January 1968

Viet-Cong Raiders Kill 3 U.S. Civilians
January 1968

19 Guerrillas Die.

    Saigon Viet Cong guerrillas seized a provincial capital 21 miles northwest of Saigon and 10 miles from Cambodia's border early today and held it for three hours, killing three American civilians.
    The attack on Kheim Cuong, capital of Hau Nghia Province, was the second raid by Communist troops on a government center close to Saigon in three days.
    A government spokesman said about 700 guerrillas stormed Khelm Cuong behind a barrage of several hundred mortar rounds.
    The three Americans killed were members of the Agency of Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support.
    Fifteen Americans were wounded. They were civilians and military advisers to the local militia.
    One officer said the 3 a.m. attack seemed chiefly aimed at the Americans' compound.
    The Viet-Cong pulled out at 5:50 a.m. and evaded three battalions of government troops converging on the village from bivouac areas three to five miles away.
    The guerrillas left behind 19 dead. Five guerrillas were captured, the spokesman said. Two of the captives were wounded.
    The spokesman said nine policemen were killed and 10 were wounded, at least four civilians were killed and 16 wounded, and the garrison of some 100 militiamen suffered moderate casualties. Ten houses were destroyed.
    The Guerrillas succeeded in hanging a large Viet-Cong flag on the wall of a military compound, but it was quickly shot away. Khiem Cuong, which is 10 miles east of the Cambodian border, was attacked by the 269th Viet-Cong Battalion reinforced by a battalion of guerrillas.
    United States helicopter gunships sailed into the fight 15 minutes after the attack began, and within half an hour a United States AC47 Dragonship was overhead dropping flares.
    Battalions of the Sound Vietnamese 25th Division arrived after the raiders withdrew. They set up blocking forces within a mile of the village, but the government spokesman said no contact was reported. (Seattle Times, Seattle WA, 8 Jan 1968)

Bellevue Man Dies in Vietnam On Day Tour as Adviser Ends
January 1968
Linh Long Vietnam
Foreign Service

Frederick Abramson

Bellevue Man Dies in Vietnam On Day Tour as Adviser Ends
    Frederick Abramson, 26, of Bellevue, the youngest American deputy province adviser in the Mekong Delta, was killed in a Viet-Cong ambush Friday.
    Abramson, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Abramson, 4964 116th Place S. E., was killed when the Viet-Cong ambushed a military convoy in Vinh Long province. Four American soldiers also were killed.
    Abramson arrived in Vietnam 5 Jul 66, for an 18-month tour that ended last Friday. He requested a six-month extension but had hoped to get Home for a leave before his extension began, his father said.
    Born here, Abramson graduated from Roosevelt High School and received a bachelor of arts degree from Stanford University in 1964. He received a master's degree at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
    A brother, Ron, in the Peace Corps in Ghana, is expected Home today. Surviving also is another brother, Craig, a student at Western Washington State College. (Seattle Times, Seattle WA, 9 Jan 1968)

Marine Helicopter Rams Slope in VN; 41 Aboard; No Sign of Life
January 1968

unknown civilian

Marine Helicopter Rams Slope in VN; 41 Aboard; No Sign of Life By Robert D. Ohman Saigon (AP)
    A big U.S. Marine helicopter crashed into a mountain south of the demilitarized zone five days ago and all 41 Americans aboard are feared killed, the U.S. Command reported today.
    Rescue parties were waiting for the weather to improve before setting out for the rugged crash site. If they found all the men on the craft dead, it would be the worst helicopter disaster of the war.
    Pending further reports, the U.S. Command listed as missing the five-man Marine crew and 36 passengers - 31 Marines, three Navy men, one Army man and a civilian employe of the Army's post exchange system.
    Viet Cong guerrillas are known to operate in the area and the command declined to give a detailed report on the crash because, it said, "additional information might endanger the lives of the survivors, if there are any."
    The command said the hump-backed CH53 helicopter, the largest troop-carrying type, operating in South Vietnam, crashed Monday night on a trip from Dong Ha, 11 miles south of the DMZ to Phu Bai, 49 miles farther south. One spokesman said poor weather was a factor in the crash.
    The wreckage was spotted Friday morning by an observation plane. An Air Force rescue helicopter hovered over the site for a few minutes but had to leave because of worsening weather. The rescue crew reported no sign of life on the ground.
    Hampered by Fog A Marine spokesman in Da Nang said fighter-bombers have blasted a small landing zone in the overhanging forest. But efforts to get rescuers in by ground or air were thwarted by rain and fog.
    One officer said the CH53 helicopter had slammed into the side of a peak so steep that rescuers might have to lower themselves to the wreckage on ropes. ... end of portion of article on Helicopter ( Tacoma News Tribune, Tacoma WA 13 Jan 1968)

