Today, Friday, 9/15/2023 National POW-MIA Recognition Day.

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My comments from another post:

When I was a young Lance Corporal, I bought a POW/MIA bracelet at the flea market (there is a Home Depot there now) in Jacksonville, NC. I picked a name whose rank was the same as mine and who went missing in Vietnam about the time I was born.

I wore his bracelet all the time at first. In the field, in garrison, at PT, and on liberty. As the years passed, I wore it less frequently. Mostly at special occasions; POW/MIA day, USMC B-day, reenlistments, promotions. The bracelet is scratched up and a little worn, but you can still make out the name and other information. When I retired, his bracelet was placed with all my old rank insignia, shooting badges, and service insignia into a small wooden box where my father had kept his medals from WWII and his father's medals from WWI.

His name is Kurt E. LaPlant. His remains were recently recovered and identified.

I'm thinking of trying to locate his next of kin and returning the bracelet. That, or I may place it at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial or with the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico.

Semper Fidelis Kurt!

I was able to locate Kurt's sister and spoke to her on the phone for a few minutes.

She told me that the family had received a few of his POW/MIA bracelets.

She provided me with her address so that I could send her my bracelet.

She mentioned that she would bring them all to Arlington where her brother was going to be buried.

Here are some details from the dreadful day he died:

On 6 June 1968, LCpl. Kurt La Plant, was part of a thirteen man patrol operating in the rugged jungle covered mountains southwest of Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. Their mission was to block NVA troops and supplies from infiltrating toward Khe Sanh. The Marines engaged a communist force of unknown size in heavy combat. As the fierce firefight raged around them, the Marines, who were out numbered and rapidly running low on ammunition, requested an emergency extraction.

The onsite Forward Air Controller, call sign "Fingerprint 22," directing all air operations in the region including air support for ground troops, made a radio call requesting any helicopter in the Khe Sanh area to come up on guard channel, the emergency radio frequency. The aircrew that responded to the FAC's transmission was a Marine Corps CH46A Sea Knight (serial #151940), call sign "Chicken Man 22." Its aircrew was assigned to HMM-165, a Marine helicopter squadron that was part of a flight that had been providing air support for other ground troops.

Chicken Man 22 descended under fire to the Marine's position near LZ Loon. Rapidly some 13 Marines scrambled on board and the Sea Knight lifted off. As it gained altitude, the helicopter was immediately struck by intense and accurate enemy ground fire causing it to enter into a nose-low attitude and crash onto an east/west mountain ridgeline, roll down to the bottom of the hill and burst into flames.

Within an hour and a half, a search and recovery team was inserted into the crash site. The team members pulled the charred bodies of the aircrew and passengers from what was left of the burned out helicopter and placed them in body bags. In addition to recovering the remains of the aircrew, the SAR team was able to find and extract eight of the other Marines.

Without specialized equipment, the recovery team was unable to extract the bodies of five of the passengers before they withdrew the site. At the time the recovery operation was terminated, LCpl. Kurt La Plant and four others were reported as Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.
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