TORKELSON, LOREN HARVEY
Deceased
Name: Loren Harvey Torkelson
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 22 May 1941
Home City of Record: Crosby ND (family in NE)
Loss Date: 29 April 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 205400N 1053430E (WJ598119)
        Loss coordinates Pollin: 205429N 1053430E (USG Records)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Category:
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Other Personnel In Incident: George J. Pollin (remains returned)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project  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 2011.
REMARKS: RELEASED 730304 BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: On April 29, 1967 F4 Phantom pilot 1LT Loren H. Torkelson and
backseater 1LT George J. Pollin departed Da Nang Airbase on a strike escort
mission over North Vietnam. Their aircraft was number two in a flight of
four. The F105 fighter/bombers they were escorting were to strike the Hanoi
Bridge. The flight took the plane near a MIG fighter base and SAM missile
sites. Over the target, they encountered fire from both, and took a hit in
the rear of the plane. Torkelson's aircraft was seen to be hit by enemy
fire, roll over, crash, and exploded. One partially opened parachute was
seen by the crew of the lead aircraft. At this time, the flight was near the
Red River in Ha Tay Province,
Shortly before taking off, George Pollin had phoned his brother back home.
He told him he was volunteering for a combat mission because another
co-pilot was ill. This, he said, would just bring him that much closer to
coming home.
Pollin had already flown over 60 of the required 100 missions since joining
the Air Force in November 1965. After graduating from flight school at the
top of his class, he asked to be sent directly to Vietnam, rather than going
to Germany first as scheduled. He was certain he would go to Vietnam sooner
or later, and opted to go sooner. He didn't know how long he would have to
stay.
It was later learned that Loren Torkelson had ejected and was taken prisoner
by the Vietnamese. He was released in 1973, and in his debrief, Torkelson
stated that he did not see a second parachute, and presumed that Pollin had
gone down with the plane. Defense Department records indicate that Pollin's
ejection seat was seen near the site of the crash, lending some hope that
Pollin successfully left the plane. In the F4 aircraft, the backseater
ejects first, then the pilot.
On December 20, 1990, the U.S. announced that remains had been returned by
the Vietnamese and had been positively identified as being those of George
J. Pollin. After 23 years, Pollin was finally home.
Thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government that
Americans are still alive, held captive in Southeast Asia, yet official
policy is that "no conclusive proof" has been obtained. Detractors allege
the Government is debunking good information. While the possibility exists
that Americans are being held against their will, there can be no question
that we must do everything we can to secure their freedom. They deserve our
best efforts.
Loren Torkelson died of a heart attack 17 Sept 1995.
===========================
01/2005
Torkelson honored with Purple Heart
By Cecile Wehrman
   The family of the late Loren Torkelson has been given a Purple Heart in
   recognition of the injuries he endured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
   The Divide County native was captured in Hanoi in April 1967, enduring
   six years of abuse and deprivation at the hands of his captors.
The Purple Heart was recently presented to Loren's younger brother, retired
Col. Ryan Torkelson of Wyoming, and it now is in the hands of Loren's only
child, Eric, and his young sons, who live in Fargo.....
 
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