Earl Roger Riggs
Earl Roger Biggs was born March 23, 1932, in Concho, West Virginia, the son of Van and Leona Harris Biggs. He was a graduate of Clear Fork High School and joined the United States Army in 1950, attaining the rank of sergeant while serving in Korea. After his Korean service, he worked for General Motors in Cleveland and was later an employee of Itmann Coal Company.
In 1957, Biggs reenlisted in the Army. He spent much of his time in the military at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but served two tours of duty in Vietnam. During his second tour, he was with the Fifth Special Forces Group as an advisor to the Vietnamese Strike Force.
On January 16, 1968, Sergeant Biggs was an advisor on a “search and destroy” mission in the area known as the “Plain of Reeds” near Phuoc Tay. According to the citation accompanying the Silver Star that he was awarded posthumously, the unit was divided into two elements. One was to “sweep the objective” while the other, led by Sergeant Biggs, was to cover their advance. They were ambushed by an estimated two battalions of Viet Cong. During the ensuing fire fight, there were heavy casualties and Sergeant Biggs braved intense enemy fire to aid wounded comrades. As the Viet Cong launched a “human wave” attack, Sergeant Biggs’s troops threw down their weapons but Biggs refused to withdraw. He was last seen “gallantly defending his [wounded] comrade and position against hopeless odds.”
|Earl Biggs was at first listed as missing and it was reported, as cited in the book Green Berets at War by Shelby Stanton, that he had been captured by the Viet Cong and executed, though this could not be confirmed. In 1978 he was declared killed in action. His remains were later indentified through the use of forensics and returned to the United States. On January 23, 1990, he was interred at Palm Memorial Gardens in Matheny.|
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history. For more information contact Constance Baston at (304) 558-0230.
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