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STRINGER, JOHN CURTIS III
SYNOPSIS: On 30 November 1979, then 1st Lt. John C. Stringer III was the platoon leader for Company B, 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, on a combat mission in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.
1st Lt. Stringer's company was preparing to cross a river at Mai Loc, which flowed through dense jungle, about 15 miles east northeast of Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. A rope had been secured on both sides of the river with the help of a helicopter and John Stringer was the first one to attempt crossing it. As he reached mid-stream, he apparently lost his grip on the rope and was swept downstream in the swift current.
At one point, he was seen near the northern bank holding onto an overhanging branch. As rescuers approached him, the branch broke and 1st Lt. Stringer was seen being pulled under the water some distance downstream.
Searches on both banks of the stream were made by elements of the John Stringer's company, but they found no trace of him. Both aerial and ground searches were initiated the next morning and continued through 10 December. Again, there was no sign of the missing platoon leader. John C. Stringer III was listed Missing in Action.
The river Company D attempted to cross was quite muddy with jungle growth flourishing along both banks. Tree limbs and vines overhung the winding river's edge and the current flowed swiftly. Because no remains were found, there is a chance he could have surfaced out of sight of the rest of the patrol only to be captured by Communist forces known to be operating in the area.
Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document Live American Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Military men in Vietnam and Laos were called upon to fight in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.