information to either support or nullify it.

Over the years Pvt. Midgett's status and records have been adjusted to reflect the current philosophy of the time. As a serviceman considered Absent Without Leave (AWOL), the US military largely ignored him from the date the CID investigation was completed to the end of the Vietnam War. Further, as a UA, Dewey Midgett was not included with other American servicemen and civilians who were classified as POW/MIAs thereby denying him the legal attention afforded to others who were listed as "unaccounted for."

On 4 February 1980, a status review hearing was held for Dewey Midgett. As with other Americans carried in a legally "live" category, the US Army administratively declared him Killed under a Presumptive Finding of Death based on the passage of time with no new information regarding his fate. By 1983 the Department of Defense chose to include Dewey Midgett's name and related data in the list of prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for.

If Dewey Midgett met with foul play and is dead, he has a right to have his remains returned to their family, friends and country. However, is he survived, his fate, like 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 America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

Military men were called upon to live under many dangerous circumstances while serving in a war zone, 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.