Name: Michael Robert Norton
Rank/Branch: E2/US Army
Unit: C Battery, 5th Battalion, 27th Artillery, 1st Field Force, Vietnam
Date of Birth: 26 January 1948
Home City of Record: Eskdale WV
Date of Loss: 03 November 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 121410N 1072200E (YU557544)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident:
On November 2, 1969, Pvt. Michael R. Norton was a gunner with an artillery battery at a forward fire support base in Quang Duc Province, South Vietnam near the Cambodian border. The fire base was in jeopardy of hostile enemy attack and being overrun, therefore, the unit was pulling out of the area.
During the withdrawal, the unit came under enemy 50 caliber machine gun fire and the unit dispersed into the jungle. By the time they had regrouped the next day, it was reported that Pvt. Norton was with the unit.
The unit then moved on to link up with a mobile strike force which was to guide tham to Bu Prang. When they arrived at Bu Prang, it was discovered that Norton was NOT present, and it was determined that he was last seen at an LZ (landing zone) near where the unit began the trip.
Aerial searches of the LZ and surrounding area were conducted with no success. Pvt. Michael R. Norton was classified Missing in Action. Norton's family patiently waited for the war to end. They never received word that Michael had been captured, but understood that it was possible.
When the war ended, and 591 Americans were released from communist prison camps in Southeast Asia, Michael R. Norton was not among them. Military authorities at the time expressed their dismay that "hundreds" of men expected to be returned had not been released. Furthermore, the Vietnamese denied any knowledge of these men.
Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, refugees have flooded the world, bringing with them reports relating to the American missing in Southeast Asia. By 1989, the U.S. Government had conducted over "250,000 interviews" and reviewed "several million documents" related to these men.
Many U.S. Congressmen and others who have had access to this classified material are convinced that many, many Americans are still held captive in Southeast Asia. One of them could be Michael R. Norton. It's time we brought our men home.