Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Facebook page tells me another cousin was KIA in Viet Nam

Yesterday I wrote a blog post that featured Kent Amerine as one of the Barton County, Kansas residents who lost his life in the Viet Nam war. I showed my connection to Kent through cousins. Today, the page featured Carl Frederick Karst. I knew by the name that I was probably related to Carl, but I was never personally acquainted with him. My research reveals my Cousin Connection to another valiant soldier who gave his life for our freedom. 
This was posted on the Barton County Kansas Facebook page today.
A donation was made to Barton County to honor five Vietnam vets that were either Killed or Missing in Action. Barton County learned that there were six men in these categories. They included Carl Frederick Karst. Having come from Galatia, Karst was born October 27, 1930. His name will be engraved on Stone II at the Golden Belt Veterans Memorial as a result of the donation.
We know that Karst was a Colonel in the Air Force and was lost in Pleiku Province, South Vietnam, on February 8, 1974. Information compiled from various sources –
On November 16, 1968, (then) Major Carl F. Karst, pilot, and Captain Nguyen X. Quy, VNAF observer, departed Pleiku in an O1F on a visual reconnaissance mission over South Vietnam. At 1640 hours (4:40 p.m.), shortly after takeoff, Karst reported that his position was two nautical miles east of Pleiku, and that he was proceeding with his mission. When subsequent attempts to raise Karst by radio failed, a search began.
The search continued for three days without success. Karst was classified Missing in Action.
A few months later, a Vietnamese informer reported information given him by a NVA/VC propaganda team that Karst's aircraft was shot down by small arms fire and the Vietnamese observer was killed. The informer stated that Karst evaded to the south, but was captured and executed in a village in northern Phu Bon Province. The informant did not witness any of these events. The report was considered inaccurate because the NVA/VC team was known for coloring stories to impress the local population, and because Karst was very knowledgeable of the location of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese units in the area. Those who knew Karst agreed that he would not have evaded to the south, but rather to the west where he knew he might reach friendly forces and safety.
In December 1983, a refugee turned over two bone fragments and a rubbing of a metal ID tag bearing Karst's name to U.S. officials in Malaysia. He stated that he had been given the remains and rubbing by a Buddhist monk in 1981. The refugee was told that the remains were among 7 American remains recovered at an unspecified location in the Central Highlands.
By 1984, U.S. officials had received a series of reports from eight separate sources reported information concerning the alleged remains and dog tags of Karst. Four provided information solely on Karst, while the other four sources related Karst's name to other Army personnel who had returned from Vietnam at the end of their tours…
….Vietnamese officials turned over Col. Karst's remains in 1989, but they were not identified until last month by the Army's Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. He was survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
…His remains were returned to this country, were positively identified, and a burial was arranged. On a golden autumn morning Friday at Arlington National Cemetery, the moment for that last salute finally arrived. Karst's wife and their three children now adults with children of their own watched as Karst's flag-draped casket was solemnly carried by horse-drawn caisson to be buried on American soil. Four US Air Force F-16 jets roared overhead in the Missing Man formation...
…Karst's dedication is reflected in his military honors, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He was a 14-year Air Force veteran when his reconnaissance plane was shot down in 1968. He was officially listed as missing in action until 1974, when military authorities changed his legal status to killed in action. His body was returned by Vietnam in 1989…
A quick look at my database revealed that Carl is my third cousin twice removed, as this chart shows.
I often hear negative comments about Facebook and the reasons people won't use it. But in just the last two days I've learned that one of the young men from my hometown who gave his life in Viet Nam while protecting my freedom was a cousin of my cousin, and another young man who experienced the same thing was actually my cousin. I'd have never become aware of that if I was not reading the posts on Facebook! I'm obviously learning more about my family, my cousins, and ancestors daily. The news isn't always pleasant, but it expands the family tree that I'm aware of and makes my time on Facebook very worthwhile!

1 comment:

Michelle Ganus Taggart said...

It's great to get details about someone's life, but even a picture is fabulous! I agree about Facebook. It has helped me so much in connecting with others. I started a FB group for known descendants of a particular line and initially was aware of about 5 is all. But each of them were aware of others and now our group has over 40 members! The pictures and stories that have come from that group have been fabulous! I guess we find what we are looking for!