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Coast Guard's first MIA/KIA in Vietnam KIA to be buried.
13th Coast Guard District Public Affairs ^ | Lt Andre Billeaudeaux

Posted on 09/27/2003 12:21:06 PM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Coast Guard's first MIA/KIA in Vietnam KIA to be buried


Seattle area Coast Guardsman to return her MIA bracelet worn for 15 years

 Almost fifteen years ago, a 30-year-old Coast Guard Petty Officer Theresa  Hubbard ceremoniously placed an 8-oz silver metallic engraved bracelet bearing Coast Guard Lieutenant Jack Columbus Rittichier's name and the June 9, 1968, date (the day that the helicopter he was piloting was shot down) upon her wrist. Hubbard, the daughter and wife of a Coast Guardsman, dutifully wore the keepsake with the hope and determination to keep alive the memory and spirit of the missing 34-year-old pilot.

Hubbard, now 33 years old and a Coast Guard Lieutenant herself, has set the slightly tarnished, nicked and well-worn bracelet aside with the intention of returning her treasured keepsake to the Rittichier family, Maggie and Dave, who are busy preparing for their son's long-awaited funeral. Lt. Rittichier, who flew his last mission as part of a Coast Guard/U.S. Air Force Exchange Program, will be buried at a portion of Arlington National Cemetery known as Coast Guard Hill, an area normally reserved for the top officials next month after spending more than thirty-five years as the U.S. Coast Guard's only Vietnam War missing in action (MIA) and the service's first killed in action (KIA).

"Leave no man behind," is the creed by which many Americans, like Hubbard, wear their MIA bracelets.  "I never thought I'd be taking it off," said the brunet Hubbard as she sat next to her family photos in her Seattle Coast Guard office.  "I purchased the bracelet about 15 years ago ...about the same time I joined the Coast Guard Reserves," she reminisced holding the simple band in her hand.  Nearby sat another picture, that of actor John Wayne, one of  Hubbard's heroes based on the military roles he played.  "I come from a very patriotic family and wearing the bracelet seemed like the right thing to do," she said adding with pride that her son is now serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army.  She explained that she was moved to make the purchase of the simple aluminum band from a veteran's group in North Carolina; it was the only one available for the Coast Guard.  She added that she will now begin wearing a new MIA band in support of another missing servicemember.

Wearing of the bands began in the late 1960s in an attempt, by what was mostly college students, to raise awareness of the American prisoners and missing from the Vietnam War; but the program "officially" began on Veteran's Day in 1970. Lieutenant Rittichier, although flying inland, was participating in a traditional Coast Guard mission, Search and Rescue.  He was flying as a member of the United State's Air Force's (USAF) 37th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron, when he was shot down. 

A large, multi-force mission had been ongoing to rescue a downed pilot who had landed near the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Rittichier, piloting an HH-3E Jolly Green helicopter, was approaching the downed pilot to attempt the rescue when his helicopter, Jolly Green 23, lost use of its left engine to enemy gunfire and shortly thereafter crashed in what was reported to be a completely engulfing fireball. Rittichier was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry.

There were three other servicemen onboard the JG23 that day: Capt. Richard C. Yeend, USAF; Staff Sgt. Elmer L. Holden, USAF; and Sgt. James D. Locker, USAF. The crash site of JG23 was discovered in 2002, with repatriation of the pilot's remains taking place earlier this year.

Rittichier's efforts as one of 12 Coast Guard pilots who flew with the US Air Force during 1967-68, represents only one of a myriad of  multi-mission capabilities the Coast Guard offered in Vietnam and continues to offer today.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the United States Coast Guard deployed to the Persian Gulf and provided critical harbor defense services that not only protected offshore oil wells, but allowed for safe and secure navigation of the allied navies through the ports and waterways of Iraq, to include providing clear passage for critical ship-borne humanitarian supplies to reach the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr.  The Coast Guard has been involved in every major conflict in the United States since World War I.

On October 6, 2003, at 1300, the remains of Lt. Rittichier will be buried. Rittichier was the first Coast Guardsman killed in action in Vietnam, and the only Coast Guard member unaccounted for after the war's end. The Jolly Green 23's crash site was discovered on November 9, 2002, and the remains of the four crewmembers were repatriated on February 14, 2003.

Lt. Hubbard is available for interviews.

Four photos are available:

LT Hubbard displaying the bracelet http://www.piersystem.com/clients/uscg-13/LTWrist.jpg

Environmental photo of LT Hubbard http://www.piersystem.com/clients/uscg-13/LTH.jpg

LT Hubbard photo with John Wayne http://www.piersystem.com/clients/uscg-13/LTHandDuke.jpg

MIA bracelet photo http://www.piersystem.com/clients/uscg-13/Bracelet.jpg

Rittichier History http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-cp/history/bio_jack_rittichier.html

For more information and e-mails on breaking news please register at our website https://piersystem.com/external/index.cfm?CID=443

-30-

The U.S. Coast Guard is a military, maritime, multi-mission service within the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to protecting the safety and security of America.

 

 

 


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KEYWORDS: kia; mia; uscg; welcomehome
Welcome Home Brother
1 posted on 09/27/2003 12:21:06 PM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
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To: Kathy in Alaska; MoJo2001; LindaSOG; LaDivaLoca; bentfeather; Bethbg79; Iowa Granny; ...

