Richard Rich
Remains returned. Buried 11/05/2000 Arlington National Cemetery.
=-=
Name: Richard Rich
Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy, pilot
Unit: Fighter Squadron 96, USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN 65)
Date of Birth: 27 October 1925 (New York NY)
Home City of Record: Stamford CT
Date of Loss: 19 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 203952N 1054125E (WH718962)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B
Other Personnel in Incident: William R. Stark (released POW)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2003.

REMARKS: Home at last

SYNOPSIS: When nuclear powered USS ENTERPRISE arrived on Yankee Station on December 2, 1965, she was the largest warship ever built. She brought with her not only an imposing physical presence, but also an impressive component of warplanes and the newest technology. By the end of her first week of combat operations, the ENTERPRISE had set a record of 165 combat sorties in a single day, surpassing the KITTY HAWK's 131. By the end of her first combat cruise, her air wing had flown over 13,000 combat sorties. The record had not been achieved without cost.

One of the aircraft launched from the decks of the ENTERPRISE was the F4 Phantom fighter/bomber. The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.

When the ENTERPRISE arrived in Vietnam on its second combat cruise, two of its pilots were LTCDR William R. Stark and CDR Richard Rich. The two comprised the crew of an F4B Phantom sent on a mission over North Vietnam near the city of Hanoi on May 19, 1967. Rich served as the pilot of the aircraft, while Stark was the Radar Intercept Officer (RIO).

During the mission, Rich's wingman reported that enemy defenses, both anti-aircraft fire and surface-to-air missiles (SAM) were extremely heavy. He and CDR Rich were forced to fly their aircraft at very low altitudes in order to avoid the numerous missiles. While over the target, the wingman observed a missile detonate close behind CDR Rich's aircraft and he subsequently lost sight of Rich's aircraft during the violent evasive maneuvering. Visual contact was completely lost and repeated radio calls to CDR Rich produced negative results. The wingman found no trace of Rich's aircraft, there were no emergency radio signals, and the wingman saw no parachutes. Search and rescue efforts were impossible due to the high threat in the Hanoi area. Electronic surveillance of the area produced negative results.

In 1973, 591 Americans were released by the Vietnamese from Hanoi, including William R. Stark. Stark had been advanced to the rank of Commander during the years of his captivity. Richard Rich was among hundreds known or suspected to be held captive that were not released. Since that time, the Vietnamese have denied any knowledge of the fate of Richard Rich.

For 23 years, the Vietnamese have denied knowledge of the fate of Richard Rich, even though his aircraft went down in a heavily populated area. There is every reason to believe that Vietnamese could account for Rich, even if he died when his aircraft went down. On November 11, 1976, the Department of the Navy declared Richard Rich dead, based on no specific information he was still alive. During the time he was maintained Missing in Action, Rich was advanced to the rank of Captain.

Disturbing testimony was given to Congress in 1980 that the Vietnamese "stockpiled" the remains of Americans to return at politically advantageous times. Could Rich be waiting, in a casket, for just such a moment?

Even more disturbing are the nearly 10,000 reports received by the U.S. relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities who have examined this information (largely classified), have reluctantly come to the conclusion that many Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. Could Rich be among these?

Perhaps the most compelling questions when remains are returned are, "Is it really who they say it is?", and "How -- and when -- did he die?" As long as reports continue to be received which indicate Americans are still alive in Indochina, we can only regard the return of remains as a politically expedient way to show "progress" on accounting for American POW/MIAs. As long as reports continue to be received, we must wonder how many are alive.

As long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we must do everything possible to bring him home -- alive.

=-= Update: November 1997

My Name is Christopher S. Rich Son of Capt Richard Rich USN MIA since 19May67.

I am an active member of Sons and Daughters In Touch (SDIT). During Veterans Day the Moving Wall was at Knox Berry Farms and a Daughter that was adopted at birth found out that her Biological Father is a MIA.  She came on line tonight asking for help for ANY Information on him.

I looked all over the place, many POW Pages and I finally got to yours and got some information for her.

Thank you VERY VERY VERY MUCH.

You have helped start the healing proces for another KID.

