Name: Rodney Lynn Griffin Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Unit: HHC, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor, 25th Infantry Division Date of Birth: 01 August 1948 (Mexico MO) Home City of Record: Centralia MO Date of Loss: 02 May 1970 Country of Loss: Cambodia Loss Coordinates: 114512N 1060827E (XU243013) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H Other Personnel In Incident: Michael Varnado; Robert M. Young; Bunyan D. Price; Dale W. Richardson (all missing); Frederick H. Crowson; Daniel F. Maslowski (returned POWs); - Tommy Karreci (evaded and escaped) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Date Compiled: 01 January 1990 REMARKS: HELO FOUND, NO TRACE OF SUBJ SYNOPSIS: On May 2, 1970 a UH1H helicopter from Company B, 229th Aviation Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division flown by WO1 Michael B. Varnado was hit by ground fire and forced to land just over the border of South Vietnam near the city of Memot, Cambodia. The aircraft was transporting members of HHC, 34th Armor, 25th Infantry Division, SP4 Rodney L. Griffin; SP4 Bunyan D. Price, Jr.; WO1 Daniel F. Maslowski; Capt. Dale W. Richardson; and Capt. Robert M. Young. Also aboard were Tommy Karreci, SP4 Frederick H. Crowson, and CW2 Daniel F. Maslowski, crew members of the aircraft. The men were part of an attempt to stop North Vietnamese forces from gaining strongholds in Cambodia. President Nixon announced the request by Cambodia for American assistance on April 30. Had we not assisted, the North Vietnamese, in addition to having an effective sanctuary to which they could retreat without retaliation, would also have South Vietnam completely outflanked. The crew all survived the crash, and had only 30-40 seconds on the ground to decide what to do. They all attempted to evade, each in different directions. Only 18-year-old Karreci managed to make it back to U.S. lines in 2 or 3 days. Crowson, Maslowski, Varnado and Young went in one direction and were all captured by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces. Price, according to Defense Department records, was also captured. Griffin and Richardson took off in another direction and were never seen again. Crowson and Maslowski were released in 1973 and in their debriefings stated that WO1 Varnado and Capt. Young had died in captivity, while detained in Cambodia. The Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam (PRG) officially acknowledged their deaths, listing Varnado's death as 21 September 1970, and Young's death as 17 November 1972. According to Dan Maslowski, Bob Young died of illness in Dan's arms in the fall of 1972. Maslowski saw Varnado about two months after capture. "Vito" had been shot in the leg and in the side when he was captured, and according to Dan, "looked like hell". His side wound had healed, but the wound in his leg, in the kneecap, was badly infected. He could not walk, and told Maslowski that the Viet Cong had been transporting him in a hammock. The Viet Cong had told Varnado that he was to be taken to a hospital to have his leg taken care of. The Vietnamese state that he died two months after Dan saw him in camp (about 4 months after capture). On August 1, 1989, it was announced that the Vietnamese had "discovered" the remains of Michael Varnado, returned them to the U.S. His remains were positively identified, much to the relief of family and surviving comrades, and Michael Varnado could finally be buried with the honor he deserved. The remains identification did not contradict that Vietnamese' statement that Varnado died four months after capture. The fate of Price is uncertain. Maslowski always believed Price had been captured, but never saw him in camps he was held in. One report from escaped ARVN POWs stated that he was captured by the Khmer and because the ethnic groups normally did not cooperate, the Khmer would not likely have given Price over to the Vietnamese, who had captured the other four. Since 1973, nearly 10,000 reports have been given to the U.S. Government regarding Americans still missing in Southeast Asia. Some, according to U.S. State Department sources, have withstood the "closest scrutiny" possible, and cannot be disputed. There is very strong reason to believe that Americans are still held captive in Southeast Asia today, yet President after President has failed to would bring them home. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep pushing this issue inside the Beltway... The need to get specific answers is more important now than ever before. If still alive, some MIAs are now in their 70s...They don't have much time left. We have to demand the answers from the bureaucrats and keep standing on their necks (figuratively speaking) until they get the message that THEY work for US and that we are serious about getting these long overdue responses. Diplomatic considerations aside... We can no longer allow questionable protocols established by pseudo-aristocratic armchair strategists, to determine or influence the fate of the men who were in the trenches while the diplomats were sharing sherry and canapes and talking about "Their Plans" for the future of SE Asia. If you'd like to see what some others are doing in addition to writing their congressmen, senators and the Whitehouse, check out some of these sites: http://hawk.nji.com/~mred/mialist.htm Another remarkable site is by an 11 year old angel who never even set foot on American soil...She not only put up a page...she started a major project for an organization of Kids on the Net called KeyPals International. Her MIA page is at [http://www.geocities.com/~angelicdevil/mia.html] but don't miss her Bring Grandpa Home page at [http://www.worldkids.net/clubs/kci/projects/Bring.html]. If you come away from that site without a lump in your throat, then you just weren't paying attention. A big thanks to GUNNY for supplying the info. A bigger thanks to the Kansas Chapters of the VNV MC for taking me in as part of their family when I had none. A big cyber hug and a gracious Thank You to PETE and CHARLIE and MOE (who I think moved from Kansas)and ROSEBUD(sorry bout that title)and REBEL (I finally took your advice and example and I quit drinking and druggin)and all the other brothers and sisters that took me in as their own. A big hello and Thank You to my favorite Chaplin at Ma's Lounge, Oh Yeah, I mean The Rustic Pub.I can not forget Paula whom I hope is doing well. Love You All.
IN MEMORY OF CAVEMAN
Whom I hear went down on his scoot.
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