Name: Echol Wayne Coalston, Jr.
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: HHC, 1st Transportation Battalion (Seaborne), USNS Corpus Christie Bay
Date of Birth: 25 February 1940 (Tupelo MS)
Home City of Record: Memphis TN
Date of Loss: 21 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 102300N 1070200E
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: USNS
Refno: 1002
Other Personnel In Incident: (none)

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: SP5 Echol Coalston was lost overboard from the fantail of USNS
Corpus Christie Bay at Vung Pao Harbor, South Vietnam on January 21, 1968.
An extensive search was launched, but Coalston could not be found.

In the ensuing days, leaflets were distributed in nearby districts along the
coast line, and trips of inquiry were made to the city of Vung Pao, but no
additional information was learned.

It was presumed that SP5 Coalston was dead from a suicide jump off the
fantail of his ship and that his remains were not recoverable.

The Vietnam War touched many lives. Tens of thousands of families lost loved
ones in battle deaths. Tens of thousands saw their sons and brothers come
home maimed physically and mentally from the wounds and torments of the
savagery of war. Some received telegrams that their loved ones drowned in
recreation; a few learned their sons died from drug overdose; and some
learned their sons, for unknown reasons chose to end their lives in Vietnam.

As long as man has been, war has been. As a society, we tend to bury the
unpleasant aspects of war and concentrate on the victory. In Vietnam, we
have only a hollow "Peace with Honor" and must instead, focus on the
warriors - men who willingly served their country when called. Men whose
lives we used as the price for our freedom.

The most tragic of all the warriors are those who still wait, captive and
abandoned by their country in prisons and camps in Southeast Asia. In
abandoning them, we have made the deaths and suffering of thousands a
frivolous waste. We must never neglect the duty we have to the men who must
someday answer their country's call.




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Specialist 5 Echol Wayne Coalston Jr., who joined the U.S. Army from Tennessee, was a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Transportation Battalion (Seaborne), embarked aboard the USNS Corpus Christi Bay (T-ARVH-1). On January 21, 1968, he jumped from the Corpus Christi Bay’s fantail while in Vung Tau Harbor, South Vietnam, in the vicinity of (GC) 48P YS 226 483. An extensive search found no sign of SP5 Colston. While carried in the status of missing in action (MIA), the U.S. Army promoted SP5 Coalston to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG). Today, SSG Coalston is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Non-recoverable.

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