Thank you again and WELCOME HOME to all my Big Brothers and Sisters here at the Network

Sincerly yours, Chris

Capt. Rich was the Father of four sons at the time that he was shot down. We were 13, 11, 9, 4. This has effect us in different ways, I am the youngest of the "boys" and  am asking questions that the US Government would rather ignore or continue to keep quite. Why would the Government, the one that my Father was so proud of and WANTED to go do his DUTY for. He actually was to old and pulled every string he could to go over to Vietnam, but you know how Fighter Pilots can be, they train their whole lives for combat and will do anything to show that they have the RIGHT STUFF.

Thank you, Sincerely, Christopher S. Rich

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Update on my Dads Case as of June 1999
On June 15th I arrived in Washington DC for the annual Government

Breifings on Our POW/MIA's.  I arrived a few days early to have some fun

and to do some research at the Library of Congress (LOC).
While going through one of the reels at the LOC I saw a Live Sighting

report dated 1968.  It was a picture of a group of POW's, location

unknown, my Mom stated that it was Dad postiviely.  My Grand Mother on

the other hand state that it could not be her son as he was always Clen

Cut, with Short Hair and always dressed nicley.  I am sorry but I do not

know of Many of our POW's that had a Barber shop in there Camp.  The DIA

also confirmed this to be my dad.
Than in 1969 an AP report stated that Pilots shotdown on 19May67, my

Dads date, were taken to Russia.  They also mentioned his name.
While going through the one file I have on my Dad, the rest are being copied

for me, I noticed several inconsitatncies by Joint Task Force for Full

Accountablity or better known as JTF-FA in the Circle. I was told last year

that there was no longer any Primary (cases that the government would first

try to finish first) and no Alternate cases (cases that the governemnt would

attpemt to get to).  But in one of the Documents in my dads new file JTF-FA

stated that he was listed as an Alternate site two times.  But there is a

problem with that too, see my Dads site is in a ricepaddy and it can only be

excavated during the dry season.  But the datres given were during the

Monson season.
I had a Friend, Thanks Steve, Attend the Quesion and Answer Session for the

Government Briefings.  He asked Brig. Gen. Tucker these Questions for me.

Gen Tucker Confirmed that yes they had primary and Alt. Cases on each

mission and he did not know why they would schedule my Dads case during a

monson season.  Do they really think that the Families do not know when the

dry season is if it is part of their case?
General Tucker also told Steve that my Dads Case should have been a Primary

last year and that he will personaly look in to this and get back to Steve

and Myself.
Well that is all now.
Thanks for caring
Chris
============================
From - Wed Mar 15 14:17:57 2000

Press Release from the Family of Commander Richard Rich, USN
Secretary of Defense William Cohen Uses Dad's Crash Site as Publicity Stunt.

By Christopher Rich

Son and Primary Next of Kin to Cdr. Richard Rich, USN
We are extremely grateful for the efforts of the Joint Task Force for Full

Accounting for excavating the crash site associated with my father,

Commander Richard Rich, USN, during the much publicized visit of the US

Secretary of Defense William Cohen to Vietnam.
However, we object to the fact that this recovery operation is being used as

a publicity stunt to give the appearance of the Vietnamese governments "full

cooperation" on the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action issue. US

Intelligence is well aware of the fact that the Vietnamese could readily

account for many missing servicemen but they refuse to do so. Men known to

be Prisoners of War were never returned. The remains of men the Vietnamese

admit died in captivity have yet to be returned.
The US Government should refrain from using recovery efforts to bolster the

misconception of Vietnamese "full cooperation," when in fact Vietnam holds

the answers to the fates of many, many POWs left behind alive in captivity.
If remains retrieved from this crash site prove to be our dad, we will have

our long sought closure. But we will keep in mind that there are hundreds of

American families that the Vietnamese could provide answers for but have

not. Those families deserve to have their long sought closure as well. The

US Government must press the Vietnamese on the men known to be held prisoner

of war and not returned, while continuing efforts to recover remains.
============================
  Associated Press Newswires

  Wednesday, November 1, 2000
  Son will see his father buried after 33 years of waiting
 AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - After more than 33 years of waiting, Chris Rich will

finally attend his father's funeral Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery.
 Navy Cmdr. Richard Rich was shot down in Vietnam in May 1967, just 15 days

before he was scheduled to return home. Chris Rich has been notified that

scattered remains found last spring were identified as those of his father.

