CAYER, MARC Odilon
Name: Marc Odilon Cayer Branch/Rank: CIV Unit: International Voluntary Services in Hue Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Canada Date of Loss: 3 February 1968 (Some records indicate capture Feb 1) Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: Status (in 1973): Returnee - Released 13 February 1973 Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 1023
Other personnel in incident: Adkins, Clodian, CIV (Released); Balagot, Arturo, Philippine CIV (Released); Badua, Candido, Philippine CIV (Released); Thomas Rushton, CIV (Released).
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources and information provided by Ret. Major Gostas and Lawrence Stark. Updated with information provided by Tom Rushton, 1998 and Marc Cayer in 1999.
REMARKS: Was NOT listed on Dod/DIA databases as a foreign national yet is noted in the Library of Congress POW/MIA database.
SYNOPSIS: The men were working in the Hue City, South Vietnam during TET '68 when Hue came under seige. Ret. Major Ted Gostas (135th MIBN PROV) recalls being trapped without his radio in the city, and being unable to warn hundreds of 5th Marines as they walked into an ambush and their death. Government records indicate Gostas, Cayer and 10 others were captured soon afterward. Ten of those were civilians working with the Vietnamese.
After spending two months in the hills outside of Hue and another month enroute to the North, the civilians were marched more than 20 miles to their final prison camp in North Vietnam, losing an American Agriculture Specialist along the route when American planes bombed their camp. They were joined by 2 female teachers, Marjorie Nelson and Sandra Johnson on the march. Cayer had an injured foot, making the march all the more difficult in the hills.
According to Larry Stark, another civilian held with Cayer, a typical day in the camp would run something like this:
"We would rise at 6:30 a.m. and after washing would have breakfast which usually consisted of bread and a teaspoon of sugar with hot water. From about 7 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. we would do various things such as read (if material was available which was not very often) or work on little projects such as learning a foreign language. Lunch generally consisted of a bowl of soup with a spinach-like vegetable and bread or rice. There was a little pork fat in the soup. After lunch we would take a siesta from noon to 2:30 p.m. and then we would work on our mental stimulation projects. Dinner would be the same as the lunch and during the rest of the day we would just pass the time in conversation with our roommates. Our conversations would be centered around our families, friends, interesting experiences as well as hobbies, interests and discussions of the fairer sex. At 9 p.m. we would retire for the night. I was seldom asked to work and had very little recreation."
Marc Cayer was held captive for 5 years and 10 days prior to his release from the Hanoi Hilton on February 13, 1973. In 1990, Marc authored a book - in English, "Prisoner in Vietnam," and in French - "Marc Cayer, prisonnier au Vietnam." In 1988 he and his wife returned to visit North Vietnam for 11 days. Cayer retired from Government service in 1997, and resides just outside Quebec City, Canada.