Douglas Alan Ross

Army of the United States
10 September 1948 - 22 January 1969
Temple City, California
Panel 34W Line 061




Bronze Star (Merit), Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Douglas Alan Ross

16 Sep 2007

Douglas Ross has been in my memory for 38 years ... you see, I'm the guy who had to make his paper work say 'Killed in Action'. With the stroke of my pen, I killed Douglas Ross.

For several weeks from the time he was reported to 4th Division Casualty Branch on Camp Enari as missing in action until I killed him six weeks later, my office received several letters from his mother, Margaret Ross. The letters were harrowing, filled with a mother's anguish - 'Please find my son', 'I'm under a doctor's care, please give me information'. I can still close my eyes and see Margaret's perfect penmanship. The letters made me feel helpless for this dear mother, and I still ache for her today. I was pleased to read on the internet that Douglas had been located and returned home. My heartfelt sympathies go out to Margaret and the rest of his family. I would welcome correspondence from the family.

Thomas H. Williams III
Casualty Clerk
July 1968-July 1969,
312 Sweet Birch Lane, Rochester, Ny 14615

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Chu Pa Mountain (aka Hill 1485) in Pleiku Province is located about 16km due west of Plei Mrong and 36km southwest of Kontum City. Used by the NVA and VC as a staging area, Chu Pa was subjected to an assault on 21-23 Jan 1969 by Alpha and Delta Companies of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry. The Battalion's Executive Officer, Major Jerry P. Laird, accompanied Alpha Company.

The assault was bitterly opposed from the beginning, with Delta 1/35 losing two men on 21 Jan. On the 22nd, as Alpha attempted a link-up with Delta, Major Laird and one of his radiomen, Sp4 Douglas Ross, were among a group of soldiers pinned down about 40 meters outside the Delta perimeter. Under heavy small arms and grenade attack, the group was forced to seek cover in caves where the survivors spent the night. Alpha company lost three men, Delta two, and both Major Laird and SP4 Ross were killed.

On the morning of the 23rd searchers located those men whose bodies had not been recovered on the 22nd - except for SP4 Ross, who could not be found. Although the Battalion avoided any further deaths on the ground, a medevac helicopter (UH-1H 66-16217) from the 283rd Medical Detachment was hit by a B-40 rocket while about 50' above the ground, crashed, and burned, killing four aircrewmen and three previously wounded soldiers.

Overall, 16 Americans had been killed in the actions on 21-23 January:

  • A Company:
    • SSG James D. Stuessel, La Puente, CA (01/22/1969)
    • SGT Harry D. Brueske, East St Louis, IL (01/22/1969)
    • PFC David F. Head, Clarkston, MI (01/22/1969)

  • D Company:
  • HQ Company:
    • MAJ Jerry P. Laird, Allentown, NJ, XO 1/35 (01/22/1969)
    • SP4 Douglas A. Ross, Temple City, CA (01/22/1969)

  • 283rd Med Det, 498th Med Company (aircrew, UH-1H 66-16217):
    • WO Sylvester Davis, Akron, OH, pilot (01/23/1969)
    • WO Arvid O. Silverberg, West Brookfield, MA, copilot (01/23/1969)
    • SFC William R. Henderson, Cincinnati, OH, medic (03/10/1976)
    • PFC Robert R. Sloppye, Sacramento, CA, crew chief (01/23/1969)
On 27 January seven bodies were recovered from the burned-out UH-1 wreckage, but only four could be identified at the time. The fighting on 21-23 Jan thus left four men listed as missing in action:
  • SFC William Henderson, medic aboard UH-1H 66-16217;
  • SSG Robert Luster, passenger aboard UH-1H 66-16217;
  • SSG Frank Moorman, passenger aboard UH-1H 66-16217; and
  • SP4 Douglas Ross, killed on the ground but not recovered.
The casualty database indicates that the three remaining bodies from the Huey eventually were identified; one assumes the casualty dates noted above represent the dates of identification. Staff Sergeants Luster and Moorman were buried together in Section 46, Arlington National Cemetery. No information is available regarding Sergeant First Class Henderson's place of burial. Oddly, none of the three is included in the DoD Personnel Missing - Southeast Asia (PMSEA) database of personnel carried as MIA for extended periods of time.

The remains of Sergeant Douglas Ross, who had received a posthumous promotion, were repatriated twenty-eight years later, on 29 Sep 1997, with positive identification on 18 Feb 1998. Sergeant Ross was buried on 27 March 1998 in Site 1451, Section 1A, Los Angeles National Cemetery. (SGT Ross is in the PMSEA database.)

One further note - The POW Network site has biographies for SFC Henderson , SSG Luster , and SSG Moorman. In each case the POW Network suggests the three men were associated with the seach for PFC Robert F. Scherdin , a Special Forces trooper who went missing in action on 29 December 1968. However, there is no association between Scherdin and the three men whose unidentifiable remains were recovered from the wreckage of UH-1H 66-16217.

Washington, DC

Mar 06 1998

The remains of an American serviceman previously unaccounted-for from Southeast Asia have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial in the United States.

He is identified as U.S. Army Sgt. Douglas Alan Ross, of Temple City, Calif.

On Jan. 22, 1969, Ross's unit came under heavy enemy sniper and grenade attack in South Vietnam. He was reportedly struck in the head by enemy fire and died on the battlefield. The other members of his unit were forced to take cover in nearby caves and did not rejoin friendly forces until the following day. At that time, a search of the battlefield did not locate his remains.

In 1994, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam team visited surrounding villages and was told that no one lived in the vicinity of the battlefield during the war and none of the local villagers had any firsthand knowledge of the incident. The team also visited the battle site where they found evidence of defensive positions, but no other pertinent information. The investigators had no further leads to pursue.

But in 1997, Vietnamese villagers were searching a wooded area for scrap metal near the battlefield and discovered the remains of a U.S. soldier. They reported to their provincial officials who, in turn, passed the information to central government officials. These remains and some personal artifacts were passed to U.S. officials, and subsequently identified by the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii as those of Ross.

Remembered by his fellow soldiers of the

35th Infantry - the Cacti Regiment

Photo courtesy of the 35th Infantry Assn

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a comrade-in-arms,
Thomas H. Williams III
312 Sweet Birch Lane, Rochester, Ny 14615

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index R
CA State Index . Panel 34W
35TH INF RGT Index

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 16 Sep 2007
Last updated 09/18/2007