|Rank/Branch:||Specialist 4th Class/US Army|
1st Battalion, 44th Artillery,
1st Field Force, Vietnam
Dong Ha, South Vietnam
|Date of Birth:||17 February 1946 (Jackson, MI)|
|Home of Record:||Lancing, MI|
|Date of Loss:||21 February 1967|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
Click coordinates to view (4) maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing in Action|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||(none missing)|
SYNOPSIS: On the evening of 21 February 1967, SP4 Arthur Wright, Pvt. Rypkemo and Pvt. Jackson were assigned guard duty at a listening post located on the south side of the American combat base at Dong Ha, Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.
The listening post was positioned on the edge of a forested area near Dai An Gate approximately 1 mile SSW of Dong Ha Airfield, the same distance SSW of Dong Ha City, 2 miles west of Highway 1 and the single-track railroad line that paralleled it, 7 miles northwest of Quang Tri City and 13 miles south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separated North and South Vietnam.
At 2200 hours, SP4 Wright told Pvt. Rypkemo and Pvt. Jackson that he was going to check the perimeter wire. He added that if he had not returned by midnight, to report the situation to the Battery A orderly room. He proceeded to Track Position #4, which was manned by members of Battery B, 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery. After confirming that everything was secure at that position, Arthur Wright informed them of his plans to check the perimeter and added for them not to shoot while he was doing so.
At 2230 hours, all soldiers manning the listening post and the track position observed a trip flare go off. They also saw SP4 Wright going through the perimeter wire carrying his M14 rifle and a cartridge belt with roughly 9 ammo magazines attached to it. When Arthur Wright did not return to the listening post by 2400 hours, Pvt. Rypkemo and Pvt. Jackson contacted Batter A's orderly room and notified the duty officer of the situation.
At first light a search of the perimeter and surrounding area was conducted by search and rescue (SAR) personnel, but they found no trace of Arthur Wright or his equipment. Under the somewhat unusual circumstances surrounding his disappearance, all members of SP4 Wright's unit were interviewed in an attempt to determine if there was another explanation for his loss. On 22 February, Cpl. Anderson stated that Arthur Wright told him that if he "did not return the following day, that he could have all of his belongings." While curious, Army officials put no special importance in Cpl. Anderson's information. At the time the search effort was terminated, Arthur Wright was declared Missing in Action.
If Arthur Wright died as a result of his loss incident, he has a right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. However, if he survived, he most certainly could have been captured by enemy forces known to be operating in the region and 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 American Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
American 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