PIETRZAK, JOSEPH RAY Remains returned 1994, ID 2004
Name: Joseph Ray Pietrzak Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Unit: Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division Date of Birth: 03 September 1944 (Dayton OH) Home City of Record: Roseville OH Date of Loss: 10 February 1971 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 162025N 1070647E (YD257076) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OH6A Refno: 1701
Source: Compiled 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 in 2005.
Other Personnel in Incident: Mark J. Robertson (missing)
SYNOPSIS: WO Mark J. Robertson, pilot, and Sgt. Joseph R. Pietrzak, observer, were flying aboard an OH6A helicopter on a visual reconnaissance mission in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam on February 10, 1972. The helicopter was hit by heavy 51 caliber machine gun fire in the power compartment and fuel section. It burst into flames and fell vertically and exploded on impact.
Other helicopters in the area immediately attempted to land and search the area for survivors, but the crewmen reported that enemy fire and deteriorating weather conditions prevented them from doing so. None of the crews conducting visual searches saw survivors or bodies around the blazing helicopter. Radio frequencies were monitored for a period after that, with no result. Enemy activity in the area prevented further search in the loss area near the Laos border.
It was concluded that Robertson and Pietrzak were dead, but their remains were never recovered, and their names are among those counted missing, prisoner, or unaccounted for from the Vietnam war.
Since 1975, nearly 10,000 refugee reports have been received by the U.S. Government relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia, convincing many authorities that hundreds remain alive today. Although Pietrzak and Robertson apparently are not among those said to be alive, one can imagine that they would gladly fly one more mission to help bring their comrades to freedom.
============== POW/MIA UPDATE: January 13, 2005 National League Of Families
POW/MIAs - VIETNAM WAR: There are now 1,842 Americans listed by the Defense Department as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War - 1,403 in Vietnam, 377 in Laos, 55 in Cambodia and 7 in PRC territorial waters. SGT Joseph Pietgzak, USA, from OH, was listed KIA/BNR February 10, 1971, in South Vietnam; his remains were jointly recovered June 7, 1994, and ID'd nearly a year ago, but the ID only recently released, likely due to family considerations. MSGT Kenneth Hanna and MSGT Charles Lindewald, both USA, were listed MIA February 7, 1968, both in South Vietnam; their remains were recovered jointly and repatriated January 15, 2004, and recently ID'd. Others have been ID'd, not yet announced by DPMO, perhaps due to delays in scheduling ID consultations with the primary-next-of-kin (PNOK). DPMO controls the announcements and tries to maintain the fiction that PNOK retain decision-making capability over acceptance of the ID - this is no longer true.