Thursday, October 6, 2011

Four Missing Soldiers Identified

Master Sgt. Charles V. Newton of Canadian, Texas; Sgt. 1st Class Douglas E. Dahill of Lima, Ohio; and Sgt. 1st Class Charles F. Prevedel of St. Louis, Mo., all U.S. Army, were buried as a group on October 5 at Arlington National Cemetery. Newton was also individually identified and was interred individually at Arlington on the same day as the group interment. On April 17, 1969, the men and three Vietnamese soldiers were on a long-range reconnaissance patrol operating in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, near the border of Laos. That afternoon the patrol was ambushed by enemy forces and radioed for air support but thunderstorms in the area prevented rescue attempts. Search and rescue teams reached the site the next day but over the next week found no signs of the men.

Between 1990 and 1993,joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed witnesses, investigated leads and excavated the site associated with the ambush. The teams recovered human remains, personal effects and military equipment. In 2003, some of the recovered remains were identified as those of Prevedel. In 2006 and 2007, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams returned to the site and recovered additional remains and military equipment.

Army Cpl. Edward M. Pedregon of El Paso, Texas, will be buried on October 6 in Arlington National Cemetery. A memorial service was held in San Elizario, Texas, on October 1. In late November 1950 Pedregon and the Heavy Mortar Company of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, known as Task Force Faith, were overrun by Chinese forces near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. After several days of heavy attacks Task Force Faith was forced to withdraw, but was stopped by enemy blockades that overpowered them on December 2, 1950. Pedregon was reported missing in action on November 30, 1950.

In 1953, following the exchange of all prisoners of war by both sides of the conflict, no further information was gained to indicate that Pedregon had been held as a prisoner of war, and he was declared dead.

In 2004, a joint U.S./Korean People's Army team excavated several sites in the Chosin Reservoir area and recovered the remains of at least nine individuals and military equipment. The location of the remains corresponds to the positions temporarily held by elements of Task Force Faith in late November 1950.