Monday, April 18, 2011

Welcome Home Donald Shue

Soldier's Remains Identified, Returning Home After 41 Years
On November 3rd 1969 Sergeant First Class Donald Shue, assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group, was part of a reconnaissance patrol that was on a mission some 30 miles inside Laos.  The patrol was attacked and overrun by enemy forces on a remote hilltop.  The reconnaissance team retreated, however Shue and two others were injured in the attack and presumed killed. Donald Shue has been listed as "Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered" since the attack. 
SFC Donald Shue's name on the Vietnam Memoria
Forty years later a local farmer found human remains near the hilltop and notified the Vietnamese government.  Although the hilltop was technically located in Laos, border realignments now place the hilltop in Vietnam's Quang Tri Provenance.  A joint U.S.-Vietnamese team excavated the hilltop, recovering the remains of Donald M. Shue, Staff Sergeant Gunther H. of New Jersey and Staff Sergeant William T. Brown of California.  Along with Shue's remains, his Zippo lighter with his name engraved on it was also found.

Donald Shue was from Kannapolis North Carolina and will be buried with his parents and brothers in Concord, NC on May 1st.  The Rolling Thunder motorcycle group will participate in escorting family and the procession.  

Some forty years later our nation and its citizens express sincere gratitude for the sacrifice of Donald Shue, and closure has finally come for family and friends. 

It is a sad irony that Donald Shue had to wait over 40 years to receive an earned and deserved welcome home.  His return home is in a way, a symbolic representation for all of the Vietnam fallen who have previously returned home, but without the gratitude and thankfulness of the citizens of the nation.  

While Donald Shue gave the ultimate sacrifice forty years ago, his return home today has served as a reminder for some, an education for others, of how our military serve not only today, but yesterday and tomorrow, and that they should not be forgotten, regardless of when the service and sacrifice was performed.

Links to story:


Regulo Zapata Jr., said...

Hi Warren, Thank you for sharing this incredible and inspiring story on recovery of the remains of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Donald M. Shue, Staff Sergeant Gunther H. of New Jersey and Staff Sergeant William T. Brown of California while killed in action during the Vietnam war. Our Thoughts and prayer to their families and god bless their souls and may they rest in peace! Interesting to learn that they were operating in Loas and their bodies were recovered after 41 years later on a hilltop in Vietnam's Quang Tri Provenance. I salute these young men for their bravery and sacrifice to our country. I can't even imagine what could have happened during that intense day. Enjoyed listening to your first song on your music list. Great tunes! Enjoyed reading your other blog stories! Great writing!

Regulo Zapata Jr.
Author of "Desperate Lands"

Anonymous said...

Another chapter closed in this story, on Sept. 26, 2011. SFC William T. Brown, whose remains were recovered with Don Shue's and Gunter Wald's, received full military honors at his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery. A handful of his remaining relatives, and half a dozen of his former comrades attended the service. It is a shame that Bill's parents and brother died before his remains were located, and never had the closure they deserved. But those of us who loved him, as a cousin, as an uncle, as a friend, as a comrade, keep his memory alive.

Welcome home, Billy. It's been a long time coming.

Ken Van Arsdel