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"A Man Is Not Dead Until He Is Forgotten"  

 

 

Daniel Russell Nidds

 


Rank/Branch: E3/US Army

Unit: Company B, 3rd Battalion, 82nd Artillery, 196th Light Infantry Brigade

Date of Birth: 23 August 1948 (Brooklyn NY)

Home City of Record: West Islip NY

Loss Date: 21 April 1967

Country of Loss: South Vietnam

Loss Coordinates: 152118N 1084704E (BS622987)

Status (in 1973): Missing In Action

1973Category: 2

Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Sampan

Other Personnel In Incident: Paul A. Hasenback; David M. Winters; Thomas A.Mangino; (all missing)

DISAPPEARED ON SAMPAN

 

 

Daniel Nidds wanted to be a soldier all his life. He knew every battle America had ever fought. When he was 17, he enlisted in the Army. His unit was sent to Vietnam, but he had to wait until he was 18 to join them.

On April 21, 1967, after Nidds had been in Vietnam about 7 months, PFC Nidds, SP4 Thomas A. Mangino, squad leader; PFC Paul Hasenback, and PFC David M. Winters, riflemen; were returning from a combat patrol in the second of two sampans 100 meters apart near Chu Lai, Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam.

Just before arriving at their destination, a Vietnamese civilian was seen moving in his sampan toward the sampan carrying SP4 Mangino's squad. Another sampan with 3 Vietnamese women was moving toward the first sampan, in which the platoon leader rode. The first sampan started to leak, so proceeded faster around and headed toward the beach. The Vietnamese women were still following the first sampan. The distance between the two sampans carrying the Americans was 200-250 meters.

The last time the platoon leader saw Mangino's sampan, the Vietnamese civilian was talking with SP4 Mangino's squad. The platoon leader's sampan arrived at the beach 45 minutes later, and waited 20 minutes, then reported to the command post that Mangino's sampan had not yet arrived.

 

Two hours after the platoon leader's sampan beached, SP4 Mangino's sampan had still not arrived, so search efforts were begun. Two platoons searched the area, and a helicopter searched from the air using a loud speaker. All efforts were unsuccessful in locating Mangino and his squad.

Navy divers searched the river area without success. All aboard Mangino's sampan knew how to swim. The Army strongly suspects that the enemy knows what happened to Mangino and his squad.

Although returned POWs did not report having seen the men lost on the sampan, a refugee as having been a prisoner of war identified Nidd's photo. The circumstances surrounding their loss indicate the strong possibility, at least, that the enemy forces knew their fates.

Mangino and his squad are among nearly 2500 in Southeast Asia who did not return from the war. Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of these men can be accounted for. Further, and even more significant, mounting evidence indicates that there are hundreds of them in captivity 

Until serious negotiations begin on Americans held in Southeast Asia, the families of nearly 2500 Americans will wonder, "Where are they?" And the families of many, many more future fighting men will wonder, "Will our sons be abandoned, too?"

 

 

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This page last updated: February 1, 1999