MISSING IN ACTION

SP/4 RANDALL SHELLEY ELLIS

              

 

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HHC 1ST BN. 8TH CAV

FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION

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Upon my arrival to HHC 1st Bn. 8th Cav, I heard about a fellow medic who became missing after being wounded during a tactical operation with the 11th Armor Cav.  His name was Randall Shelley Ellis.  It was speculated by fellow medics that Ellis had either fallen asleep or passed out by the LZ and was taken prisoner before anyone realized that he was missing.  A few months later another medic was missing while his unit was working with the 11th Armor Cav.  He was later found.  He had gone to a hospital in an APC with a wounded solder from the 11 Armor Cav.  

It's not hard to have people come up missing in a combined operation involving armor and infantry when contact is made with the enemy.   The infantry rides on top of tanks and APCs, but when contact is made, the infantry will disembark from the armored vehicles and try to take a tactical position if possible.    The tanks and the APC's will do the fighting while grunts dodge the vehicles.   As you can imagine, grunts are scattered all over the battlefield attempting to take cover and dodging the armor vehicles while trying to engage the enemy.

The following information was obtained from Operation Just Cause who received the information from Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET.  Please check with  http://www.pownetwork.org/
regularly for updates.

                                                

Name:

Randall Shelley Ellis

Rank/Branch:     

E4/US Army

Unit: 

HHC, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division

Date of Birth:

14 June 1948

Home City of Record:

Charleston SC

Date of Loss:

18 April 1969

Country of Loss:

South Vietnam

Loss Coordinates: 

112323N 1061833E (XT428593)

Status (in 1973):   

Missing In Action

Category: 

2 (Suspected Enemy Knowledge)

Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground:

Ground

Other Personnel in Incident:

(none missing)

 

SYNOPSIS: On April 18, 1969, SP4 Ellis was serving as a medic for HHC, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry. His unit was on a combat mission in South Vietnam, operating in a tank infantry formation when one of the tanks was hit by a rocket propelled grenade (RPG), causing casualties. Ellis responded immediately, and as he climbed aboard the tank, sniper fire wounded him in the left hand. He was taken to a medivac landing zone to be taken to a medical aid station. He was seen by several different people at the LZ.

Whether Ellis ever boarded a medivac dustoff helicopter was never determined. No one ever saw him again. The area was cleared and searched twice that day and again the following day. A company-sized sweep was conducted but nothing was found. All medical facilities in the country and some out of the country were queried about SP4 Ellis, but no information regarding his fate was reported.

Ellis is among some 3000 Americans whose fate remained uncertain at the end of American involvement in Vietnam. Since 1975, that number has dwindled to around 2400 due to case resolution, and return and identification of remains.  Incredibly, when Vietnamese refugees began to flood the world, they brought with them stories of Americans still held in their country as prisoners of war. By 1989, the number of these reports had almost reached the number of 10,000. 

Families of the missing are taunted by reports that men are alive, captives of our long-ago enemy, while the U.S. seems unable to do what is necessary to bring these men home.

 

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Copyright 1998 - 2006 John D. Dennison

 

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All content on this website is intended solely for educational purposes and as a means to honor Veterans and their families

Copyright 1998 - 2007  John D. Dennison