DUNN, JOHN GALBREATH
Name: John Galbreath Dunn
Rank/Branch: O3/US Army
Date of Birth: 22 February 1943
Home City of Record:
Date of Loss: 18 March 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 113409N 1080234E (AN775805)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel in Incident: James M. Ray (captured - still missing)
Source: Compiled 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 in 2017.
REMARKS: 730212 RELEASED BY PRG
SYNOPSIS: On March 18, 1968, PFC James M. Ray and 1Lt. John G. Dunn were part
of a unit on a road clearing mission with Montagnard soldiers in Lam Dong
Province on Highway 20 in South Vietnam.
During the mission, both Ray and Dunn were captured by the Viet Cong and taken
to Cambodia for detention. Dunn was released in the general prisoner release
nearing the end of American involvement in Vietnam in 1973. Jimmy Ray did not
Ray, who had been wounded during his capture, was rotated within the "system"
of those POWs held in South Vietnam. He made escape attempts which infuriated
his captors and they beat him severely and confined him with chains. He was
awarded the Silver Star for gallantry for these escape attempts and resulting
In April 1969, an American POW who escaped from the camp where Ray was being
held with other POWs reported that Jimmy was alive and one of the healthiest of
the POWs both mentally and physically. Jimmy was held apart from the other
POWs, because of his attempts to escape.
In the summer of 1969, Jimmy became ill with malaria and reportedly died in
November 1969 at a detention camp in the northern Tay Ninh Province/Cambodia
area. Although there are "statements" attesting to Jimmy Ray's death, many
years would pass before Jimmy's father would be able to trace and personally
talk to POWs held with Jimmy. NOT ONE saw him dead - even those whose
"statements" were in Jimmy's files!
PFC Ray's records are a tangle of inconsistencies. His death was "reported"
when there was no witness, and this report was later retracted. A medal was
awarded for gallantry in an escape occurring after Jimmy was supposed to have
died. Stories have drifted in through unofficial sources that Jimmy became a
"good" prisoner and was held up as a role model for others - years AFTER he was
supposed to have died.
Jimmy's family feels there is a strong chance that he is alive today, but if
he is not, they know that the communist government of Vietnam certainly knows
the fate of PFC Jimmy Ray, who, in the words of one POW, "wanted more than
anything else to be free."
The Vietnamese state that Jimmy died on November 6, 1969, but have not produced
proof of his death or returned a body.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
JOHN G. DUNN
Captain - United States Army
Captured: March 18, 1968
Released: February 11, 1973
I was born in Hutchinson, Kansas on 22 February 1943 and I lived in Hutchinson
until I was 19 years old. I attended the Hutchinson public school system
through my freshman year in college at which time I transferred to the
University of Kansas. I was a political science major in the school of
education and most of my extra-curricular activities, non-social that is, were
in the political fields. I graduated from the University of Kansas in January
1966, and enlisted in the Army in February, 1966. I went to Basic Training and
Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Infantry OCS at
Fort Benning, Georgia. I was commissioned on the morning of 16 December 1966
and was married to my wife, Linda Sue, that afternoon. I attended two
intelligence courses at Fort Holabird, Maryland, and then was assigned to the
Ovanston Field Office, Region 1 of the 113th Ml Group. On 1 November 1967, I
arrived in South Vietnam and was assigned as the Intelligence Advisor in Di
Link District, Lam Dong Province. Not being satisfied with strictly
intelligence work, I went on combat operations when the opportunity presented
itself and while on one of those operations I was captured.
My mother and father, Florence and Harry Dunn reside in Hutchinson, Kansas and
my sister Mary lives in Denver, Colorado.
Capture and Captivity
On 18 March 1968 the Viet Cong set up a road block and ambushed the company I
was advising when we were approaching the road block to clear it. A Sergeant,
Private and myself were cut off with the lead platoon and my counterpart (the
company commander) disappeared. Pfc. Ray and I were wounded about thirty
seconds after the fire fight began and my Sgt. was hilled shortly after that.
I was wounded again by a hand grenade and about ten minutes after the fight
began, all the men in the lead platoon jumped up and surrendered leaving one
dead and two wounded Americans. After returning home, I learned that we were
ambushed by an estimated one battalion and that 18 ARVN were killed. The
soldiers who were captured (about 14), were released the same day with the
exception of the platoon leader.
The Viet Cong took us to one of their hospitals and we were given good
treatment considering the conditions they operated under. After leaving the
hospital, it took approximately 40 days to reach the prison camp. During that
time, we traveled with North Vietnamese units, guerillas and villagers who
carried supplies for the Viet Cong. At this time, there was little hostility
shown to us and it was not until we reached the prison camp that we
encountered the rigor often associated with POW camps. Our camp commander had
a more sophisticated approach in the treatment of POW's in that only
initially was I physically abused; rather, he seemed more interested in the
psychological aspects of conversion rather than the application of torture, to
obtain information, etc. Life most certainly was not easy and our diet was not
sufficient to maintain our health. Mentally, I adapted myself to the situation
and built it up in my mind to the point where life was easier to accept.
During those five years, I had nothing to do but sit and think (I lived alone
for two years) and during this time, I analyzed every aspect of my life and I
came to know myself quite well. I also spent a great deal of time thinking
about the war, the good aspects of it, the bad aspects of it and even more
deeply about the motivations for the actions that were taken. To me,
motivating factors are very important and one cannot truly analyze a situation
until he understands the motivating factors that stimulate actions which
create situations. Prison camps have taught me this and although the five
years I was in prison camps created a tremendous mental strain on my wife and
family (they had no communication with me), I cannot help but feel that I am a
better person because of it.
Like all POW's, I am extremely happy and very fortunate to be able to come
home. The simplicity of freedom of movement, of conversation and of sight is
something that I hope I will never take for granted again and I am grateful to
those Americans who in their own ways genuinely tried to help bring us home.
John Dunn retired from the United States Army as Colonel.
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