He will accompany the remains to the burial site. "As hard as it is to live

with these bone  fragments as him, to hold and to touch them is almost the

same thing as being able to go to the casket," Chris Rich said. "I'll be

able to close this chapter of my life."
 The remains - 30 bone chips and a tooth - were studied at the Army's

Central Identification Lab in Hawaii. Secretary of Defense William Cohen

visited the crash site where they were found about 20 miles southwest of

Hanoi last spring, bringing attention to the case. It is the only excavation

Cohen has visited since taking office in January 1997, said Pentagon

spokesman Larry Greer.    "The commitment that the government has spelled

out is, we will seek the fullest possible accounting of all missing in

action from all conflicts," Greer said.
 There are still 1,991 soldiers listed as missing in action from the Vietnam

War, according to the Pentagon. Excavations of crash sites are continuing.
 Chris Rich's wife, Dianne, is the daughter of Air Force Tech Sgt. Thomas

Moore, who is listed as missing in action.  "Three decades is a long time to

wait to have to bury someone," Dianne  Rich said. "It's something we wait

for - you live for the day to come so you can say goodbye."
 Family members, members of Richard Rich's squadron and children of other

soldiers listed as MIA will attend Tuesday's service. There will be a 21-gun

salute, a playing of tapes and a Navy fly-over.
 Chris Rich will break apart an MIA bracelet with his father's name engraved

on it, burying one piece with his father's remains and placing the other by

the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
 He also will remove a copper bracelet he has worn for 20 years in memory of

his father.
 "That bracelet is a man," Rich said. "These were made to remind people they

were a prisoner of war or missing in action. When they come home, there's no

reason to wear them anymore.
  "He's home."
===========================
The Right Thing
A Long Long time ago in a Land Far Far away was a man. A man with a

Family, Friends and Comrades. A man with a mission. One he would give

his life for, but it would take the Family 33 yrs. to find out what

really happened. Why so long for a man that loved his country and only

wanted to do The Right Thing. Help those that could not help themselves.

He zigged when he should have zagged. A man that was already to old to

go to War, but a man that wanted to do The Right Thing. So he pulled

every last string to go, were he thought he could prove himself to

himself and to others, because he was shit hot, and was on the Fast

Track. His goal by 1974 was to be CINCPAC. He was to help start up a new

program, that the Navy was going to start for it's Fighter Pilots. This

program is known to the rest of the world as Top Gun. But all this ended

on May 19th 1967, when after being hit by 2 Surface to Air Missiles, and

after using the Command Ejection to punch out his RIO but was not able

to punch himself out. He rode it in all the way to the rice paddy. 12ft

under it that is. Flying at 1200ft and traveling at 450 knots doesn't

give you that much room to maneuver. 33yrs 5 month and 19 days ago, he

is now home. But why did it take so long? Why did it take so much work

and hurt to bring him home?
His Wife never had a time to grieve, like most wives she had a family to

raise. She tried to find the answers but was met with closed doors. She

tried to pen them. for the truth is what drove her, the not knowing is

the worst. You can only hope for the best. We all have heard stories how

a man came home after missing or thought of as dead for so long.
He had 4 boys and each handled it very differently.
The oldest, felt that he had to take over the manly duties, this is too

much for a 13yr old to handle but being the oldest......
The 2nd oldest felt that his dad was dead, case closed.
The next oldest boy wrote a letter to LBJ asking him to either bring his

daddy home or bomb Hanoi with the A bomb.
The Youngest being only 4 had just only memory, being put in the cockpit

of his dad's fighter plane.
See I know these things as I am the youngest of the Boys. I can remember

seeing a Navy man come to the door and mom crying. Why did this man make

my mom cry? Men aren't allowed to do that, or this is how I was brought

up. You protect the woman as she takes care of you. But Mom was crying

but only for a short time as she had to raise "The Boys" or "The Rich

Boys". But 3 of theses boys had to grow up a long on May 19th, 1967. I

was to drugged up to really understand what was going on. I can remember

having a teacher tell me that my dad deserved to die as he was a baby

killer. But I would tell people that my dad was on a secret mission or

that he just wasn't home yet, but he would come home soon. See I am told

that, we, my Dad and I had a very special relationship and to this day

that is what brought him home. 33yrs later. Besides keeping him alive,

just not with me for many many years because I wanted a Dad; Someone to

teach me to play catch or hit a ball, or ride a bike, or how to go on a

date and how to ask a girl out, to drive a car, to go to Father and Sons

Dinners/days/banquets with. Mom would go with me or have on of our

neighbors take me but it wasn't the same. When I turned 15 I finally

understood what happened to dad, as I said earlier I was pretty drugged

up during the 1st 28 yrs. of my life. I finally realized that he wasn't'

