FERGUSON, WALTER J. JR.
Name: Walter J. Ferguson, Jr. Rank/Branch: E6/US Army Unit: Company D, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 1st Infantry Division Date of Birth: 13 August 1947 (Hampton SC) Home City of Record: New York NY Date of Loss: 23 August 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 115051N 1063647E (XU757101) Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Other Personnel In Incident: none missing Refno: 1260
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 1998.
REMARKS: 7005 DIC - ON PRG DIC LIST
SYNOPSIS: SSgt. Walter Ferguson was captured in Binh Long Province, South Vietnam, while his unit was engaging Viet Cong forces on August 23, 1968. He was held in captivity with other U.S. prisoners who were repatriated in 1973 until June 1970 when he was reportedly killed in an escape attempt at a POW camp in Cambodia. The Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) list provided in Paris in 1973 states that Ferguson died in captivity in May 1970.
The guards at the camp where Ferguson was held called him "Wa". If Ferguson was actually killed in an escape attempt, these guards probably also buried him or oversaw the burial. There is no doubt that the Vietnamese know where his body lies.
Ferguson is one of about 100 who were known to have been prisoner of war and remain unaccounted for. He is among nearly 2500 missing. Of the others, some were teammates of known prisoners, some were alive and in good health as they described their imminent capture to search teams.
All details of Walter Ferguson's mission and captivity are still classified for unspecified reasons. Detractors say it is this policy of classification that inspires doubt and distrust in the issue of the fates of those still missing.
Evidence mounts that hundreds of these missing men are actually alive in the hands of a long-ago enemy. To date, U.S. efforts have not resulted in the return of a single living American POW. Yet, by 1989, U.S. intent is clearly to let bygones be bygones. When we signed peace agreements in 1973, military experts expressed dismay that "some hundreds" of POWs expected to be released were not. In our haste to leave Southeast Asia, we abandoned our best men. In our haste to return, will we sign their death warrants?
From: Senate Select Committee Report 1993:
South Vietnam Walter Ferguson (1260)
On August 23, 1968, Private First Class Ferguson, a member of the 25th Infantry Division, was captured east of the town of Loc Ninh, Binh Long Province. Returning U.S. POWs captured in South Vietnam were held with him in Tay Ninh Province. In June 1970, PFC Ferguson appeared to have been mentally affected by months in captivity. For example, he would frequently jump on guards, put voodoo hexes on them and would then be beaten by the guards.
In approximately June 1970, the U.S. POWs held in Tay Ninh Province were moved across the border into Cambodia. During this move, PFC Ferguson asked to go to the toilet, and he was taken away. Another U.S. POW heard a guard call Ferguson's Vietnamese name several times, and then there was a shot followed by a moan. One returnee was told by the prison commander than Ferguson had been shot and killed during an escape attempt.
In January 1973, the Provisional Revolutionary Government identified PFC Ferguson as having died in captivity in May 1970. His remains have not yet been recovered. In May 1973, he was declared dead/body not recovered based on a presumptive finding of death.
Walter Ferguson is also mentioned in two live sighting reports [available on the Internet] at
Operation Smoking Gun, Oral Histories # 230702Z.OH and 050722Z.OH