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|Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK|
|REMARKS: PROG DEAD - 660204 ON PRG DIC LIST|
|SYNOPSIS: Capt. Orien J. Walker, Jr. was an advisor to the South Vietnamese and attached to Headquarters, MACV. He was working with an ARVN unit on May 23, 1965 in An Xuyen Province, about 10 miles northwest of the city of Quan Long when the unit was ambushed and he was captured by the Viet Cong. For the next year, Walker was held in several POW camps throughout South Vietnam.|
captured in South Vietnam, daily life could be expected to be brutally difficult.
Primarily, these men suffered from disease induced by an unfamiliar and inadequate diet -
dysentery, edema, skin fungus and eczema. The inadequate diet coupled with inadequate
medical care led to the deaths of many. Besides dietary problems, these POWs had other
problems as well. They were moved regularly to avoid being in areas that would be detected
by U.S. troops, and occasionally found themselves in the midst of U.S. bombing strikes.
Supply lines to the camps were frequently cut off, and when they were, POWs and guards
alike suffered. Unless they were able to remain in one location long enough to grow
vegetable crops and tend small animals, their diet was limited to rice and what they could
gather from the jungle.
In addition to the primitive lifestyle imposed on these men, their Viet Cong guards could be particularly brutal in their treatment. For any minor infraction, including conversation with other POWs, the Americans were psychologically and physically tortured. American POWs brought back stories of having been buried to the neck; held for days in a cage with no protection from insects and the environment; having had water and food withheld; being shackled and beaten. The effects of starvation and torture frequently resulted in hallucinations and extreme disorientation. Men were reduced to animals, relying on the basic instinct of survival as their guide.
Walker was seen by other Americans in POW camps, and several reported that he was in very bad shape. One day he was removed from the camp and never returned. The POWs were told he was taken to a hospital and he died. At least one returnee stated that he died of starvation. The Vietnamese informed the U.S. that Walker died February 4, 1966. They have made no effort to return his remains.
In the fall of 1985, a CIA document was declassified which contained drawings of a Viet Cong detention center which held U.S. servicemen in 1969 prior to their being sent north to Hanoi. It was located just 20 miles southwest of Camp Eagle, a major American base near Hue, South Vietnam. In the document were greatly detailed drawings, lists of personnel and lists of U.S. servicemen identified from photographs. Orien Walker's name was on a list of possible identifications. Along with Walker's were the names of several POWs who were released in 1973. One of them has verified the authenticity of the report as far as the camp itself is concerned.
The document was obtained by a private citizen who had obtained it through the Freedom of Information Act. The family of one man on the "positive" list had never been told there was even the remotest possibility that he had been captured. The Defense Department maintains that the report was a fabrication, because the source could not have known what he reported, even though much of it has been verified by returned POWs who were held there.
Since the war ended, and 591 Americans were released from prison camps in Vietnam, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government intelligence analysts have correlated over 80% of the data to Americans who have been returned. Therefore, a very high percentage of it is true and verifiable. Many officials, having reviewed this largely classified information have reluctantly concluded that hundreds of them are still alive in captivity today. Since no one actually saw Orien Walker die, and the Vietnamese have not made any attempt to return any remains, perhaps he could be one of those said to be alive today. If so, what must he think of us?
Sun Feb 01 1998
Orien J. Walker died in the arms of Nick Rowe, twenty-eight days after being transferred into Rowe's camp. Rowe called him "Tim Barker" in Five Years to Freedom to protect his identity. CPT Walker died of starvation and disease, and inability to respond to hand feeding by Nick Rowe. I recommend that you delete any references in Walker's synopsis to a POW camp in Hue, because he was never in that area. He had been captured in the Delta region; and kept as a POW in a group of ARVNs for a year before being transferred to Rowe's camp.
|Thanks to Ron Fleischer.|
|"All Biographical and loss information on POWs provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET. Please check with POWNET regularly for updates."|
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