A Tribute to Craig Mitchell Dix

By Bob Anderson
(This story is a reprint from the book Sarge, What Now?)

A long time ago, a kid left Livonia, Michigan. He went to war. He was probably a lot like me I guess, although I never met him but he has been a part of my life daily since 1975.

In 1975, I was stationed at Clark AB, when the last Americans and a host of Vietnamese left Viet Nam. Clark had been the reception point for the returning POWs. One of my brother Cops had the wonderful opportunity to give his to the person named on the bracelet.

Most everyone was wearing POW/MIA bracelets at Clark in ’75. My guy’s name was Spec. Craig M. Dix.

The date was simply 3/17/71. Over the years, my body chemistry ate the bracelet. I had one made out of stainless steel.

Eventually the day-to-day wear resulted in so many scratches the name was unreadable. Over the years I had 3 or 4 made. When I got to go to the Wall the first time, it was in 1996, I left the bracelet at the wall for Craig. There I found out he was listed KIA and he was from Livonia, Michigan.

After about six weeks, I could not take it any longer. I felt naked without the bracelet. I contacted a Veterans group and asked specifically about him.

When the new bracelet arrived, I found he had been promoted from Specialist to Staff Sergeant. I never knew Craig. I finally saw a picture of him. I have never met any of his family or friends.

Should any of you that knew him read this book, know that someone else somewhere else remembers your son, your brother, your friend, your loved one.

He is damn sure not forgotten!

The information below is provided with permission to print from

Craig Mitchell Dix
Staff Sergeant
Army of the United States
05 December 1949 – 27 October 1978
Livonia, Michigan
Panel 04W Line 054

In the aftermath of Operation Lam Son 719 (Feb 1971), combat operations were conducted in areas of Cambodia adjacent to the South Vietnamese border. Like Lam Son, air transport and cover were provided by U.S. forces, while SVN Army forces conducted the ground operations.

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 conflicting 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.
May this tribute honor all who made the ultimate sacrifice for our continued freedom and liberty.

God bless,
Bob, Sharon and Pam

18 thoughts on “A Tribute to Craig Mitchell Dix

  1. Craig was my husband’s “Big Brother”; I cannot tell you how much he misses Craig. I never knew him, but my heart aches whenever we visit the Memorial in Monroe, and I see tears well up in my husband’s eyes. A few years ago, I had a special granite plaque made with Craig’s information and a picture. My husband cried when he saw it, but was so happy to have a lasting memorial of Craig.

    • I recently found my MIA bracelet for Spec 5 Craig Dix. If his brother is still alive would appreciate, even at this late date, to thank him for his brother’s service. I cannot imagine the pain of never knowing what happened to a loved one.

    • I still wear Craig’s MIA bracelet. I have had it since 1972, and I’ve only taken it off for a couple of surgeries I’ve had. The story of his helicopter crash and escape, then not to be seen again makes me cry. God bless him for his service to our country and may he rest in peace.

  2. As I was going through my basement tub of things I’ve saved over the decades, I came upon my copper MIA bracelet with SPEC. 5 CRAIG DIX 3-17-71 engraved on it. I was sad to read the story above, ending with his PFOD. I thought I would post this just by way of letting some know he was never forgotten. Even though I haven’t worn the now broken in half bracelet for many years I’ve never forgotten his name written on it. Peace to you.

  3. In the 70’s I had a bracelet for Spec 5 Craig Dix and wore it until it broke in half. In 1997 I went with my daughter’s girl scout troop to Washington DC for a field trip. When we visited the Vietnam Memorial I stopped at an outside souvenier stand that had a basket of POW/MIA bracelets. The first one I picked up was for SSG Craig DIx… a miracle? Diving intervention? I have worn it ever since. I think of him and the sacrifice he made for our country… I also pray for peace and healing for his family.

