Robert Leo Babula

Staff Sergeant
United States Marine Corps
07 March 1947 - 07 November 1974
Indiana, Pennsylvania
Panel 10E Line 052


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert Leo Babula

12 Feb 2008

Robert lived 50 miles south of my home town. My father grew up in Indiana, Pennsylvania. I have worn Robert's MIA bracelet since 1992 and have interest in his loss and his story.

I have been questioned many times why I wear his bracelet in a day and age filled with many people that do not even know what an MIA bracelet is.

It saddens me to know there are so many families out there without closure. I fly an MIA flag each day in remembrance of all MIAs from all American wars but Robert's story touches a chord with me.

In Loving Memory Of
Robert Leo Babula

Brian Miller
95 3rd Street, Falls Creek, Pa.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The POW Network reports the disappearance of four Marines as follows:

On the night of 27/28 August 1966, a four-man fire team from 1st Platoon, Kilo 3/1 Marines, was assigned to set up an ambush site about 500 meters south of their platoon night defensive position near Hoa Hai village just south of Danang.

The fire team departed at 3:00 am with instructions to relocate in the same general area or return to their platoon patrol base in the event their ambush site was compromised, and in any case to return no later than 9:00 am that morning. The team failed to return as scheduled, and an immediate search was instituted by Kilo Company personnel but without results. A larger-scale effort was conducted by the 3rd Battalion between 29-31 August, but still without results. On 04 Sep, Kilo Company Marines located part of an American wrist watch and PFC Bodenschatz' identification tags and intensified the search in that area, but no further trace was found. On 13 Sep the Battalion cordoned a large area centered on the Marines' last known location, assembling, screening, and interrogating everyone within the cordon. No additional information concerning the four Marines was obtained.

The 3/1 Command Chronology for August 1966 contains the following entry:

"At 281900H [7pm, 28 Aug], a fire team patrol/ambush from 1st platoon, Company K did not return at the scheduled time from its ambush site in grid square BT0667. At 1915H a squad was dispatched to search out the area for the missing fire team, returning at dark without success. The following day two companies conducted a thorough search within grid square 0667 and within 4000 meters of this area with negative results. Adjacent units were notified of the missing fire team, and in turn conducted an extensive search of those areas bordering the 3/1 TAOR. At this time all searching parties have been unsuccessful. An agent reported that the fire team had been attacked by hand grenades and three Marines were killed. However, no evidence of graves has been discovered. A continued effort is being made to obtain more information on this incident."
The August and early September operations logs contain a number of entries regarding the searches for the four MIAs, but with no results. The Virtual Wall staff did not find any mention of recovery of Pfc Bodenschatz's dog tags or any personal effects in the ops logs but a JTF-FA report dated 16 Sep 93 says that "part of an American wristwatch and two ID tags" were found in the area. The report does not give the name(s) on the ID tags.

A Review Board was convened and considered the available information. The Battalion commander's final determination was that the four Marines were "probably captured", but in the absence of proof they were classed as Missing in Action. Eventually the Secretary of the Navy approved Presumptive Findings of Death for the four (ranks shown are those held when the PFoD was issued):

On 08 Feb 1993 the Vietnamese allowed repatriation of a group of human remains. Between May 1993 and June 1996 the Central Identification Laboratory identified six missing Americans among the remains, including Robert C. Borton. However, Borton's family refused to accept the identification. The other three men have not been repatriated.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Brian Miller
95 3rd Street, Falls Creek, Pa.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 12 Feb 2008
Last updated 02/13/2008