coming home, see he was Missing In Action or MIA. I started to tell

people that one day he wold come home, I started wearing POW/MIA hats

and T-Shirts and Pins, reading books about Vietnam and on POW's. I told

people that we left my Dad behind and had to go get him, as it was only

The Right Thing To Do.
He wold have done the same for you. Little by little I became more

involved in the POW/MIA issue. I remember having been told by many

adults to just stop whining and give up, they were all dead anyway, but

that just made my resolve even stronger. What hurt a lot was when a

Vietnam Vet, they are all my Hero's, asked me why I was wearing "That

Shirt". I told him why and he told me, so, that only Vets had the right

to wear that shirt. That hurt a lot, one of my Hero's telling me that I

couldn't help bring my Dad home, where he belonged to American Soil. But

I kept going, in the Background until 1990 when I met a man that helped

mold me into what I am today in this issue. I got my Dads files and he

and I went through them with a fine tooth comb one day. He made a Plan

of Attack and we started our War, to bring Dad home. So the last 10 yrs.

has been a long battle that looked like it was going to where until 1997

when my Family got a report saying that they found the crash site and

was just going to give up.
It took hundreds upon hundreds of people to get dads case open again.

But big break occurred in 1999 when my friend, talked to General Tucker

of the JTF_FA and got my dad moved up from a secondary site to a primary

one. This was a after I was told for a year that it would be a primary

site and be done during the dry season as they had to drain the Rice

Paddy to get to where they needed to be.
In October 1999 I know dad's site was to be the 1st secondary site. But

after trying to locate a site for 10 days it was now dads turn. So in

October 1999 they opened the crash site. I was told that there was a lot

of possible human remains, but it was just wood. So in Feb of 2000 they

went back to the my dads site to dig some more. I got a call on March

13th that SECDEF Cohen was at my Dads site and was it ok to give my name

to the press. I am sure a lot of you remember all the press my Dad Got.
They were able to pull 30 bone chips, a tooth, half a pair of Flight

Wings and a log of aircraft and personal effects.
In September of 2000 I was told that the Lab (CILHI) had identified his

remains by matching dental records with a tooth found at the site. On

October 10th, 3 days after I got married to my New Wife, my mom and I

were presented the "Blue Book" of the governments proof of

Identification. Now 3 weeks later we have buried my Father with Full

Military Honors at Arlington National Cemetery. See I finally got my six

feet of ground at Arlington.
We Did The Right Thing.
Welcome Home Dad.
It has been a long time coming.
I love you.
Your Son,
Chris Rich
Written 11/5/00
===================
Monday, October 07, 2002

Two years ago my dad came home. No he didn't come like most dads' do. He

didn't walk through he door, or didn't get out of the car. Instead he came

home in an envelope, all 33 bone chips a tooth and a half a pair of flight

wings was all physically left of him. He was found 12 feet deep in a rice

paddy outside of Hanoi in Vietnam.  His soul had left a long time ago but

the body was still wasn't home.  Not home until just recently, as he was

Missing In Action for 33 and half years. He was forgotten, not by his Family

or Friends or Comrades about by the Government that he served for had

forgotten him and thousands of others.

