REID, HAROLD ERICH
Remains Identified 03/27/99
Name: Harold Erich Reid
Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/E3
Unit: I/3/7 1 MAR DIV
Date of Birth: 27 December 1946
Home City of Record: SALT LAKE CITY UT
Date of Loss: 13 September 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 155330 North 1080800 East
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File. Updated in 1999.
No further information available at this time.
The Salt Lake Tribune Front Page
Saturday, March 27, 1999
Vietnam Soldier's Remains Are Coming Home
BY BRANDON LOOMIS
THE SALT LAKE
TRIBUNE The remains of Clark Allred's
brother, Harold Reid, will be flown
home from Vietnam next week.
Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune
After three decades in anonymous Vietnamese graves, a Marine's remains are
coming home to a hero's burial in Utah next week.
Harold E. Reid of Salt Lake City turned up missing in action from his post
guarding a bridge in Vietnam on Sept. 13, 1967. Military investigators
determined last November he was killed in a firefight with guerrillas, and a
DNA match with his brother and mother proved that bones and bone fragments
unearthed last year belonged to Reid.
"He's finally coming home," said Clark Allred, Reid's brother who was 4
years old when the 20-year-old soldier died. Allred has just two visions of
his brother: playing with him and sending him off in a military vehicle.
"It's been really emotional. Exciting. Good emotions, but a lot of tears,"
Allred said, recounting the family's ordeal in the three months since
learning Reid's fate.
Allred will travel to Hawaii on Sunday to retrieve his brother's remains. A
military and civilian funeral is planned at Taylorsville Cemetery, 4500 S.
Redwood Road, on April 3 at 11 a.m. Marines from various units in the Salt
Lake City area will supply an honor guard and 21-gun salute. Salt Lake
County sheriff's deputies will provide a motorcycle escort.
John Gundersen, a former schoolmate of Reid at Salt Lake City's old South
High School, is one mourner with a reason to look forward to the funeral.
Gundersen also served in Vietnam and, after returning home, wore a bracelet
supporting those listed as missing in action. By chance, the bracelet he was
assigned bore Harold Reid's name, though Gundersen did not immediately
connect it to his old schoolmate. He had known Reid by his nickname, "Ari."
"I want to give his mother or brother the bracelet," said Gundersen, who was
awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded by mortar shrapnel. He noted that
Reid had signed his yearbook: "I hope our paths cross again someday."
The Marine Corps' Casualty Branch and an MIA investigative team from the
Defense Department interviewed villagers who knew of Reid's death near the
Thu Bon River in the former South Vietnam. A Marine report of the
investigation last November noted Americans last saw Reid when he was
relieved of duty and said he was crossing the river to visit a friend
An informant claimed to have wrapped an American Marine in a parachute and
buried him after he was killed by Vietnamese guerrillas.
That informant and others from the area said villagers exhumed the body and
moved it to a makeshift cemetery about five years later, though no one could
say where that is.
The remains that are returning to Utah come from the primary burial site
near the Thu Bon River, and Allred said the 42 bones and fragments are
mostly from his brother's arms.
Once military officials were somewhat confident of Reid's identity, they
contacted his family to ask for DNA samples. Allred and his mother, Anna
Matern, gave blood samples, and the results matched.
Efforts to reach Matern on Friday were unsuccessful. But Allred said his
mother is glad to be finished with a long "emotional ride" during which she
suspected her son was dead, but did not know for sure.
"She went through 30 years of not knowing what happened to her kid," he
said. "I always wondered if he was alive or if he was suffering or if he was
in a [prisoner of war] camp."
Allred said he was honored when the Marines offered to bring him to Hawaii
to transport the remains to Utah. "It gives me the opportunity to be with
him again, to be a part of something with him."
Sunday, April 4, 1999
Family, Friends Gather for Final Farewell to Returned Utahn
BY DAN HARRIE
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
TAYLORSVILLE -- More than 200 family members, friends and military
veterans paid final tribute Saturday to Harold E. Reid, a Marine from Salt
Lake City whose partial remains were identified and returned home more than
31 years after he was missing in action in Vietnam.
Taylorsville Cemetery was lined with hundreds of American flags as
Reid's remains were interred following a graveside ceremony complete with a
Marine honor guard and 21-gun salute.
Family members bundled against a biting cold as they spoke of the
emotional closure now possible.
"Forever, I was hoping for at least just one bone. And then when they
told me that there would be 44 bones, I thought, `How blessed I am,' " said
Reid's mother, Anna Matern.
