The database page for Orval Harry Skarman
I never knew Sergeant Skarman, but I wore his POW/MIA Bracelet proudly, and with great care. I treasure it now with the same pride that I had when I wore it during the war. It is 2006, and for me Sergeant Skarman will be put to rest with honor on this memorial wall. He has been my piece of the war, and he has always had a piece of me. May he rest in peace. May we never forget!
I also have a bracelet from 1968 with Orval's name on it. I just returned from Washington, DC and for about the 6th time stopped at the Wall. It is hard to think about him being one that never returned. I have searched for years for family members to no avail. I also visited others I personally knew like our cousin David who died in 1969.
For the first time I took my youngest son (9 years old). He didn't "get it" until he touched David's name on Panel 47 Line 81. We have a family reunion every summer and the first stop is the dam the state built in David's honor. My youngest knows those cousins because he sees them but of course he never saw David. My oldest son (22 years old) just finished 5 years with the Marine Corps. Semper Fi, Orval, and all who gave their lives and will give their lives for American Freedom.
We will NEVER FORGET.
A Note from The Virtual WallSergeant Orval Skarman was assigned to 3rd Bn, 3rd Marines. An experienced Marine, he was released from his unit for a period of R&R - but he did not return on schedule, and on 15 January 1968 he was classed as Missing in Action. No trace of him was ever found, but there was nothing in his record to indicate that he would willingly abandon the Corps.
A week earlier, a CH-46 helicopter from HMH-463 had crashed on a mountainside while ferrying troops, including a number of men going on R&R, between Dong Ha in Quang Tri Province and Phu Bai, near Hue. The CH-46, flying in heavy rain and fog, had collided with a sheer cliff. Although the wreckage had been sighted within a few days, weather and geography combined to delay recovery efforts for three weeks.
Sergeant Skarman was not manifested on the CH-46, but neither were some of the men whose bodies were recovered from the wreckage. It's impossible to know, but it's certainly possible that Sergeant Skarman caught a lift on CH-46A BuNo 153710, died in the crash, and was not recovered when search teams finally made it to the cliffside crash site.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 23 Apr 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009