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Name: Gregory Rea Benton, Jr.
Rank/Branch: E2/US Marine Corps
Unit: Company D, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines,
3rd Marine Division
Date of Birth: 19 November 1950
Home City of Record: Vallejo CA
Date of Loss: 23 May 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 160700N 1072000E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground

Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 March 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Copyright 1991 Homecoming II Project.


SYNOPSIS: Greg Benton is an American Indian and above all he wanted to do his part for his country. He has a pin in his leg as a result of a car accident while delivering newspapers as a boy. Because of the pin, Greg had to fight to get into the Marine Corps and had a difficult time in boot camp because of it. But he badly wanted to become a Marine.

When PFC Benton went to Vietnam, he was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines in Vietnam. Like other soldiers in Vietnam, Benton was overwhelmed by the death of his comrades. In a letter home he wrote: "Death is slowly catching up with me, and I cannot avoid it much longer. I dislike having my life end in this hole, but there is little I can do to prevent it. Though my body may be weak and soft my spirit is strong and bold."

On May 23, 1969, Benton was part of a security force evacuating casualties at Quang Tri when his helicopter landing zone was overrun. A firefight ensued, and when it was over, search efforts were conducted of the area. All personnel were accounted for except for Benton. No trace was found. It was not known whether he had been injured, captured, or killed. Benton was classified Missing In Action.

When U.S. involvement the war ended in 1975, thousands of refugees fled Vietnam to escape the communist regime, bringing with them stories of Americans still in their country. Since then, over 10,000 such reports have accumulated in U.S. agency files. Many experts, after reviewing the information, believe hundreds may still be alive today, still prisoners.

It is not known if Benton survived the attack on the landing zone on May 23, 1969 or if he is one of those said to be still alive. If he is still alive, he surely remembers and has lived by the Marine Corps slogan, "Semper Fideles". He knows the importance his fellow Marines placed on recovering even the dead from the battlefield. If he is alive, he must wonder why his country has broken faith with him and why he has been abandoned. It's time we brought our men home.

Go to next page: John Eugene Bodenschatz, Jr.