Renton Man Killed In Delta Trap
January 1968
Mekong Delta Vietnam

Arnold A. Isaacson,

Howard W. Andree,

Khun Sik Song

Lester D. Pierce

Renton Man Killed In Delta Trap. Arnold A. Isaacson, 34, of Renton, chief of production control for Pacific Architects & Engineers, Inc., was killed yesterday in a land-mine explosion in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Isaacson and Howard W. Andree, 47, of Sacramento, who works for the same firm, died when a pickup truck in which they were riding, struck a mine on a road between My Tho and Dong Tam. Isaacson, who lived at 16024 123rd Ave. S. E. Renton, is survived by his wife, Betty Louise, two daughters and a stepdaughter. Terrorists also critically wounded another employe of the firm, Khun Sik Song, a Korean. He lost his left leg and suffered head and internal injuries when a grenade booby trap exploded at the entrance to his apartment in Da Nang. (Seattle Times, Seattle WA, 23 Jan 68)

Blast Kills Renton Man. Saigon (AP) -
    Two American civilians were killed by a Viet Cong road mine and a Korean civilian working for the same firm was critically wounded in a separate terrorist attack.
    The Americans were Arnold A. Issacson, 34, of Renton Wa, and Howard W. Andree, 47, of Sacramento CA, U.S. spokesmen said. They worked for Pacific Architects and Engineers, Inc.
    Spokesmen said the two were killed Monday when a pickup truck in which they were driving struck a mine on a road between My Tho and Dong Tam, in the Mekong Delta.
    The Korean, Khun Sik Song lost his left leg and suffered head and internal injuries when a grenade booby trap exploded Tuesday morning at the entrance to his apartment in Da Nang. The grenade was rigged to go off when Song opened his door as he left for work.
    Another employe of the firm, Lester D. Pierce, 53, of Vista CA, was machine-gunned to death on 30 Dec (1967) after terrorists stopped his vehicle in Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, with a grenade.
    Isaacson, chief of production control for the firm, is survived by his widow, Betty Louise, two daughters and a stepdaughter.
    Andree, a sanitation supervisor, is survived by his widow, Eleanor, and two daughters, Carolyn and Delores. The daughters live in Honolulu. (Oregonian, Portland OR, 24 Jan 1968)

U.S. Volunteer Worker Is Killed by Viet Cong
January 1968

David Gitelson

U.S. Volunteer Worker Is Killed by Viet Cong. Washington [AP]
    International Volunteers Service reported yesterday that one of its workers in Vietnam had been captured and killed by the Viet Cong.
    He was David Gitelson, 26, the son of Mr.. and Mrs.. Milton Gitelson of Beverly Hills CA.
    Gitelson was reported captured and slain Friday near Hue Doc, An Giang Province, in the Mekong Delta area where he had served as village development worker 22 months.
    International Volunteer Services said Gitelson had been described in publications as a "loner, who carries his worldly possessions in a wheat sack" and who was known to the Vietnamese as "the poor American."
    His death came the evening after a distinguished service award granted by Macalester College, was received on his behalf in St. Paul MN.
    Gitelson had completed his military service and was a student at the University of California at Davis when he joined the civilian organization which sponsors social improvement efforts in Vietnam. (Seattle Times, Seattle WA, 28 Jan 1968)

Seattle Seaman Killed in Saigon Battle
31 Jan 1968

Michael C. Miller

Seattle Seaman Killed in Saigon Battle Michael C. Miller, 28, of 616 NW 83rd St., a merchant-marine seaman, was killed 31 Jan (1968), the State Department has announced. Miller was injured fatally as he was caught in a cross-fire during fighting between United States troops and enemy Vietnamese in front of the American Embassy in Saigon. Miller was a seaman for the Columbia Banker's Steamship Co., for which he had worked since 1961. Miller was born in Seattle, He attended Juanita Elementary School and James Monroe Junior High School. He graduated from high school in Oregon and served in the Army from 1956 to 1958. Surviving are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carl M. Miller and a sister, Bonnie Miller, 13. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Mittelstadt chapel. Burial will be in Holyrood. (Seattle Times, Seattle WA, 16 Feb 1968)

