Army searches for family of Royal Oak Vietnam vet
Royal Oak – The U.S. Army is searching for the family of a Royal Oak man killed in the Vietnam War who will be honored at a memorial in May.
Robert Townsend was 29 when he was fatally shot in 1965 in South Vietnam while a sergeant with the Army Security Agency, the Daily Tribune reported .
The National Security Agency plans to honor Townsend at the Memorial Wall in Fort Meade, Maryland.
The Intelligence and Security Command’s History Department has asked Lonnie Long and Gary Blackburn to look for Townsend’s family. Long and Blackburn wrote a book about the Army Security Agency and Vietnam.
The Army Security Agency operated from 1945 to 1976. Its soldiers were trained in military intelligence and tracked and interpreted military communications.
“He would have been a bright young man,” Long said. “He would have tested in the top 10 percent of all the recruits in the U.S. Army.”
Townsend joined the army after graduating from Royal Oak High School in 1954, Long said. Townsend married Mary Edwards, with whom he had three children.
A search of Royal Oak’s local records revealed little about Townsend, said Mike Frentz of the Royal Oak Historical Society. Frentz was able to find Townsend’s graduation picture in a yearbook.
“I looked for any other information there might have been in the yearbook on him, but there is nothing,” Frentz said. “We don’t have much on the veterans from the Korean and Vietnam wars like we do with World War II vets.”
Townsend is listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.