Remains Returned November 1972

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Name: Evelyn Anderson
Rank/Branch: Civilian
Unit: Missionary, Christian Missions of Many Lands
Date of Birth: ca 1950
Home City of Record: Quincy MI
Date of Loss: 27 October 1972
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 162600N 1051200E (WD215175)
Status (in 1973): Killed in Captivity
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground

Other Personnel in Incident: Beatrice Kosin (assassinated); Lloyd Oppel;
Samuel Mattix (both released POWs)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 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 2020


SYNOPSIS: In the late hours of Saturday, October 27, 1972, a small group of
North Vietnamese soldiers invaded the southern Laotian town of Kengkock,
about thirty-five miles from Savannakhet. They took prisoners, including
Evelyn Anderson, Beatrice Kosin, Lloyd Oppel and Samuel Mattix, all
missionaries working for Christian Missions of Many Lands. Several other
Americans managed to escape and radioed for help.

At 9:04 on Sunday morning following the capture, an American helicopter
arrived and evacuated nine Filipinos, five Lao and the Americans who had
radioed for help. Less than an hour later, Sgt. Gerry Wilson returned by
helicopter to try and locate the two American women. Lt.Colonel Norman
Vaught immediately set rescue plans into motion.

The American Embassy in Vientiane heard of the rescue plan and ordered from
the highest level that no attempt be made to rescue the women. The peace
negotiations were ongoing and it was feared that a rescue attempt would
compromise the sustained level of progress at the talks.

On November 2, 1972, a radio message was intercepted which ordered that the
two women be executed. A captured North Vietnamese soldier later told U.S.
military intelligence that the women were captured, tied back to back and
their wrists wired around a house pillar. The women remained in this
position for five days. After receiving orders to execute the two, the
Communists simply set fire to the house where they were being held and
burned the women alive. A later search of the smoldering ruins revealed the
corpse of Miss Anderson. Her wrist was severed, indicating the struggle she
made to free herself.

Oppel and Mattix, the men who were captured with Anderson and Kosin, were
held captive and released in 1973. It is speculated that the women would
have been too much trouble to care for on the long trip to Hanoi, and were
killed instead. They were held in Hanoi from December 6, 1972 until January
16, 1973 at which time they were removed to a small country prison and
interrogated for three weeks. They were then moved back to Hanoi and
released on March 28. Contrary to some statements, the two were not released
by the Pathet Lao, but by the Vietnamese.

Anderson and Kosin were not in Laos to kill, but to help. Their deaths must
be blamed not only on the Communists who set the fire that killed them, but
also on the faceless, nameless Americans who decided they were expendable.

Thu Jan 29 1998

The book CAPTIVE ON THE HO CHI MINH TRAIL was authored by Marjorie
Clark as told to her by POW Sam Mattix. It is the story of Sam Mattix,
Cetralia, Washington and Lloyd Oppel (Canadian) captured in Southern
Laos near Savanaket in October 1972. The two woman in that town, Bea
Kosin and Evelyn Anderson, hid from the NVN soldiers for at least two
days as Sam and Lloyd were taken off. According to the accounts of the
villagers the girls were executed just before the Royal Laos troops
retook the town about a week later. Betty Olson was in a village up the
road and hid under a hut. She was shot as she crawled out after a couple
of days. Their bodies were found in the smoldering ruins of one of the
huts the NVN burned down. Sam and Lloyd joined the LuLus in the Snake
Pit, (4+4 cells behind the Golden Nugget) in December 1972. Lloyd was
taken to the Canadian Embassy a day before our release on 28 March. He
rejoined us at Gai Lam to go to Clarke with us on the 141.

Ernie Brace