This story isn't about sorrow but about what the truth feels like. While

growing up I always thought my dad would come home as he was just on a

secret mission, but when the father and son games and the camp outs and the

other guys having someone to throw a ball with or to talk to, he just wasn't

there. My Family has something that many others don't though. That is

CLOSURE, my dad, Capt. Richard Rich, was positively identified two years ago

this week. There are those out there that do not agree that I did not ask

for a MT-DNA sample, that I should have made the government prove to me that

the remains before me were actually my Dad's. After reviewing the evidence

that was presented to my Mom, and me I accepted it as my Dad. Yes the

identification was a tooth and we know that the US Govt has made some bad

identification on just a tooth. This is a good Ident. Those that belittled

me and told me that I was weak and should have made the US Government run a

MT DNA sample, all I have to say is FUCK YOU. Maybe if the evidence was

sketchy, or if the tooth sort of matched, or if the location had more than

one F4 in the general area. Than I would have, asked for a better Ident. The

case is that I, being the PNOK, was satisfied and if there are those of you,

and you know who you are that don't like what I did or how I did it.  Too

bad, you have no right to tell me that I did it wrong because you weren't

here with my family or me. So you might have a loved one that didn't come

home either but you don't tell anyone else how to run their cases or their

lives.

People ask me when I felt like it was over. It wasn't on March 13, 2000 when

Diane and I were awakened at 5am to see if it was ok for the Secretary of

Defense to give my name out to the press. It wasn't when I received pictures

for the repatriation ceremony in Hanoi or the one in Hawaii. It wasn't when

Navy Mortuary Affairs called me up to make final arrangements; I found it

kind of funny when they asked if we would like a full size coffin. When I

said no, it shocked them. For 33 bone chips and a tooth.  Why do we need a

full size casket?  Closure didn't come to me when I had gotten the orders to

fly to Hawaii to pick up the remains. Nor was it when we went to CilHi and

had the tour and the command briefing, (if you ever have a chance to go to

Hawaii, go visit CilHi, it is well worth the trip) or was it when they

showed me the remains and the very nice oak urn with the brass nameplate on

it. Nor was it when I picked up the remains and held them for some time. No

closure still did not come when Diane and I got back on the flight back to

Washington DC. The flight to Chicago was packed, we were on a L1011 packed

to the gills and to top it off it was a red eye. So we got into Chicago

about 5am and killed two hours waiting for the flight in to DC. During this

time I am walking around with the box that contained the urn that contained

the remains of my dad in it. So our flight is getting ready to leave and we

have a whole row of seats. Diane takes the window as I like the aisle for

legroom and I strap the box in to the middle seat and put a windbreaker over

it. The flight attendant came back to inform me that nothing was allowed on

the seat during flight. I explained to her that it was a box that contained

an urn that contained my dad. She said she would go and talk with the Pilot.

So the Pilot comes on back and explains to us that due to FAA regulations

that nothing is allowed to be on the seat. What he said afterwards floored

me, he said, "it would be my honor and privilege if I could place the urn in

the cockpit behind my seat." Well he went out in the cockpit and came home

in the cockpit. But that still wasn't when I felt the closure.

It wasn't when I handed the urn over to the funeral home, nor when there was

visitation hours. Nor was it the day of the services or when I spoke at the

services. No it wasn't when a Navy Captain and Admiral saluted my family as

we were walking out. It wasn't when the Navy Band started to play or when

they loaded the Urn in to the caisson. It was when we were walking behind it

following the precession to the gravesite. YES WE HAVE A GRAVE SITE, just

not a marker or a name on a Wall but we actually have 3 feet in Arlington

National Cemetery. It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders as

I was telling Diane this; my Brother Rob pushes me to the left and points

down. The horses are well fed.

But this is what every family member wants, is just the truth. What hurt the

most are the not knowing and the lack of empathy that is given to the

families of those that are still not accounted for.

I have been asked many of times over the past 10 years if I would give up

this issue if my dad were ever accounted for, "as so many others have". No I

haven't given up on this issue, I just can't do that, but I don't live the

issue on a personal day-to-day basis. I think the reason why so many family

members get out of the issue after their part is done, is just that, their

part is done. So yes I am still here but maybe not as loud as before or as

much as a knife in the governments side but I am still around. I think

someone said it best, as I am a puppy pit bull with basset hound mix.
Why does it take:

 So many,

 So long,

 To make,

 So few,

 So happy
 Chris Rich

 Proud Son of Capt. Richard Rich

 USN 1945-1967

 MIA 1967-2000

 Remains recovered 3/13/00

 Remains Identified 10/10/00

 Buried on American Soil 11/10/00
 ===========================

I have written the Assistant Secretary of the Army of Manpower and Reserves

to get the ball rolling on having a caisson for all, just not the officers.

