|Name:||Ronald James Schultz|
|Rank/Branch:||Sergeant First Class/US Army|
101st Airborne Division
|Date of Birth:||27 May 1948|
|Home of Record:||Hillsboro, KS|
|Date of Loss:||21 July 1970|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing in Action|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||(none missing)|
SYNOPSIS: On 21 July 1970, then PFC Ronald J. Schultz was a medical specialist assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company; 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. His unit was operating in the infamous A Shau Valley, Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam.
PFC Schultz's company moved through the A Shau Valley searching for signs of enemy activity when it came under heavy and accurate mortar, rocket and automatic weapons fire. Several soldiers were hit in the initial burst of fire and others fell as the firefight progressed. Ronald Schultz was also slightly wounded as he moved from man to man treating the their wounds. Because of the number of wounded, medivac helicopters were called in. During a lull in the fighting, a landing zone was secured and the wounded moved nearby in preparation for their extraction. This included PFC Schultz who was scheduled to be evacuated from the A Shau Valley along with the others.
The medivac aircraft landed on the LZ without incident. However, as the wounded were being loaded aboard the clearly marked medivac helicopters, the aircraft came under enemy fire forcing the pilots to cut their time on the ground short. The medivac helicopter PFC Schultz was in the process of boarding came under intense ground fire and the pilot was forced to lift off after loading only one soldier. According to other members of his company, Ronald Schultz panicked and grabbed hold of one of the skids as it moved past him.
The helicopter lifted to an altitude of approximately 400 feet above the ground and only about 100 feet above the roof of the jungle canopy as it headed north. When the aircraft was approximately 9 miles due north of the A Shau Valley, it banked to the left and in so doing, the medic lost his grip on the skid and fell into the thick jungle below. The area of loss was also roughly 11 miles northeast of the South Vietnamese/Lao border and 21 miles west of Hue.
The aircrews of the escort gunships watched in horror as Ronald Schultz disappeared from sight. They flew over the jungle canopy where the gunship pilots saw him fall, but they were unable to locate any trace of PFC Schultz in the dense foliage below. Unfortunately, because of the heavy communist presence in the area, no ground search for the missing soldier was possible.
After reviewing all the facts, the US Army believed that there was an excellent chance that even though Ronald Schultz was lost over extremely rugged mountains, the thickness of the triple canopy jungle in the area he fell into would have cushioned his fall sufficiently for him to survive it. They also believed that if he survived the fall, he most certainly would have been captured because this entire area was known to be under total enemy control. At the time the escort gunship aircrews terminated their search, Ronald J. Schultz was 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.
American military men in Vietnam were call 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.