Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Have You Forgotten Him?


The navy pilot pictured in this newspaper article is Lt. Ron Dodge being escorted by Vietnamese soldiers. This picture first appeared in the Paris Match in 1967 and has appeared on the cover of Life magazine as well as on the cover of over five million VIVA brochures. Every place that this image has been featured, it has aways been accompanied by Lt. Dodge's name. However when the North Vietnamese gave our government what they called a "Complete" list of Prisoners of War his name was not there. He is one of many whom there was proof of capture, whose names were never found on any list handed over by their captors.


I was among many people that wore a POW/MIA bracelet. I wore mine until I developed an allergy to the metal in it and broke out in a rash. I battled that rash with creams and even tried coating the back of the bracelet with finger nail polish. Nothing worked and I eventually placed it in my jewelry box. I still watched for the name, Maj. Lawrence N. Helber in every news article I came across concerning POW/MIAs. His aircraft went down over enemy territory on January 24, 1966. 

I have since done a google search and found information at the The U.S. Veteran Dispatch . The information page for Maj. Helber can be found here if you would like to read about him. He never returned home to Logan, Ohio and his family. 

At the end of the write up on Maj. Helber there is a paragraph that I have copied and will paste as the closing words of this post. I couldn't find a better way of saying it than the original words that were written.



"Military men in Vietnam were called upon to fly and 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." ~ The U.S. Veteran Dispatch



11 comments:

Lois Evensen said...

We were so lucky my brother and cousin returned safely from Vietnam. Thank you for the reminder. It also points out how evil our enemies were and still are.

PEA said...

The government certainly did abandon these men after the war. I've read a lot on this subject because it breaks my heart to think of these POW still in Vietnam and Laos, years after the war was over. In 1991 they had two satellite images of two Americans in North Vietnamese who had stamped out their pilot authenticator codes in the grass in the compound where they were being held. Nothing was ever done about it. Cover ups are rampant in the government sector...it truly boggles the mind what they are hiding from us. Great post!! xoxo

farmlady said...

My bracelet reads Major Henry Serex 4-2-72. I wore mine for years.
He was never found.
There were so many cover ups and so much misinformation.It was an unpopular war and so many men died.
We will never know what happen to them but last November I wrote a post, on my blog, about the bracelet I wore and I received an anonymous note in the mail from someone that thanked me for writing the post and wearing the bracelet. I think it might have been one of his daughters.
So I thank you for keeping your bracelet and writing about your POW. I think it was an important thing that we did to call attention to the forgotten men and woman who never came home.
Thank you so much.... with love.

Joy said...

I think of the hopelessness and sadness of the men who may still be possibly held in a POW camp. Thank you for reminding us of these heros who never returned.

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Carol said...

Very interesting, and very sad~

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Anonymous said...

You might be interested to know that America currently has a prisoner of war who, as of this posting, has been held captive for 2 years and 10 months. He was 23 years old when taken captive. He has seen 3 birthdays pass while in captivity.

Sergeant Bowe Robert Bergdahl, United States Army (dob 28 March 1986) of Hailey, Idaho, was captured in Afghanistan on 30 June 2009 by a Taliban allied Afghan insurgent group called the Haqqani Network.

It is uncertain where he is being held, perhaps in Pakistan. With the troop draw down that is occurring in Afghanistan, it is all the more urgent that he be rescued from his captors.

There is an active group advocating for him that can be found on Facebook. They have page where you can find more information if you are interested: https://www.facebook.com/supportbowe

A Roper said...

The man in this image was originally identified as Ronald Dodge, however, in the PBS documentary, Return With Honor, the same image is shown to be the late Lt Ronald Bliss. There is also video footage of the capture with Bliss being interviewed and claiming it is him. I only recently watched the documentary, but as soon as I saw this photo, I remembered it immediately and thought, hey, that isn't Ron Bliss.

Anonymous said...

I still have my MIA POW bracelet for Major Helber. I wear it occasionally when I go out as a reminder of sacrifice and love of country that men like Major Helber will always show through actions. Sgt. Bergdahl, walked off his post as a deserter and 5 senior Taliban fighters were traded for him by the president just a few weeks ago. When I served in the Corps, we were willing to put it on the line everyday. It a shame what we have done to honorable men like Helber while we barter badly for Bergdahl. May God forgive those that break the faith with our service members.
Jeff Mills, CPL USMC 81-85

Jo Dupree said...

First of all and above all else, I would like to thank you for your service and dedication to our country. Your comment spoke to my heart Not only do we possess POW/MIA bracelets for Major Helber, but today our community laid to rest today our Hometown Hero, Justin Helton. He was one of the 5 that lost their lives to friendly fire last week in Afghanistan. God Bless you and all of our military for your love of country and service. Thank you for your comment Jeff.