Rocky Mount, NC

Name: William Darrell Johnson
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Co B, 3rd Bn, 12th Infantry, Fourth Infantry Division, 4th Platoon.
Date of Birth: 24 December 1946 (Sanford NC)
Home City of Record: Rocky Mount NC
Date of Loss: 19 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 144324N 1074020E (YB876293)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0997
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1999.


SYNOPSIS: The last time anyone saw PFC Darrell Johnson was on January 19, 1968, in the tri-border area of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. He was about 10 miles west of Dak To in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. His company-sized group was ambushed by North Vietnamese regulars and nearly overrun. During the withdrawal, Darrell's platoon was assigned cover.

While working their way back to their firebase, Darrell, as a pointman, went into a ravine to investigate an English-speaking voice and never returned. Five other members of his platoon also disappeared during the withdrawal. A subsequent search of the battle area turned up the bodies of five men, but no trace of Darrell was found. Nothing has been heard from him since that day. He was not among the 591 Americans released from Vietnam in 1973, although there is reason to believe the Vietnamese know his fate. Examination of intelligence reports indicate that there was more than one prison "system" in Vietnam. Those prisoners who were released were maintained in the same systems. If Johnson was captured and kept in another system, the POWs who returned did not know it.

Now, over 20 years later, men like Johnson are all but forgotten except by friends, family and fellow veterans. The U.S. "priority" placed on determining their fates pales in comparison to the results it has achieved. Since Johnson went missing, over 10,000 reports have been received by the U.S. that Americans are still being held captive in Southeast Asia. Whether Johnson is among them is not known. What is certain, however, is that we, as a nation, are guilty of the abandonment of nearly 2500 of our best and most courageous men. We cannot forget, and must do everything in our power to bring these men home.

[ssrep6.txt 02/09/93]
[NOTE DATE DISCREPENCY! on loss -- all other records indicate January 19, 1968]

South Vietnam
William D. Johnson
On August 19, 1968, Private First Class Johnson was a rifleman from the 4th Infantry Division on a search and destroy mission with his unit in the mountainous central highlands area of Sa Thay District, Kontum Province. His unit encountered hostile forces and six men were declared missing; four were last seen at the initial point of contact, one of whom was PFC Johnson. PFC Johnson was reported alive after the hostile fire had stopped.

The partially decomposing bodies of five of the six missing soldiers were later located. Their remains showed major destructive injuries associated with fragmentation munitions. PFC Johnson was not located with the others. Returning U.S. POWs had no information on his eventual fate. In March 1979, he was declared killed in action/body not recovered based on a presumptive finding of death. In 1974, DIA received a report of a possible collaborator seen in coastal Quang Ngai Province. The American was reportedly captured from a truck convoy, and two others with him had escaped. While not correlated to PFC Johnson, a copy of the report was placed in his file for unknown reasons.

From - Wed Jun 23 19:43:55 1999

I recently attended a reunion of Company B, 3rd Bn, 12th Infantry, Fourth Division in Savannah Ga the last weekend in May. William Darrel Johnson was a member of Co B, 3rd Bn, 12th Infantry, Fourth Infantry Division. He was a member of the 4th Platoon. This was confirmed by our former Company Commander, Robert Morton and medic John Sommer. Mr Sommer is now Executive Dir. of the Washington DC office of the American Legion. It is my wish we could bring this brave Soldier home.
Ron Cunningham

Source: POW Network