Here is the web site http://www.asamra.army.pentagon.mil/
I hope this will get to the right people.
I am the son of Capt Richard Rich USN

MIA 1967-2000

My family was fortunate enough to have our loved ones remains brought home

and we had a wonderful experience with Full Military Honors that included

the Horseless caisson at Arlington National Cemetery.

The reason I am writing is that I have been informed that not ALL members of

our Armed Services that died on Active Duty or due to an injury while on

Active Duty do not have the same privilege and honor as my Father had.

I would like to know how to get this policy changed so ALL members of our

Armed Services that died on Active Duty or due to an injury while on Active

Duty do have the same privilege and honor as my Father. As they both died

for the same thing, that was serving Our Country.
Please let me know who I need to contact to make this wrong a right.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter

Chris Rich

Proud Son of Capt. Richard Rich

USN 1944-1967

MIA 1967-2000

Remains Found 3/13/00

Remains Identified 10/07/00

Buried at Arlington National Cemetery 11/7/00

www.ojc.org

==============================
Diane, Tyler (our grand son) and myself just finished watching this show.

Johnnie Webb, who you saw speak a lot, is a man that the Families are able

to Call directly. During the last few months of my dads case, I was able to

call Johnnie at just about any hour for updates. which Johnnie can attest

to.
When Diane and I traveled to CiLHi to escort my dad's remains back. Johnnie

Webb and Dr. Tom Holland met us at the front door. The names you saw of

those recovered is on the way just as you enter the front door. They call it

the Wall of Hero's. They said in 2000 that they were building a new one as

they had just filled the first one up. After we entered the Lab, we were

introduced to some other members of the Team. We were lead to the briefing

room were I was presented a command briefing on why CiLHi felt that they

remains were my dads. It was very impressive to have High ranking Enlisted

Personnel, officers and other officials at your beckon call. If I had a

question and they were unable to answer it, they would find the answer. The

briefing lasted about an hour to an hour and a half. Afterwards we were

given a tour of the lab. We found out that there was a Chinese General on

the other side of the lab and he thought it was fantastic that our country

allowed the families to come and tour the facility. If you ever get a chance

to go to Hawaii, do go and tour CILHI, if at all possible.
My dad's remains 33 bone chips a tooth and a half of pair of flight wings is

all that was left. The lab at CILHI has about 20 examination tables were the

skeletonal remains are laid out for possible identification. My dad's was on

the last row, on the table all the way on the left hand side. On the other

19 tables were the remains of the Making Raiders. I had decided to have dads

remains put in an Urn instead of a full size Coffin because of the amount

and size of the remains. The Urn was very nice, hard oak with a dark stain,

with Brass studs on it and a brass plate with Dad Name, Rank, Date joined

the Service, Date Shot down and Date Identified. I will have to see if that

picture ever came out.
We were in Hawaii for a grand total of 26 hours. We left Hawaii at about 5pm

local time, on a redeye to Chicago and than on to DC.

We explained to the person at check in what was in the box and that we were

a special escort to Washington DC. She attempted to get us upgraded to

Business class but the flight was over booked already. After being on a

PACKED L1011 for 10 hrs or so, we arrived in Chicago at about 5:30am Chicago

time. Our flight to DC wasn't leaving until about 7am, so I grabbed a BIG

coffee and Diane got a big Lemonade, I think. Again we explained at check in

what was in the box and we were given a row of 3 seats so we could stretch

out a bit. Diane wanted the Window and I like the Aisle as I get to stretch

out my feet (Quiet Steve), I seatbelted the box carrying the urn in the

middle seatand put a wind breaker over the box. The Flight attendant came

back and told me that I could not have a box on the seat and would have to

be stored under the seat. I explained to her what it was and asked her if we

could make an exception, she stated it was FAA regs and no. I pleaded my

case again. She went and spoke with the Captain who came back and told me.

