Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US Marine abandoned, killed - ex-KR

US Marine abandoned, killed - ex-KR

US Marine abandoned, killed - ex-KR

THE former platoon commander of Khmer Rouge forces that repulsed the May 15, 1975,

US Marine assault on the offshore island Koh Tang has told the Post that at least

one US Marine was discovered at large on the island 10 days after the American withdrawal

and subsequently killed.

The revelation is the most concrete evidence to date that US Marines were abandoned

on Koh Tang during the confusion of the American withdrawal from a battle in which

18 US servicemen remain officially "unaccountable" 25 years later.

"Ten days after the American soldiers left Koh Tang, a tree-cutting detail sighted

a figure taking water from a well," explained Mao Ran, KR platoon commander

on Koh Tang in 1975. "When we investigated the area, we found boot marks which

we knew had to belong to an American soldier because our men only wore sandals."

Ran immediately organized a search of the area, and shortly after, the abandoned

Marine was discovered by KR troops.

"The American jumped out from behind some vegetation and attempted to attack

one of our men," Ran recalled. "He was killed with a burst from an AK-47

and we buried him nearby."

Ran's admission adds credence to the belief held by many Marines who took part in

the operation of a "lost machinegun team" abandoned alive on the island

during the withdrawal.

"We were told on the USS Coral Sea that a machinegun team was killed by the

KR as we withdrew from the island, but years later, I suspect they were left behind,"

Koh Tang Marine veteran Dale L Clark told the Post. "I believe the US government

knew the team was alive on the island because I heard and saw preparations made on

the USS Coral Sea to return to the island to recover the team [but] no attempts were

made ... I suspect the US government canceled the plans not wanting to have any more

Marines killed during the recovery."

Clark's suspicions were heightened by a Feb 23 Washington Times article that described

the three abandoned Marines - Gary Hall, Joseph Hargrove and Danny Marshall - as

having survived for several days before being captured and killed.

One reportedly was shot dead after being caught stealing food from the Khmer Rouge

camp, the Times reported. The other two apparently were bludgeoned to death.

Ran, who is now a Commune Chief in rural Kampong Speu, denies any knowledge of surviving

servicemen on Koh Tang other than the one whose killing he witnessed.

Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin Childress, Public Affairs Officer of the Joint Task Force

for Full Accounting of MIAs in Hawaii, was unaware of Ran's allegations, but said

MIA investigators were closely following the case.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said