Name: Dean Calvin Spencer III
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry
Date of Birth: 03 October 1947
Home City of Record: Morgantown WV
Date of Loss: 07 June 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162339N 1071810E (YD459138)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident:
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
SP4 Dean C. Spencer III was a rifleman assigned to D Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry. On June 7, 1968, Spencer and his unit were on a combat operation and crossing the Rao Tank River about twenty miles southwest of Hue in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam, when Spencer swam out to recover a canteen. Spencer was pulled under the water. Another man dove in to help him, but was also pulled under and drowned. This man's body was not recovered until four days later, and almost 2 kilometers downstream. Despite repeated searches, Spencer's body was never found.
The Vietnam War touched many lives. Tens of thousands of families lost loved ones in battle deaths. Tens of thousands saw their sons and brothers come home maimed physically and mentally from the wounds and torments of the savagry of war. Some received telegrams that their loved ones drowned in recreation; a few learned their sons died from drug overdose; and some learned their sons, for unknown reasons, chose to end their own lives in Vietnam.
We tend to bury the unpleasant aspects of war and concentrate on the victory. In Vietnam, we have only a hollow "Peace with Honor" and must instead, focus on the warriors - men who willingly served their country when called. Men whose lives we used as the price for our freedom.
The most tragic of all the warriors are those who still wait, captive and abandoned by their country in prisons and camps in Southeast Asia. In abandoning them, we have made the deaths and suffering of thousands a frivolous waste. We must never neglect the duty we have to the men who must someday answer their country's call.