Dedicated to MIA
Sgt. (E-7) Howard Burdette Lull, Jr.

Name: Howard Burdette Lull, Jr.
Rank/Branch: E7/US Army
Unit: Advisory Team 70, MACV
Date of Birth: 16 May 1930 (Dallas, TX)
Home City of Record: (in 1989) Kansas City, MO.
Date of Loss: 07 April 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 114338N 1063502E (XU731081)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 1
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground

Other Personnel In Incident: Richard S. Schott (missing); Mark A. Smith; Kenneth Wallingford; Albert E. Carlson (all POWs held in Cambodia and released in 1973)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.


SYNOPSIS: On April 5, 1972, the 5th North Vietnamese Division suddenly smashed against the Loc Ninh district capitol before dawn, attacking as no enemy had yet attacked in that war. The Communist troops had Russian T-54 and PT-76 tanks, artillery and a conventional battle plan.

American forces in the area battled for two days before being overrun. On April 7, 1972, Maj. Albert E. Carlson; MSgt. Howard B. Lull; LtCol. Richard Schott; Capt. Mark A. Smith; and SFC Kenneth Wallingford were five advisors on Advisory Team 70, MACV, at Loc Ninh when the city was completely overrun. Radio contact was maintained until approximately 0800 hours, when the tactical operations center began burning. Later in the day, one of the advisors radioed that they were going into hiding, taking their radios with them.

After the incident, South Vietnamese Army personnel reported intercepting an enemy radio broadcast which stated that three United States advisors had been captured. Subsequent information recieved through intelligence sources reported that five Americans were taken prisoner. This report indicated that four of the prisoners had been taken to a temporary PW camp and one to an enemy hospital.

The Vietnamese captured Smith, Wallingford and Carlson whom they held in Cambodia for the remaining 10 months. On June 28, 1972, the U.S. Casualty division changed their status from missing to captured. The three were released at Loc Ninh in a general POW release in 1973.

Although most details of this incident are still classified, Capt. Smith indicated in his debriefing that he, Lull and Schott had been together in a bunker shortly before he was captured. Lull left the bunker to evade capture, while the severely wounded Schott knew he would not sirvive, and lifted his own weapon to his head and shot himself to give the others a chance to escape

Lull's family has been given a number of reports that possibly relate to Howard B. Lull. The one they find most credible was told to them from a military offical. This scenario has Lull leaving the bunker, and evading capture for about three days, while the other soldiers reportedly kept radio contact with him. The last word from Lull was that he was heading for An Loc, the provencial capital to the south

Two other tales are not as credible, Lull's family feels: One came from a South Vietnamese doctor who was captured by the communists after escaping with Lull. The doctor later told U.S. authorities that shortly after leaving the compound, Lull went into a rubber plantation that was hit by U.S. napalm.

The other account, from a South Vietnamese POW, had Lull buried in a shallow grave after being shot to death while crossing a stream with South Vietnamese soldiers.

One of the Americans who was captured at Loc Ninh reported asking his captors about Lull. The North Vietnamese officer replied that Lull was not cooperating and thus would not be going to prison with them.

No one really knows what happened to Howard Lull. Lull, if captured, was not taken to the same prison camps as were Smith, Carlson and Wallingford. Some reports say that he was killed by the North Vietnamese, but the U.S. continued his status as Missing In Action pending verification of death. Schott was carried Missing until Capt. Smith's debrief, at which time his status was changed to Killed In Action.

Since his return, Mark Smith has had a growing concern about Americans left behind in Southeast Asia. Smith remained in the Army Special Forces, and ultimately was promoted to the rank of major. In 1985, Smith and SFC Melvin McIntyre brought suit against the U.S. Government fot failing to comply with U.S. law in securing the freedom of American POWs in Southeast Asia. The two had been on a special assignment in Thailand, and had gathered substantial evidence that American POWs were still being held. Further, Smith and McIntyre claimed that this information, passed on to higher authority, had been "deep-sixed" and there had been no attempt or intent to act upon it.

Mark Smith, like many close to the POW/MIA issue, feels that his government has let the men down who proudly served their country. A patriot still, Smith has spent the years since filing the lawsuit in Thailand, in further attempts to secure the freedom of the men who were left behind.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep pushing this issue inside the Beltway... The need to get specific answers is more important now than ever before. If still alive, some MIAs are now in their 70s... They don't have much time left. We have to demand the answers from the bureaucrats and keep standing on their necks (figuratively speaking) until they get the message that THEY work for US and that we are serious about getting these long overdue responses. Diplomatic considerations aside... We can no longer allow questionable protocols established by pseudo-aristocratic armchair strategists, to determine or influence the fate of the men who were in the trenches while the diplomats were sharing sherry and canapes and talking about "Their Plans" for the future of SE Asia.

If you'd like to see what some others are doing in addition to writing their congressmen, senators and the Whitehouse, check out some of these sites:

Howard Lull's case seems unclear. He is listed as captured, and did not return with other released POWs in 1973. As reports mount that Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia, one must wonder if one of them is Howard Lull. If so, what must he be thinking of us?

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