2 posted on 09/27/2003 12:22:23 PM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Have you said Thank You to a service man or woman today?)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
May he rest in peace.
3 posted on 09/27/2003 12:28:56 PM PDT by Vesuvian
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Welcome Home Brother


4 posted on 09/27/2003 12:29:22 PM PDT by The Mayor (He who waits on the Lord will not be crushed by the weights of adversity.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Rest in the hands of God good sir.
5 posted on 09/27/2003 12:30:23 PM PDT by Eaker (Amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic.............hmmmmmmmmm ;<)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Taps for long dead hero ~ may he rest in peace.
6 posted on 09/27/2003 12:30:35 PM PDT by blackie
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
I have worn my bracelet for Captain John W. Consolvo USMC who was shot down in is F-4 on 5-5-72 since 1972. It has never left my wrist, and never will since he has not been found or declared dead. It will stay there till I die, and then be buried with me. He was a friend of mine.

Semper Fi.
7 posted on 09/27/2003 12:31:46 PM PDT by Tiger6
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To: Tiger6
Welcome Home Brother
8 posted on 09/27/2003 12:36:52 PM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Have you said Thank You to a service man or woman today?)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Amen. Welcome Home.

- BTW Tonk, next Friday is the 10th Anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu. Hope the Canteen has something special planned...


9 posted on 09/27/2003 12:39:48 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Next Friday, October 3, is the 10th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu. Never Forget.)
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To: Joe 6-pack; LindaSOG; tomkow6
"BTW Tonk, next Friday is the 10th Anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu. Hope the Canteen has something special planned..."

We'll still have Camp Run-A-Muck for the troops entertainment
BUT we'll make sure we have some info and posts regarding the Battle of Mogadishu.

USO CANTEEN FREEPER STYLE MISSION STATEMENT
Showing support and boosting the morale of
our military and our allies military
and the family members of the above.
Honoring those who have served before.
CLICK HERE TO FIND LATEST THREAD.

10 posted on 09/27/2003 12:45:27 PM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Have you said Thank You to a service man or woman today?)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
May your shipmate rest in peace, Tonk.
11 posted on 09/27/2003 1:03:14 PM PDT by Aeronaut (In my humble opinion, the new expression for backing down from a fight should be called 'frenching')
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Indeed. Welcome home!!!
12 posted on 09/27/2003 1:07:37 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Welcome home to a hero indeed. Peace to Lt. Jack C. Rittichier's family and fellow Coast Guardsmen.
13 posted on 09/27/2003 6:10:40 PM PDT by TexKat
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Lt. Jack C. Rittichier thank you for your service to our country. Peace for his parents, your sacrifice is appreciated.
14 posted on 09/27/2003 7:44:48 PM PDT by getgoing (candle in the window 'till "Our Best" are safely home)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Welcome home, Sir.
15 posted on 09/27/2003 7:46:05 PM PDT by LibKill (Father Darwin has a sense of humor but no mercy whatsoever.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
A hero proved in liberating strife. May he rest in peace, safely home.
16 posted on 09/27/2003 8:50:49 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (You want freedom fries with that?)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Welcome HOME Brother.

redrock

17 posted on 09/27/2003 9:35:26 PM PDT by redrock (Say a Prayer tonight.....for we have 'boots on the ground'.....)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Welcome HOME brother. Rest in peace Lt. Rittichier. God Bless the Rittichier family. May He give them peace and comfort.

I wish there could be an ending like this for all the KIA's, whose bodies aren't home yet. I wish we could FIND all the MIA's and POW's ALIVE and bring them home of SOUND MIND and BODY to their loved ones and friends. Dear God how I wish that.

That this woman wore his braclet all these years is something else.

Now she is serving. God Bless her and Bless her service to our Nation.
18 posted on 09/27/2003 10:14:00 PM PDT by Vets_Husband_and_Wife (CNN: Where " WE report what WE decide!!")
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To: Joe 6-pack
Please offer special prayers for my friend "Popeye"..
whose son was killed there..

His name was Staff Seargent Thomas Field.

Rte 196 in Lisbon, Maine has been designated a "Memorial Highway" in his name.

I have coffee with Popeye almost everyday..and would be so honored if you would respond, so that I may print it out for him..

Thank you so much in advance..

Ms.B

Welcome Home, Brave Warrior..

Well Done..rest you in the arms of the Lord..and carry our grateful love and thanks with you..for eternity
19 posted on 09/28/2003 1:29:19 AM PDT by MS.BEHAVIN ("Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds".Re-elect G.W.Bush)
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To: The Mayor
How very beautiful..

Ms.B
20 posted on 09/28/2003 1:37:14 AM PDT by MS.BEHAVIN ("Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds".Re-elect G.W.Bush)
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To: Aeronaut
USGCA bump to #11.

Carrying goodness forward.

21 posted on 09/28/2003 9:03:18 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Well done. Welcome home. Rest in God's arms.
22 posted on 09/28/2003 10:59:46 AM PDT by sneakers
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To: MS.BEHAVIN
Staff Seargent Thomas Field
Rest in Peace Warrior
I could never repay the price you paid to help ensure my Freedom.
All I can do is Thank You for your service and sacrifice to our country.
23 posted on 09/28/2003 11:57:12 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (THANK YOU TROOPS, PAST AND PRESENT)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Thanks for the ping, Tonk. May God bless him abundantly where ever he is in the universe. And thanks to our loving Father for finally bringing his body home and bringing closure to his loved ones. May God comfort and bless his family and loved ones. God bless all our fine young men and women serving in the Coast Guard and other services.
24 posted on 09/28/2003 1:45:12 PM PDT by TEXOKIE (America, WE LOVE YOU! And our love is great enough to hold you eternally victorious in the Light!)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Welcome home...

Crash of Jolly Green 23

25 posted on 09/30/2003 5:16:30 PM PDT by in the Arena
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