Donald Lee Sparks
Sergeant First Class
Army of the United States
Carroll, Iowa
November 07, 1946 to November 05, 1979
(Incident Date June 17, 1969)
DONALD L SPARKS is on the Wall at Panel W22, Line 69

Donald L Sparks
americal.gif 196lib.gif 21stinfrgt.gif

23 May 2002

He's my adopted POW/MIA.
He will never be forgotten.

From one who remembers,
Heather Vadzemnieks
E-mail address is not available.

Visit the
21st Infantry Regiment

18 May 2005

I am an American Soldier currently serving in the 4th Infantry Division. I have a POW / MIA bracelet that I wear with great pride and a sense of humility with the name of this great American Soldier on it. He truly is an American hero and he will never be forgotten.

SFC Gregory R. Bremseth
2-77 FA, 4th ID Fort Hood Texas

17 Apr 2006

Missing, but not forgotten, until we meet again in that big PX in the Sky...

SFC Robert "MadDog" Pilcher, Retired
Rangers Lead The Way
Nam 67-68
Dallas, Georgia 30157

21 May 2007

I received Donald's bracelet in the summer of 1995. My father served in the Korean War. I wear freedom proudly on my shoulders because all those who serve our country enable me to do so. I will carry these people in my heart, all my days.

Mary Murphy
E-mail address is not available.


Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 17 June 1969 PFC Donald L. Sparks and CPL Larry A. Graham were pointmen for their company when it was ambushed by an enemy force near Chu Lai. Both men were hit by enemy fire. Their unit was forced to withdraw; during the withdrawal, other members of the platoon saw enemy soldiers stripping Sparks of his gear. Both soldiers were believed by their comrades to be dead.

Unsuccessful efforts were immediately made to retrieve the two bodies, but were repulsed by the enemy. Air strikes were called in on the enemy positions, and when the US forces retook the area Corporal Graham's body was recovered. Sparks was not found, and in the absence of conclusive proof of death he was classed as Missing in Action.

On 17 May 1970 a Viet Cong soldier was killed in fighting near Chu Lai. Two letters from Donald Sparks dated 11 April 1970 were found on his body. Handwriting analysis conclusively proved that the letters were written by PFC Sparks and his status was changed from MIA to Captured/POW.

Sparks never appeared on a VC/NVA POW list and none of the American POWs returned in February 1973 had first-hand knowledge of him. However, on 19 September 1973 an ARVN returnee stated that an American POW entered his POW camp in February 1970. Allegedly, the POW later contracted beriberi and reportedly died in June 1971. Circumstantial evidence indicated that the American POW probably was PFC Sparks, but again there was no conclusive proof of death.

On 05 Nov 1979 the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for Donald Sparks. While it is known that Sparks was captured, his name did not appear on the listing of prisoners provided by the Vietnamese government in the mid-90s, and conclusive proof of his death has never been found.

Additional material may be found on the POW Network and Task Force Omega sites.

However, neither the POW Network and Task Force Omega accounts mention a third casualty from the firefight in which Sparks and Graham were lost - medic SP4 David W. Loew of Eugene, Oregon. His body, and Graham's, were recovered.

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