REILLY, EDWARD DANIEL JR.

Remains Returned 27 April 1989 - Identified 22 August 1989
Name: Edward Daniel Reilly, Jr. 
Rank/Branch: Sergeant First Class/US Army 
Unit: Company C, 
2nd Battalion, 
16th Infantry, 
1st Infantry Division 
Date of Birth: 16 January 1943
Home of Record: .Philadelphia, PA
Date of Loss: 26 April 1966 
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 112508N 1060159E (XT127624)
Click coordinates to view maps
 
Status in 1973: Prisoner of War 
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) 

REMARKS:  ID CARD, INTERROGN PAPERS FOUND

SYNOPSIS:  On 26 April 1966, then SP4 Edward D. Reilly, Jr. was assigned as a rifleman in Company C, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. His platoon was participating in a Search and Destroy mission in the dense jungle approximately 4 miles north of Tay Ninh North Airfield, which was located on the northwest edge of the city of Tay Ninh. It was also 12 miles east of the South Vietnamese/Cambodian border, Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam
.
During the morning his unit came under sporadic sniper small arms fire as they moved through the jungle and crossed a small creek. At roughly 1200 hours, and approximately 1 mile west of the creek, the Americans stopped for a lunch break. A head count was taken after the noon meal with all personal present and accounted for. The patrol moved out at 1330 hours. As they continued through the jungle, the patrol again came under sporadic enemy small arms fire.

At 1600 hours, another head count was taken. At that time Edward Reilly was reported missing. After witness statements were taken and examined, it was learned only one man actually saw SP4 Reilly just before they crossed the creek at 1130 hours. Search efforts were immediately initiated by the rest of the patrol. They backtracked through the mission area that they had passed through earlier in the day. They also thoroughly searched the location of the noon encampment site and the east bank of the creek. At no time during the search was any trace of SP4 Reilly found. The search was terminated at 2000 hours due to impending darkness. At the time the initial search effort was terminated, Edward Reilly was listed Missing in Action.

During a subsequent mission against a Viet Cong (VC) base camp in the vicinity of SP4 Reilly loss, enemy documents were captured including Edward Reilly's identification card and personal papers. Also captured was a handwritten VC interrogation report pertaining to SP4 Reilly. These interrogation documents correctly identified him as a member of the 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. The month of the interrogation was illegible, but the date was "26" and the year "1966."

At the same time the other documents were found, a personal VC letter was also seized that discussed the questioning of an American POW corporal and included the sentence, "after the interrogation, kill the American." Because Edward Reilly was not a corporal, the Army could not determine if the notation actually applied to him or to another POW who held that rank. In fact, US intelligence had no way to determined exactly who that entry referred to. When these documents were evaluated, Edward Reilly's status was immediately upgraded from Missing in Action to Prisoner of War.

It was not until 27 April 1989 - 23 full years nearly to the day after he was captured by the Viet Cong - that the Vietnamese found the remains of SP4 Reilly and returned them to US control without explanation. These remains were transported to the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CIL-HI) where they were examined and identified.

While Edward Reilly's family and friends have the peace of mind of knowing where their loved one lies, there is no answer to the question of how and when he died. For other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fate could be quite different.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, 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 were called upon to fight in many dangerous circumstances, and were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they proudly served.

On 27 August 1989, Edward Reilly was buried at the Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas