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Born on June 15, 1947
Missing In Action Jan. 8, 1968
Status (in 1973): Missing
December 1978, he was declared dead/body not recovered
September 26, 2007 DNA from Richard Fischer's family was found to match remains found in 1996

Panel 33E - - Line 84

Richard William Fischer

LCpl. Richard William Fischer served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Mike Company. His name stands proudly on the Mike 3/5 Wall of Honor. Semper Fi, Brother Marine. We will never forget.

On January 8, 1968, Lance Corporal Richard Fischer was with an M Co. 3/5 ambush team in Dien Ban District, south of Da Nang City, Quang Nam Province. He left the ambush site and never returned. Despite a massive manhunt by his fellow Marines, LCpl. Fischer was never found. Rumors were heard of an American in that area being captured, but no one could officially confirm it and Richard Fischer was officially listed as Missing In Action. In December 1978, he was declared dead/body not recovered.

Richard Fischer in front of Mike Co. "Weapons" sign
(picture courtesy of Anne Fischer)

Richard William Fischer
(picture courtesy of Anne Fischer)

My brother, Dick Fischer

My name is Ann Fischer, the sister of Richard Fischer. His remains were recovered from Viet Nam in 1996 but have remained unidentifiable until technology was such that a very small sample of DNA could be tested. My daughter and I were notified on September 26, 2007 that our DNA was a match to those remains found in 1996. Praise be to God our nightmare has finally ended. Thank you to all who have wore his MIA bracelet so faithfully, I can not express my gratitude enough. We will be bringing Dick home and celebrating his life November 19, 2007 in our hometown, Madison, Wi.

According to testimony of the villagers and the woman who enticed Dick away, he was shot when he discovered that they (He and the two women) were being followed by the Viet Cong. They hid Dick's body from the search teams for about 3 days and then buried his body in a field that they cultivated. Over the years the field flooded approximately 3 times, each time bones would be unsurfaced. These were thrown into the river that ran next to the field. One report did say the village chief had his skull and jacket for a while but then got rid of it in the river. All this information was gleaned years after the war when search teams investigated "incidents of loss" all over Viet Nam. The team came across the woman 20 years later as she entered a refugee camp and the story she gave matched what the villagers had testified. On one such visit to the village, some of the villagers showed the team where Dick's burial had taken place. In 1996, the site was excavated. 15 pieces of bone and two buttons were discovered. When the team member went to place 13 of the pieces into a baggie, they fell to dust. Two small pieces remained intact. In 1996, the DNA testing required a larger sample than what the team had retrieved so a positive ID has not been possible until the technology had been improved.

Early this spring the Defence Department, Marine Division, contacted my daughter who then, contacted me. They asked us to supply a mitochondrial DNA sample to compare to the sample from the remains. They were 99% sure the bone fragments belonged to Dick but needed the sample to make a certain determination and close his case. Both my daughter and I sent our samples to be tested. The end of 39 years of uncertainty was close at hand which made the waiting almost more than I could bear at times. After months of waiting, last Tuesday I received the call. Unfortunately, I was in class and turned off the phone quickly and did not pick up the voice mail until it was too late to call. I called early Wednesday morning (Sept. 26, 2007) and was told by Casualty Officer Hattie Brown that the tests were a match. I started to contact family and friends who contacted others and that is how I came to write to you. I can bring my brother home, thanks be to God!

The Memorial/Funeral service for Dick is scheduled for November 19 at 11:00 a.m. with "visitation" or greetings at 10:00 a.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 E. Gorham Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703. Please do map quest as I am not able to think clearly enough to give directions to anyone. One reason I chose that time is I have the week off from school for Thanksgiving break. Another and more personal reason is to redeem Thanksgiving for me. Our last family gathering before Dick left for Viet Nam was Thanksgiving. During the meal the adults started to question Dick's decision to go to Nam (he probably never would have been shipped over except for his desire to serve). An argument ensued with Dick storming out of the house. I can bring my brother back home again which is cause for celebration and the circle will be completed, thanks be to God!~Anne Fischer


Richard William Fischer
(picture courtesy of Anne Fischer)

Welcome Home Marine

I have been waiting to greet you after all these years. See you in November, my friend. Take care and enjoy your Liberty Call. Semper Fi~Michael "Turk" Wears