Reid was 20 years old when he disappeared Sept. 13, 1967. Military
investigators last November discovered his partial remains and positively
identified them with a DNA match.
He was apparently killed in a firefight with guerrillas.
Matern, a young granddaughter tucked under each arm, expressed her hopes
for families with soldiers still missing.
"I want these dear people whose sons and brothers have not come home ...
to know that my heart, my prayers go out to you," she said. "I ache for you.
I cry for you. And I plead with all my heart that you may have some kind of
a closure; that you may be blessed as I am."
Matern said she had a premonition since the time Harold was a little boy
that he would die as a young man. That foreknowledge made his death no
The bereaved mother made reference to the current fighting in Kosovo,
and her hope for an end to all wars.
"What I wish with all my heart is that there was a brotherhood
throughout the whole world that all this horror stops; this killing," Matern
said, her voice breaking.
Ruthann Stephens, of Sandy, described her older brother as "the kind of
person everybody would want to get to know and hold onto. He was a hellion,
She recounted how she stole one of Harold's favorite shirts as he was
packing to leave for Vietnam, and donned it as soon as he departed the
house. But her brother unexpectedly returned a few minutes later.
Instead of being angered, Stephens recalled, "He just said, `It looks
nice on you. Go ahead, and you can have it.'
"He was the big brother every sister wanted," she said.
In addition to family members, tributes were delivered by Taylorsville
Mayor Janice Auger, the Former Vietnam Political Prisoners Association of
Utah and various veterans organizations, including a group of
motorcycle-riding veterans that trailed the Salt Lake County Sheriff's
The Marine honor guard included pallbearers, a bugler and the firing
detail of seven riflemen, each discharging his weapon three times.
Immediately following the 21-gun salute, the funeral ended with two
white-gloved Marines folding the American flag that had draped the casket
and presenting it to Reid's mother.
As is the Marine tradition, three highly polished brass rounds were
tucked inside the triangular flag parcel.
"To us, they stand for honor, courage and commitment," said Maj. Patrick
Kline, who led the Marine contingent.
15 Utah Men Still Unaccounted For
Fifteen Utah servicemen still are listed as missing in action from the
war in Southeast Asia, according the Utah Office of Veterans Affairs. They
Ralph Jim Chipman, Orem
John Michael Christensen, Ogden
Charles Richard Connor, Salt Lake City
Raymond Jack Crow Jr, Salt Lake City
John Cooley Ellison, Layton
Russell Clemensen Goodman, Salt Lake City
George Lawrence Hubler, Moab
Clive Garth Jeffs, Salt Lake City
Robert Earl Jenne, Salt Lake City
Peter Herman Krusi, Smithfield
James Francis Schiele, West Valley City
Imlay Scott Widdison, Woods Cross
Robert Charles Wiechert, West Jordan
Don Charles Wood, Provo
Robert Francis Woods, Salt Lake City
MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS April 16, 1999
The remains of six American servicemen previously unaccounted-for from
the war in Southeast Asia have been identified and are being returned to
their families for burial in the United States.
They are identified as Air Force Capt. Dean A. Wadsworth,
Clarendon, Texas; Marine SSgt. Harold E. Reid, Salt Lake City,
Utah; Navy Lt. David L. Hodges, Chevy Chase, Md.; Air Force Lt.
Col. Lewis M. Robinson, Saginaw, Mich.; Air Force Capt. Douglas
K. Martin, Tyler, Texas; and Air Force Capt. Samuel L. James,
On Oct. 8, 1963, Wadsworth and his South Vietnamese crewman were
flying their T-28B Trojan on a combat support mission approximately 50
miles southwest of Da Nang, South Vietnam. As he completed his bombing
run over the target, his aircraft broke apart in mid air, crashed and
exploded, as reported by another pilot on the mission. A massive search
and rescue operation was initiated that day by two Marine helicopters
but they disappeared during the mission. At dawn on the following day,
Marine heli copters airlifted two companies of South Vietnamese
infantrymen to the area of the downed aircraft. As the helicopters
landed, enemy troops fired on them, wounding three Marine crewmen and
killing a Vietnamese soldier.
