The Freedom Tree, Spec. 5, Craig Dix, Livonia, MI.
Posted by: Jagman714
N 42° 23.859 W 083° 22.395
17T E 304676 N 4696656
Quick Description: This freedom Tree is located next to the Livonia Veteran's Memorial at the corner of 5 Mile and Farmington rds.
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 1/21/2007 3:31:49 PM
Waymark Code: WM15FM
Text from Plaque:
The Freedom Tree
With the vision of universal freedom
For all mankind
This tree is dedicated to
Spec. 5 Craig Dix
Prisoners of war
And missing in action
Craig Mitchell Dix
Incident date: 3/17/71
On 17 March 1971, a combat assault was conducted northwest of the village of Snoul, in Kratie Province, Cambodia. During the assault, a UH-1H HUEY (hull number 69-15664) of the 128th AHC, 11th CAB, was hit while departing the landing zone and crashed just north of the LZ. The crew consisted of:
WO1 James H. Hestand, pilot
CW3 Richard Lee Bauman, copilot
SSG Craig Mitchell Dix, crew chief
SSG Bobby Glenn Harris, gunner
Sergeant Harris was thrown from the helicopter before impact and the other three men managed to exit the downed aircraft and attempted to evade the enemy troops.
Shortly afterwards a second helicopter, this one an AH-1G COBRA gunship (hull number 69-17935) from A Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, was struck by ground fire and crashed into the jungle less than a mile west of the Huey's crash site. The COBRA crew consisted of Captain David P. Schweitzer, pilot, and 1LT Lawrence E. Lilly, co-pilot. SAR forces managed to extract CPT Schweitzer but were forced to depart the area before Lilly could be extracted. When friendly ground forces reached the crash site, Lilly was found to be dead but his body could not be recovered (Note: his remains have never been repatriated).
At this point, one man - Lilly - was known to be dead; Schweitzer had been picked up; and the four men from the HUEY (Hestand, Dix, Harris, and Bauman) were on the ground amidst enemy troops. These four men were not rescued. Since there was no convincing evidence of their death they were placed in MIA status.
James Hestand was captured later that day and remained a POW until release on 12 February 1973 during Operation Homecoming. During his debrief he reported that Craig Dix had been shot in the right ankle as he evaded approaching VC troops. He added that SP4 Dix was ambulatory and still evading at the time of his own capture. Hestand stated that when he last saw CW2 Bauman, Bauman was alive, in good condition, and was with SP4 Dix. Finally, he stated that he saw the body of Bobby Harris outside the aircraft after the crash and believed that Harris was dead. Even so, Harris was maintained in MIA status until 1979.
While there were conficting intelligence reports regarding the number of Americans captured and their status, two facts remain: Both Dix and Bauman were alive and mobile when last seen, and neither one has been seen since.
On 27 October 1978 the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death (PFOD) for now-Staff Sergeant Craig Dix. PFODs for Bauman and Harris were approved on 08 Jan and 16 April 1979 respectively.
On 07 July 2003 remains repatriated from Cambodia on 18 Apr 2002 were identified as those of SSG Bobby Glenn Harris.