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"Web Poll is Located at Bottom" but you should at minimum, Read the "Garwood 65-69" page before voicing your opinion
The Strange Case of PFC Robert Garwood
One of the most perplexing Vietnam War stories you'll ever encounter
The first Marine POW of the Vietnam War, Garwood was captured near China Beach on September 28th 1965 and remained a POW till 1973, however he remained in Vietnam until 1979.
Some say Garwood is a traitor; others suggest he is an unsung hero and the U.S. Government Court Martialed him for aiding and abetting the enemy.
Was Garwood a Traitor? I am at best confused, and am only certain that he was a victim.
I have spent the better part of two years researching the PFC Robert Garwood story. Garwood was Captured outside of DaNang on September 28th 1965 and remained in Vietnam until 1979.
His capture and long existence in Vietnam as both a prisoner and later a free man, have intrigued me since I first read his court martial transcripts.
Garwood isn't talking much anymore about his ordeal. He gave very little testimony at his trial. Most of what we know about this case, has come from the testimony of those who were with him shortly before his capture and those who were fellow POW's.
Most of his fellow POW’s claim he had gone over to the other side. One POW even gave testimony that he was seen on several occasions carrying an AK47. Most of the POW’s testifying against Garwood were officers, was it possible that the VC intentionally deceived them.
There was a book and a "made for TV" movie released a few years ago, but they were more fiction than fact. I think that's what's so intriguing about Garwood's story; there is an element of fiction everywhere you look.
I guess the reason I have become so engrossed in his story, is because he was a Marine PFC in Vietnam in 1965, and I was a Marine PFC in Vietnam in 1965, and knowing what I know about being a Marine, there are certain issues here that I haven't been able to resolve.
I just can't understand how any American POW could do some of the things that Garwood was accused of, especially a Marine POW!
I have tried to place myself in Garwood's shoes, it is very probable that I too, almost fell into the hands of the enemy in late September 1965 (see "The Blue Moon Bar" Story) this incident took place just (3) days before Garwood's capture. It was while researching this story that I first began to realize how close I had likely come to being the first Marine POW.
SGT. Willie Watkins, US Army, incarcerated with Garwood in a POW camp in South Vietnam, stated under oath that Garwood told him "he (Garwood) had been captured in a brothel." (SGT Watkins' debrief, November 1969)
Garwood was a Marine, and we all know the training he underwent prior to entering Vietnam. Garwood had to have those traits, the mindset and posture that you can only obtain in Marine Corps Boot Camp, why would he defect, or was cooperating with the enemy his concept of survival in a POW camp?
The links below are sorted in chronological order, don't read one before you have reviewed the one before it.
Most of this material was condensed from several U.S. reports and the actual court martial transcripts. Garwood 65-69 tells most of the story.
The "Fellow Soldier Letter" was transcribed from one of the actual propaganda letters found in circulation and used at Garwood's court martial. Garwood's name wasn't the only name used on these letters. The VC used many other POW names in their propaganda program. Garwood's signature has been the only verified signature, but as the reports show, most of his letters were rubber stamped.
It was a fellow Marine from India Company 3/3 who found and reported the first "Garwood Fellow Solider Letter" in October 1965. Garwood was also reported to have broadcast on Radio Hanoi.