OTSELIC – Army Sgt. Robert E. Simmons, known as “Skeeter” to his friends and family, was honored at a ceremony in Heuvelton, on Saturday, Sept. 16. Robert was one of many soldiers who were sent to Vietnam in the 1970s never to return. Although the United States Army has closed the file on Robert, the Simmons family still questions what really happened.
Robert attended school in Heuvelton, NY before graduating from DeRuyter High School in 1969. After high school, Robert joined the Army and was sent to Vietnam.
On March 29, 1972, Robert’s plane was shot down. It was 14 years before government officials went to the crash site to see what remains they could find, and when they did, the evidence they brought back was minimal. A single tooth was given to Robert’s mother, Rita Simmons, as proof that her son was dead. Rita and the rest of the Simmons family never accepted the government’s evidence.