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[Spacer] [Army - .8K] Orien Judson Walker, Jr.
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[POW - .3K]  Died In Captivity - 1966   [POW - .3K] 

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  • Name: Orien Judson Walker, Jr.
  • Rank/Branch: O3/US Army
    (Promoted to O4 while in Missing status.)
  • Unit: Headquarters, MACV
  • Date of Birth: 27 September 1933
  • Home City of Record: Boston MA
  • Date of Loss: 23 May 1965
  • Country of Loss: South Vietnam
  • Loss Coordinates: 092100N 1050500E (WR098325)
  • Status (in 1973): Died in Captivity/Body Not Recovered
  • Category: 1
  • Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
  • Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

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    [Up - .1K] [Spacer] SYNOPSIS [Spacer] [Down  - .1K]

    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 26,
    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.

    For Americans 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?

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