Two T-28s, B-26s and a South Vietnamese A-1 aircraft responded
by strafing enemy positions. An American L-19 light observation
aircraft directing the strike was hit, the Vietnamese observer was
wounded, and the aircraft made a forced landing. Meanwhile, the
Vietnamese ground troops found both Marine helicopters that had
disappeared on the first day. Ten bodies were recovered, but two remain
missing in action to this day. In the days during the search and rescue
operations, 207 missions were flow n, three aircraft were lost and four
others damaged. Fifteen South Vietnamese soldiers were killed and seven
In late 1993, a Vietnamese local turned over remains he said
were recovered near the crash site. In May of the following year, a
joint U.S./Vietnamese team, led by the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting,
visited the area of the crash, interviewed villagers and obtained some
aircraft debris and pilot-related equipment. In September, another
joint team examined the crash site and found more debris, but no
remains. Then in May 1995, another team excavated the site where they
found remains, as well as two identification tags of Wadsworth.
On Sept. 13, 1967, Reid completed his tour guarding an
observation post near a river in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam.
Before dawn, he crossed the bridge to visit a friend on the south side
of the river. He was never seen again. A joint U.S./Vietnamese team in
August 1993 interviewed local informants who claimed to have buried an
American Marine who had been shot by the Vietcong near the river. The
informants stated that the body had been moved and re-buried at another
location, but the team could not locate it. In September 1995, another
team interviewed other informants, but obtained little information.
Then in April 1996, a third team excavated the reported burial site
about 1,000 meters from the southern end of the bridge where they found
remains as well as material evidence and personal equipment.
On Oct. 7, 1967, Hodges was leading a strike mission near Hanoi,
North Vietnam when his A-4E Skyhawk was struck by an enemy
surface-to-air missile. His wingman reported receiving a radio
transmission from the lieutenant that his engine had flamed out. As the
wingman watched, Hodges' burning aircraft rolled to the right, entered a
steep dive, and crashed. No parachute was sighted and no emergency
beeper signals were heard. Because of enemy control of the area, there
was no search and rescue missi on mounted.
Acting on information obtained from Vietnamese wartime documents, a
joint U.S./Vietnamese team interviewed villagers in July 1995 who
claimed to have visited the site shortly after the crash and buried the
pilot. But the crash crater had been filled with dirt to allow farming,
so the team found no evidence of a crash. But the following April,
another team mounted an excavation at the site where they did recover
remains, a wristwatch fragment, pilot-related items and aircraft
wreckage. Later, in S eptember 1996, a third team continued the
excavation and found additional remains among the wreckage.
Robinson was flying his A-1E Skyraider on a close air support mission
over Saravane Province, Laos, on June 4, 1967, when he was struck by
enemy ground fire. His aircraft pitched up abruptly, struck the wing of
another aircraft, went into an inverted spin and crashed amid an
explosion. None of the other pilots in the flight reported seeing a
parachute nor hearing emergency beeper signals. Hostile threats in the
area prevented air or ground searches of the crash site.
In early 1988, representatives of the Laotian government turned over
remains to the U. S. Joint Casualty Resolution Center, the unit leading
joint recovery operations in Southeast Asia at the time. A joint
U.S./Lao team traveled to the area of the crash site in November 1993,
interviewed villagers, surveyed the area and recovered skeletal
fragments, aircraft wreckage and pilot-related equipment. Then in
January 1998, a second joint team excavated the site and recovered more
remains and personal eq uipment.
Martin and James were flying a forward air control mission over Cambodia
on April 18, 1973, when they descended below a 6,000-foot layer of haze
in their F-4E Phantom. They radioed they had the target in sight, but
their wingman was unable to maintain visual contact. He asked Martin
and James to give him an automatic direction-finder signal but there was
no response. On several passes over the target, the wingman noted fires
and explosions near the target area. There were no parachutes sighted,
nor emergency beeper signals. Enemy activity in the area prevented a
ground search, but aerial reconnaissance the following day noted
aircraft debris at the site.
In 1993, 1995 and 1997, three joint U.S./Cambodian teams developed leads
through interviews with local villagers and surveys of the crash site.
The informants noted that the crash site had been heavily scavenged and
that remains had been present at one time. Then in January 1998, a
joint team excavated the site where they found remains amid numerous
pieces of aircraft wreckage. Anthropological analysis of the remains and
other evidence by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory,
Hawaii confirmed the identification of all six of these servicemen.
With the accounting of these six, there are now 2,063 Americans
unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. Since the release of American
POWs in 1973, 520 MIAs from Southeast Asia have been accounted-for and
returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of
the governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Lao People's
Democratic Republic, and the Kingdom of Cambodia that resulted in the
accounting of these servicemen. We hope that such cooperation will
bring increased results in the future. Achieving the fullest possible
accounting for these Americans is of the highest national priority.
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