Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Written by Pete Seeger, 1961

Originally sung by The Kingston Trio, 1962

D E D I C A T E D   T O

You’ll NEVER Be Forgotten

POW-MIAs you will never be forgotten

Rank/Branch: E5/US Navy
Hospital Corpsman
Unit: 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, 1st Force Recon Battalion, 1st
Marine Division
Date of Birth: 21 August 1944 (Seattle, WA)
Home City of Record: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Loss: 05 September, 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
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Michael La Porte’s Panel on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The following information is through the courtesy of P.O.W. Network





RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: HM2 La Porte was last seen in a good parachute drifting away from other members of his reconnaissance team during a parachute drop. There is no evidence to indicate HM2 La Porte’s death. And no evidence to indicate he is still alive.

REFNO: 0830 20 Apr 76


1. On 5 September 1967, Michael L. La Porte was the medic assigned to a nine man reconnaissance patrol that was to parachute into “Happy Valley,” (vicinity of grid coordinates (GC) ZC 144 644), South Vietnam. At drop time the forecast was negligible wind and favorable conditions. However, after exiting the aircraft, the jumpers encountered a westerly wind of 30 knots (34.523383 mph), causing the patrol to miss the drop zone by 3 1/2 kilometers (2.1747992 miles) and to land in heavy jungle canopy and rough terrain, (in the vicinity of (GC) ZC 184 6’65). HM2 La Porte was observed by other members of the team, while still in the air to be drifting away from the others at much faster rate in a northwesterly direction. This was the last time HM2 La Porte was seen. (Ref 1 & 2)

2. The drop area was searched unsuccessfully by reconnaissance personnel, and loudspeaker broadcasts were made by a U.S. Army Psyops Warfare Aircraft. (Ref 1)

3. The search was ended at 1645 hours (4:45 pm) on 6 September 1967, and the remaining members of the patrol were extracted. No trace of La Porte was found. Two members of HM2 La Porte’s unit, HM2 [blank] and SSG [blank] former members of La Porte’s patrol, raised the possibility that La Porte went AWOL from the patrol for the purpose of going to Saigon to be with an “alleged” Vietnamese wife. [Blank] further alleged that La Porte had packed extra food and medical supplies prior to the patrol, and had withdrawn all monies due him from finance, and had updated his personnel record. Other members of La Porte’s Patrol had no knowledge of these allegations, and a former commanding officer of La Porte doubted the accuracy of [blank] statements. The patrol members believe that La Porte was probably killed or critically injured after the jump and was unable to link-up with his comrades. (Three members of the patrol had to be medivaced after landing with the high winds and extremely rough terrain). (Ref 1 & 2)

4. During the existence of JCRC, the hostile threat in the area precluded any visits to or ground inspectors of the sites involved in this case. This individual’s name and identifying data were turned over to Four-Party Joint Military Team with a request for any information available. No response was forthcoming. La Porte is currently carried in the status of Missing.


1. RPT (U), HQ lst RECON Bn lst Marine Div, FMF, w/statements, 19 Sep 67.

2. RPT (U), HQ 2nd CI Team, File #12-68-5X, w/statements, 1 Aug 68.

Loss Coordinates: 155500N 1075800E (ZC184665)

Status (in 1973): Missing in Action

Category: 2

Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: HCDROP

Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 1990 from one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.


SYNOPSIS: Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Petty Officer Michael L. La Porte was assigned to 1st Force Recon Company, 1st Recon Battalion, 1st Marine Division at Da Nang, South Vietnam. (NOTE: Some lists have La Porte incorrectly listed as an E2.) On September 3, 1967, La Porte was assigned as the team corpsman of a nine-man reconnaissance patrol that was inserted by parachute into Happy Valley, Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam.

La Porte was the number five man in the jump sequence. All nine parachutes opened, but a westerly wind of about 30 knots (34.523383 mph) caused the team to drift. La Porte was seen by team members to be drifting out and beyond the others. This was the last time he was seen. He did not join the patrol as planned.

The patrol conducted an immediate search with negative results. This was La Porte’s 13th jump and he was very experienced in such operations, having been in-country for about 2 years, with a request for another extension. The jump master believed that he was not injured in the jump and that he could evade capture. (NOTE: Some sources say that Michael La Porte was a Navy SEAL, although this information is not given in U.S. Navy accounts of his loss incident.) Later in the day, the patrol was hit by an enemy force of 5-6 Viet Cong. All other patrol members were evacuated. (NOTE: Defense Department lists indicate that La Porte was lost on September 5th. No reason for the discrepancy can be determined, unless the team was inserted on the 3rd and extracted on the 5th at which time La Porte was declared missing.) La Porte was listed Missing in Action.

Nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans still missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government since the war ended. Many officials, having reviewed this largely classified information, believe that hundreds of Americans are still alive, wishing and hoping that their country will someday bring them home.

Through the years since La Porte disappeared, reports have filtered in that he was captured by the Viet Cong. In 1979, U.S. Marine PFC Robert Garwood was released from Vietnam, and related that he had known of La Porte. According to
Garwood, the Viet Cong had brought La Porte to the camp in Happy Valley, where Garwood had been held for some time as prisoner. The camp guards called La Porte “Bill.” The last he heard, “Bill” was working as a laborer on a communal farm in North Vietnam in the Quang Thien area — in 1975 — two years after the U.S. Government declared that there was no reason to believe any POWs were still alive.

Garwood was not debriefed by the U.S. Government for some 8 years after he was released, so his knowledge of “Bill” was quite dated by the time it was reluctantly received. Perhaps La Porte is still alive, wondering if anyone remembers him — or cares.
Michael L. La Porte was promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer during the period he was maintained missing. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep pushing this issue inside the Beltway…The need to get specific answers is more important now than ever before. If still alive, some MIAs are now in their 50s, 60s & 70s…They don’t have much time left. We have to demand the answers from the bureaucrats and keep standing on their necks (figuratively speaking) until they get the message that THEY work for US and that we are serious about getting these long overdue responses. Diplomatic considerations aside… We can no longer allow questionable protocols established by pseudo-aristocratic armchair strategists, to determine or influence the fate of the men who were in the trenches while the diplomats were sharing sherry and canapes and talking about “Their Plans” for the future of SE Asia. PLEASE, write your congressmen, senators and the White House. Make them accountable for those still missing.

I sit here as I am doing the html for this page and besides crying, I think about what I was doing and where I was on the day that you became a MIA and I realize that: 1- I had been married for almost three months to the an officer on the Navy Seal Team; 2- my husband was on yet another tour in Viet Nam; and I had started my junior year of college. My husband did come back from that tour, but he was killed on his 7th tour. I think what a senseless act that our government, which is supposed to be the most powerful on the planet, can not find you and the other POWs & MIAs. I can only imagine how your family must feel each day and night……wondering……needing to know and missing you. I still ask God why no resolution for you and all the POWs and MIAs. I shall pray for you and your family as I have been praying for all the POW/MIAs and their families each and every day since the 1960s. I hope someday I will be able to look in your eyes and welcome you home.

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If YOU want to then DO IT!!!!! PLEASE, write your congressmen, senators and the White House. Make them accountable for those still missing.
Too many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, spouses, and friends need answers….NOW!!!! It has been too many years. When do these families get to have closure?

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