  4. To Sara and her family.
    I too, wore me bracelet with Craig Dix name on it. My brother was a chopper pilot in Vietnam. Wearing this bracelet was so important to me in hopes he would be found alive to come home. I want his brother to know that there were many of us who prayed for him and his comrades in hopes that he would come home. I still have my bracelet. It was something I valued so much so that it will go to my children and grandchildren. Unless your family wants to have it. If that is the case, I will happily accommodate the request. Craig Dix was a very courageous man and I honor his spirit to this day. Many blessings to your family.
    Sincerely, Teri Lucero

  5. Craig was my first cousin. My fathers, sisters son. I was around 4 when he was left. I do not remember him very well since I was so young except the day I went with my mom and him to St.Louis airport to send him off. Aunt Micky and Uncle Walter drove him down to our house in Taylorville, Il from Livonia It was a long drive to our house and he had to leave early so we took him the rest of the way. I have a very clear memory of him and I think God wanted me to take a mental picture of him even though it’s a bit weird. I was coming down the stairs that morning and he was asleep in the front room on our pull out couch. He didn’t have a shirt on and his arms were over his head. He looked so peaceful. I do not know why that’s my imprint of him. I do remember going to the pool a few times with him, vaguely. My Aunt worked tirelessly with the Gov’t trying to find him. She died believing he was still alive. I wish I had more to tell you. I’m just glad I have that memory and for whatever reason…it stuck.

  6. I, like Kay, also am a cousin of Craig’s. His mother was my Grandma’s sister. I was 10 when he was reported missing. I have some memories of him too. He came to our house in Ypsilanti to have my Dad take him to some restaurants in Ann Arbor for prom dinner ideas. My Dad was Craig’s older first cousin. My Aunt Mickey(Craig’s mom) worked hard trying to find out what happened to him, she even had the late Bob Talbert from the Detroit Free Press writing articles about her quest. I too hope for answers, I do know they they recovered one of Craig’s crewmates remains within the last 20 years. There is always that hollow spot in my family’s heart not knowing where Craig went and what may have happened to him. I am almost 60 now still hope something, anything will be released or found on Craig. We will always, never forget.

  7. I am Craig’s youngest niece. My mother was Cherie Dix-Livy.
    I can not thank you all enough for never forgetting my amazing Uncle.
    He will never be forgotten

  8. I wore my POW/MIA bracelet engraved with the name Craig Dix. The lettering eventually became illegible.
    Over 30 years ago I found an address of Craig’s parents in Michigan. My letter let them know I prayed every day their beloved son would be found. Mrs. Dix wrote back and included a picture of Craig. I have never forgotten Craig, and always think of him each Memorial Day, and many other days. Thanks to this post, I now know what happened to him. God’s Peace. Gone but never forgotten.

  9. I received a copperMitchell Craig in 1974 and wore through high school and man years after with so much hope. Am 63 now and recently discovered in a box packed away long ago. Will now probably wear for the rest of my life. He was important part of my daily life during my younger life and have never forgotten him. My love to the many others.

  10. I came across a bracelet engraved SPEC5 Craig Dix, 3-17-71 at an estate sale a few months back and bought it for $1. I did not want it to go in the trash so I took it home with me. It is well worn, and if anyone whom was close to Craig wants to have it, please let me know.

  11. I also wore a bracelet with Craig’s name for many years in high school. It broke a long time ago and I hadn’t thought about Craig in years until today. I was listening to a song about freedom on this eve of Independence Day and I Googled him. I guess I always wished he had found his way home. Going forward I will always think of him on Independence Day and thank him for his sacrifice for our freedom.

  12. i have worn craigs pow bracelet for fifty years now; he is remembered daily i hope for the day he returns the government sent him to war; they have a duty to bring him home, to family and friends and all of us that have cared over the years
    peace be with you Craig

  13. Just wondering if Craig’s dad was a truck driver.He gave me a bracelet and ask me to pray for his son.I wore his bracelet till it broke. Still think about him and wondering if ever made it home

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