No Coincidences Revisited - POW/MIA Day 2011

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Posted on : 9/16/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

I posted this on my original "Dain Bramage" blog back on 9 September 2006.  I offer it again in recognition of National POW/MIA Day.

And in honor of Scott D. Ketchie.  A son of Alabama who has yet to return home.  I remain honored to wear a bracelet bearing his name.

There Are No Coincidences


I have a tough time believing in coincidences.

Today, beloved bride and I went on a motorcycle ride to benefit the VFW's National Home for Children. The ride began in Parma, MI, and went to the National Home in Eaton Rapids. We continued from there to Holt, Dansville, Grass Lake, and concluded in Jackson at The Garage pool hall. It was a great trip, if a little cool. There were scattered rain showers forecast. While we saw evidence of rain on several roads, we never rode in any of it.

At the end of the run we enjoyed....well I enjoyed....a dinner of roast buffalo meat. Several vendors had set up booths. One of those vendors was the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. As is usual, they were selling an array of enamel buttons as well as POW/MIA bracelets.

For the uninitiated, a POW/MIA bracelet is imprinted with the name of a military servicemember who did not return home from a combat tour. This servicemember was either lost during their tour, or was killed during their tour and their remains were not sent home. In many cases, the individual is presumed dead due to evidence available at the time. [i.e. a pilot being presumed dead after his aircraft crashes and eyewitnesses indicate that they didn't see any parachute]

In other cases, the government has declared those missing servicemembers to be dead as a result of the government's inability to ascertain the status of those servicemembers. Sort of a quick and easy "beats us" that forgoes any real investigation or negotiation.

The purpose of wearing such a bracelet is that these missing servicemembers cannot be forgotten so long as one person carries the name of that POW/MIA with them.

I was looking through the bracelets and happened across one for Capt. Scott Douglas Ketchie, USMC. Most regular readers....all 3.4 of you...should have figured out that I was in the Marines. So it was natural that I thought to purchase this particular bracelet.

I did a little searching on the Internet and eventually found this site that provides greater detail regarding the events of the day that Capt. Ketchie became a POW/MIA. On that day, Capt. Ketchie [then 1Lt Ketchie] was acting as the bombardier/navigator of an A6-A Intruder that was flying over Laos. That means he was the guy that was telling the pilot where to fly so that the bombs would fall where they would hurt the enemy the most.

His aircraft was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire. One report suggests that Capt. Ketchie didn't bail out. The other suggests that he did and that he made radio communications once he was on the ground.

This Department of Defense document dated 1 May 2006 indicates that there are currently 364 American servicemen that were lost within the borders of Laos and who's whereabouts are unknown. It should be noted that Laos was not a party to the peace talks that were held in France between the governments of North Vietnam and the United States.

Capt. Ketchie served in the Marine Attack Squadron (All Weather) VMA(AW)-224. The call sign for his aircraft was Bengal 505.

In 1990, I reported aboard MCAS Cherry Point and was assigned to MALS-14. MALS stands for Maintenance and Logistics Squadron. In August of 1990, I was deployed to the Middle East in support of VMA(AW)-224. At the time, VMA(AW)-224 was flying the A6-E Intruder; a later variant of the same aircraft in which Capt. Ketchie was shot down.

The events that led me to buying that bracelet were not random. The decision to purchase this particular bracelet out of the dozens on display were not random.

Scott Ketchie is not meant to be forgotten. Call it fate if you will. Or perhaps the hand of God.

Capt. Scott Ketchie will not be forgotten.

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