Name: Edward Jay Rykoskey 
Rank/Branch: Lance Corporal/US Marine Corps 
Unit: Company C,
3rd Reconnaissance Battalion,
3rd Marine Division 
DaNang, South Vietnam 
Date of Birth: 11 May 1946 (Carlisle, PA)
Home of Record: Carlisle, PA
Date of Loss: 18 August 1966 
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 160338N 1081218E (AT819613) 
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered 
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) 


SYNOPSIS:  Because the war in Vietnam lacked a defined front line, the enemy strategy made Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP) a needed tool to gather intelligence about communist activities throughout Southeast Asia. The ground commanders who fought the day to day war readily recognized the need for special reconnaissance units at the onset of the fighting. During 1965 provisional LRRP units were formed with all assets they could spare.

On 18 August 1966, with nine months of service in Vietnam, LCpl. Edward Rykoskey was considered to be a well-trained and experienced "old hand." On that date he was assigned as the radio operator of a 4-man long range reconnaissance patrol. The team's mission was to locate, identify and report on enemy activity in the forested mountains approximately 9 miles due north of An Hoa and 11 miles southwest of DaNang, Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam.

After completing its mission, the team was moving toward a pre-briefed rendezvous point for pickup when they were ambushed by a Viet Cong (VC) force of unknown size. During the ensuing firefight, LCpl. Rykoskey was struck by small arms fire and fell to the ground. Other team members tried to reach him, but because of the intense enemy fire, they were unable to do so before being forced to withdraw.

The three remaining team members successfully escaped and evaded to a safe location where they were extracted by helicopter. Later they reported that when they were forced to retreat, Edward Rykoskey had been wounded and was either unconscious or dead. Further, they were unable to determine the extent or location of his wounds.

Search and rescue (SAR) efforts commenced immediately for the LCpl. Rykoskey. They continued for approximately four days, but were unable to find any trace of the missing radio operator or his equipment in and around the ambush site. At the time the formal SAR was terminated, Edward Rykoskey was immediately classified Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. Shortly thereafter, his status was changed to Missing in Action. Then it was changed again, within a reasonably short period of time, back to Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. All of these changes were made without explanation.

Whether Edward Rykoskey was alive and captured by the Viet Cong, or died in their hands in the jungle-covered countryside of South Vietnam is not known. If he did die of his wounds, he has a right to have his remains returned to his family and friends. However, if he survived, his fate like other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different. Either way what is known for certain is that the communists know what happened to him and could return him or his remains any time they had the desire to.

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 in Vietnam were called upon to 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.