Missing Vietnam Servicemen to Be Buried

Four Marines who were killed in action 38 years ago will be honored at Arlington National Cemetary tomorrow.

Missing Vietnam Servicemen to Be Buried (AP)

On May 9, 1967, Sigmund and Agnes Tycz of Milwaukee received a letter from their 22-year-old son, Marine Sgt. James Neil Tycz, who marveled at his new “Sarge’s growwwl.” “Would you believe (with) my squeak??!,” he wrote, a reference to his high-pitched voice.

The next day, Tycz and three other U.S. servicemen were killed on Hill 665 near Khe Sanh, Vietnam, close to the Laos border, in a battle with North Vietnamese troops. It was too dangerous to recover their bodies, so for decades, they were listed as “killed in action-body not recovered.”

But this year, the military informed the families that it had finally identified the remains. On Tuesday, the 38th anniversary of their deaths, three of the men will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. A fourth man was buried last month, but will be honored at the ceremony.


“It’s been hard, like there’s still something missing,” said a sister, Janet Caldera, of Spokane, Wash. “Until you have him come back, you still wonder if he was really killed. You have that question in the back of your head. We never thought we’d have the remains come back. It’s kind of a miracle to us.”

Caldera recalls getting a note during English class in 1967 telling her to report to the principal’s office, and then being sent home. As she turned the corner, she saw a Marine vehicle in front of the house. “My dad collapsed when he heard the remains weren’t coming home,” Caldera said. “I think that was the hardest part, that he wouldn’t be coming home.”

Thirty-eight years is a long time to wait for closure.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.