By Bob Anderson
(This story is a reprint from the book Sarge, What Now?)
A long time ago, a kid left Livonia, Michigan. He went to war. He was probably a lot like me I guess, although I never met him but he has been a part of my life daily since 1975.
In 1975, I was stationed at Clark AB, when the last Americans and a host of Vietnamese left Viet Nam. Clark had been the reception point for the returning POWs. One of my brother Cops had the wonderful opportunity to give his to the person named on the bracelet.
Most everyone was wearing POW/MIA bracelets at Clark in ’75. My guy’s name was Spec. Craig M. Dix.
The date was simply 3/17/71. Over the years, my body chemistry ate the bracelet. I had one made out of stainless steel.
Eventually the day-to-day wear resulted in so many scratches the name was unreadable. Over the years I had 3 or 4 made. When I got to go to the Wall the first time, it was in 1996, I left the bracelet at the wall for Craig. There I found out he was listed KIA and he was from Livonia, Michigan.
After about six weeks, I could not take it any longer. I felt naked without the bracelet. I contacted a Veterans group and asked specifically about him.
When the new bracelet arrived, I found he had been promoted from Specialist to Staff Sergeant. I never knew Craig. I finally saw a picture of him. I have never met any of his family or friends.
Should any of you that knew him read this book, know that someone else somewhere else remembers your son, your brother, your friend, your loved one.
He is damn sure not forgotten!
The information below is provided with permission to print from
Craig Mitchell Dix
128TH AHC, 11TH AVN BN, 12TH AVN GRP, 1 AVN BDE
Army of the United States
05 December 1949 – 27 October 1978
Panel 04W Line 054
In the aftermath of Operation Lam Son 719 (Feb 1971), combat operations were conducted in areas of Cambodia adjacent to the South Vietnamese border. Like Lam Son, air transport and cover were provided by U.S. forces, while SVN Army forces conducted the ground operations.
On 17 March 1971, a combat assault was conducted northwest of the village of Snoul, in Kratie Province, Cambodia. During the assault, a UH-1H HUEY (hull number 69-15664) of the 128th AHC, 11th CAB, was hit while departing the landing zone and crashed just north of the LZ. The crew consisted of
• WO1 James H. Hestand, pilot
• CW3 Richard Lee Bauman, copilot
• SSG Craig Mitchell Dix, crew chief
• SSG Bobby Glenn Harris, gunner
Sergeant Harris was thrown from the helicopter before impact and the other three men managed to exit the downed aircraft and attempted to evade the enemy troops.
Shortly afterwards a second helicopter, this one an AH-1G COBRA gunship (hull number 69-17935) from A Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, was struck by ground fire and crashed into the jungle less than a mile west of the Huey’s crash site. The COBRA crew consisted of Captain David P. Schweitzer, pilot, and 1LT Lawrence E. Lilly, co-pilot.
SAR forces managed to extract CPT Schweitzer but were forced to depart the area before Lilly could be extracted. When friendly ground forces reached the crash site, Lilly was found to be dead but his body could not be recovered (Note: his remains have never been repatriated).
At this point, one man – Lilly – was known to be dead; Schweitzer had been picked up; and the four men from the HUEY (Hestand, Dix, Harris, and Bauman) were on the ground amidst enemy troops. These four men were not rescued. Since there was no convincing evidence of their death they were placed in MIA status.
James Hestand was captured later that day and remained a POW until release on 12 February 1973 during Operation Homecoming. During his debrief he reported that Craig Dix had been shot in the right ankle as he evaded approaching VC troops.
He added that SP4 Dix was ambulatory and still evading at the time of his own capture. Hestand stated that when he last saw CW2 Bauman, Bauman was alive, in good condition, and was with SP4 Dix. Finally, he stated that he saw the body of Bobby Harris outside the aircraft after the crash and believed that Harris was dead. Even so, Harris was maintained in MIA status until 1979.
While there were conflicting intelligence reports regarding the number of Americans captured and their status, two facts remain: Both Dix and Bauman were alive and mobile when last seen, and neither one has been seen since.
On 27 October 1978 the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death (PFOD) for now-Staff Sergeant Craig Dix. PFODs for Bauman and Harris were approved on 08 Jan and 16 April 1979 respectively.
May this tribute honor all who made the ultimate sacrifice for our continued freedom and liberty.
Bob, Sharon and Pam