6 U S Missionaries Slain by Viet Cong.
February 1968

Carolyn Griswold

Rev. C. Edward Thompson

Mrs. Ruth Thompson

Miss Ruth Wilting

Robert Ziemer

6 U S Missionaries Slain by Viet Cong. Saigon (UP)
    The Viet Cong killed at least six American missionaries in an attack on the Central highlands town of Ban Me Thuot this week and kidnapped several others, it was reported today.
    First reports on the killings were telephoned to New York by a military chaplain who said five were killed and an American civilian kidnapped. He said the whereabouts of several others were unknown.
    Additional details came today from Mrs. Marie Ziemer, formerly of Toledo OH, whose husband Robert, 49, was killed. Mrs. Ziemer, badly wounded, telephoned her report to Saigon from Nha Trang where she was flown to a United States military hospital.
    Franklin Irwin, chairman of the Vietnam Mission of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, said Mrs. Ziemer told him that one of the dead was Carolyn Griswold, 41, whose father Leon C. Griswold, 66, formerly of Orlando FL. and White Plains NY also was killed.
    Early Reports had said Miss Griswold was seriously wounded.
    The other victims were the Rev. C. Edward Thompson, 43, formerly of New Kensington PA., and his wife Ruth, 44, who was born in Vietnam, and Miss Ruth Wilting, 42, of Cleveland, a nurse at the mission leprosarium in Ban Me Thout.
    The leprosarium has more than 2,000 patients and their fate is not known, Irwin said. It was built in 1957 at the mission the church has operated there since 1938.
    Ban Me Thout was overrun Tuesday by a Viet Cong offensive that struck towns and cities from one end of South Vietnam to the other. (Seattle Times, Seattle WA, 2 Feb 1968)

Retired Major Praises Slain U.S. Missionary. By Julie Emery
    A retired Seattle Army Major yesterday described the Rev. Robert Ziemer, one of six missionaries killed by the Viet Cong in a Central Highlands village raid, as a selfless, dedicated man "unafraid to put his life in jeopardy."
    William J. Bishop said Mr. Ziemer, 49, never took political considerations into account when native tribesmen sought help from the leprosy mission station at the village of Ban Me Thout in South Vietnam.
    "He never asked whether or not the patients were Viet Cong." Bishop who formerly was assigned to the village area, explained. "He put his obligation to his religion ahead of everything else.
    A former Seattle nurse, Betty Jean Olsen, 32, was captured in the raid in which the mission's leporsarium eight miles from the village was destroyed.
    Bishop, 40, of 2524 11th Ave W., was assigned as an intelligence advisor to the Vietnamese infantry at Ban Me Thout in 1962 when three missionaries were kidnapped from the leprosarium by the Viet Cong. The three have not been heard from since.
    "We closed the leporsarium for six months and had the missionaries move into the village," Bishop recalled.
    The leporsarium had a general treatment center and a maternity wing.
    The Rev. Gail Fleming, a Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary on furlough here from Pleiku, said yesterday he believes Miss Olsen had been assigned to the area about three years.
    Mr. Fleming said it is not clear whether the slaying and capture of Miss Olsen took place at the leprosarium or at the village mission center. The mission's leprosy work was conducted in three provinces.
    Mr. Fleming, who also praised Mr. Ziemer, said he was a teacher in the mission Bible school and worked as a translator.
    Mr. Fleming said, Ban Me Thout always was "lightly held." "The mission was on the edge of town and always was vulnerable." he added. (Seattle Times, 4 Feb 1968)

Combat Photographer Dies
March 4, 1968
News Week Magazine

 Robert J. Ellston 

Killed March 4 when the U.S. transport plane he was in was shot down by North Vietnamese ground fire. He was on assignment for Newsweek, which ran a spread of his photos the week he died. The magazine called it a monument to a great and fearless photographer. He was 24.

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