That it was against FAA regs to have that but it would be his honor if the

Urn could be placed behind his seat in the cockpit as he was a Pilot in

Vietnam. during this time a guy in the row ahead of us and on the otherside

of the aisle looked spooked and kept on turning his head at us. I felt like

telling him that it was only bone chips and they weren't going to jump out

of the box....
We finally get to DC and our Causality officer a LTJG whose this was her

first assignment of this type, picked us up and took us to the Double Tree

Hotel. Even though our room as prepaid, I was informed that we would not be

able to check in until there was an imprint of the  credit card that was

used to hold the room was there.  That was hard to do, as the credit card

was about 1100 miles away. After telling them that I didn't care, I would

sleep in the lobby and tell people why I was. This little LTJG stepped in

and started her stuff, hope she moved on to another part of teh Navy. The

Hotel Manager stated they would need something. Diane, watch out for red

heads, took the box that had the urn and told them they could have this, in

no uncertain terms and not in her inside voice. We finally were given the

room.
Since this case had so much media attention as it was the crash site that

Former Secretary Defense Cohen went to the media were hot after the "rest of

the story". I told the LTJG that there were to be no media at the viewing,

none the day of the services as it was My Families Day. After talking with

Mom a bit she asked me why I was so adamant on the no press. I just didn't

want them to make a circus out of our time. I finally agreed to No Press at

the Viewing, Chapel or Grave Side. but would grant an interview afterwards

off of Arlington Cemetery's grounds, as it is not a place for a circus.
Before the service was to begin I met a member of every squadron that dad

had been a member of. That in it's self was impressive. In front of the

chapel there were members from Rolling Thunder with the POW Flag flying,

along side the US NAVY Band playing and the horse drawn Cession out front. I

had a opportunity to speak with the Chaplin and asked if I would be able to

speak for about 7-8 minutes on my dad.
With my Mom, my Brothers, an Uncle and cousins. Close friends of the family

and those who had a great importance in helping to bring my dad home. The

services began and the urn was brought in the chapel by the US Navy Color

Guard and placed in the front. The Chaplin, who really had no knowledge of

this case expect that the death occurred in 1967 was only informed a few

minutes prior that this was a case of one that was Missing In Action for

almost 34 years.  You can read in it's entirety what I had read during the

service. This is titled THE RIGHT THING

http://personal.lig.bellsouth.net/r/e/rewired/ While walking out of the

chapel, the sun brightly shined and on the left side of the chapel door was

an Admiral and on the Right side of the door as a Navy Captain (a navy

Captain the equal to that of a Full Colonel in the Air Force, Marines and

Army) in full Dress Whites standing at attention and saluting my Family. The

Navy band is playing and many of us decided to walk to the site behind the

Cession and the US Navy Band. It was during this trip that I felt a huge

weight taken off my shoulders. Something like dad saying, I'm home now. I

leaned over to Diane, who never left my side, that is was all over. While at

the grace site, starting to get hot now in Early November, a Navy Captain

presented the flag to my mother and we had a treat. We were told that

morning because of the weather that there wouldn't not be a fly over most

likely. Well during taps and the 21 gun salute we heard a flight of F18's

flying over head and did the missing man formation, that is when the knees

really buckled.
On a different note, last year that the local air show, Diane and I worked

with the Blue Angels and because of the low cloud cover they could not do

the Missing Man formation during the shows. But while taking off to their

base on Sunday night. They came back across the run way in Missing Man

formation. My brother said it best is that he is glad that they didn't do it

during the show as it would only be another trick to the crowd but it was in

honor of a fallen comrade when they did it for me with hardly anyone else

around.
This Email grew from a paragraph or two on the show tonight on the history

channel to what it became because on, September 11, 2000 I called up Johnnie

Webb and asked him about the findings of what at that time was thought to be

my dads remains and he told me that they report had just come across his had

6 hours before hand. So this month was a busy one for me and Diane and my

family as I was trying to make formal discussions on my dads case, help

Diane (not very much) with final wedding arrangements and trying to contact

as many people of our family and who knew dad to let them know what was

coming.
On October 7, 2000 Diane and I were married, on October 10, 2000 the Navy

presented what is known as the Blue Book to the families of those still not

accounted for and services on November 7, 2000.

Lest We Forget
Welcome home dad it's been a long time coming
Chris Rich

Proud Son of Capt. Richard Rich

USN 1944-1967

MIA 1967-2000

Remains Found 3/13/00

Remains Identified 10/07/00
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery 11/7/00

www.ojc.org

P.S. the most recent pictures of my dads grave site. These items were left

after the lastest meetings on the POW MIA issue in Wahington DC this past

June. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/rrich.htm