RIP 10/08/2007

Name: John A, Deering
Rank/Branch: E4/United States Marine Corps
Unit: AFVN Det 5 MAC V
Date of Birth: 06 February 1943
Home City of Record: Nashville TN
Date of Loss: 05 February 1968
Country of Loss: SVN/NVN
Loss Coordinates: 162700N 1073500
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground

Other Personnel in Incident:

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK  from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, personal interviews. 2020



SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).
UPDATE - 03/97 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO with material provided by
John Deering.

Staff Sergeant- United States Marine Corps
Captured:  Feb. 5, 1968
Released: March 5, 1973

I was born Feb. 6, 1943 in Nashville, Tenn. At the University of Tenn. I
majored in radio-television management. After leaving school I was employed by
WMOC, Chattanoga, TN as operations manager. On March 29, 1966 I entered the
Marine Corps in the field of radio-TV, spending 16 months at Camp Lejeune. I
went to Vietnam Dec. 18, 1967 to be attached to the American Forces Radio-TV
Network with headquarters in Saigon. After spending about a month there, I
was transferred to Hue, Vietnam to assume duties as program director of the
TV station.

On the night of Feb. 4, 1968 our unit was attacked and after heavy fighting
our detachment was completely surrounded and then overtaken about
mid-morning. During these battles three of our men were killed while the
remaining five were captured. During the firefight, I received schrapnel
wounds in my foot and hand.

Unfortunately, I spent my 25th birthday in captivity. My first six months
were spent in jungle camps, then I was held in Camp D-1, the Plantation, and
Hilton Little Vegas. I was held in solitary confinement for two years, and
subjected to alot of kneeling, rope torture and beatings.

Five long hard years later we were on our way home thus making an end to an
experience none of us would care to repeat, yet hopefully made us better
men. It's hard to maintain one's composure while going through so much,
especially the right to communicate with our families. That's correct, our
loved ones heard nothing from some of us for the entire tenure of our
detainment; it was equally difficult for them not knowing for sure whether
or not we were alive or status of our physical condition. By now the
question arises as to how I personally survived this rather unfortunate

First of all I realized while spending many months in solitary confinement
that I could not at any time feel sorry for myself. I had to make the best
of a bad situation. This was achieved by means of a simple mental project -
that being the construction, equipping, staffing, and managing of a radio
station - a project that soon became an obsession.

Becoming so involved with this idea, I began losing sleep and became angry
when anyone or anything disturbed my train of thought. Two years in solitary
passed rather quickly this way even though there were some very depressing
and frustrating moments. My faith in God played an important role here. I
never prayed for a miracle, just a little hint as to how I could overcome my
difficulties. My prayers were answered and believe me the Lord worked
wonders in odd ways.

When allowed to live with the other prisoners my little project was stowed
away in the back of my mind but not forgotten-it will never be. After I
retire from the Marine Corps, my plans, hopefully, will be realized. I have
already discussed this possibility with  a very close friend of mine and the
prospects for a venture look promising for the near future.

Before I left for Vietnam I, like many perhaps too many Americans, took very
much for granted; I have learned otherwise. We don't really appreciate what
we have because I feel we have too much. Odd as it may sound, I would like
to see some of our citizens witness what I have, for it might wake them up
or better yet, shake them up. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't wish POW life
for anyone, but I do feel we should know how the other side lives. Remember
the words of John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you,
but, rather what you can do for your country." Believe me that message was
driven home to us many times.

I honestly think we can do more for this great nation by becoming a bit less
selfish and a whole lot less involved with matters that are not so seemingly

Defeating Communism or any other "ism" that goes contrary to our well being
and security is accomplished at home, as well as on the battlefield and I
definitely lay emphasis at home first, for this just  may  be the
battlefield later. To conquer an enemy one must know about it.

Most Americans have strong feelings against Communism, but do we really know
what we are hating? I have, like all of the POW's had the golden opportunity
to witness that system, unfortunately under adverse conditions. But for the
better part of us, we have taken advantage of a rather disheartening
situation and for this - with this - we are perhaps the most fortunate
people on earth today. We are rich not in dollars, but more significantly in
knowledge and experience as well. True we have lived, experienced, or seen
Communism as a prisoner of war, but I do not judge the system from that
aspect or am I bitter about it. I've seen the outside from within and it's
not an enjoyable view either. I base my opinion not as a POW, but from
viewing the average individual with whom I've directly or indirectly come
into contact and it is depressing to know there are those who live so
terribly. It's even that much more discouraging to be aware   of the fact
the poverty that exists in this the richest nation in the world. Let's do
something about it, not with words, but with action; not so much with
dollars, but rather with encouragement. Let us help one so desperately in
need to help himself. Money sometimes is not the answer; it can't buy
health, freedom, true happiness, love or even respect, but personal help can
and will be reached.

Perhaps this book will not only help those who will never be forgotten, but
will reach those who simply don't know, or were too involved with trivial
matters to realize what we now know - to be grateful for what we have, for
we have so much - we have our freedom - all of us Americans!

John Deering left the military as a Gunny Sergeant in late 1973. He was
awarded the Silver star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart as well as other
decorations. He is currently self-employed building custom cars, and resides
in Tennessee. He has two children, John Jr. and Angela.


John Arthur Deering, 64, of Millersville, TN, passed away October 8,
2007. He served as a Marine during the Vietnam War, where he was a POW
for over 5 years and he was awarded the Purple Heart. ..... Interment will be in
Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery.
COLE & GARRET FUNERAL HOME, Goodlettsville, TN. 615-859-9020.


Dec 18, 2015

So many stories lately about Phony Vietnam POWs that it was refreshing to read
a wonderful human interest story on a REAL Vietnam POW , John A. Deering and
the impact he had on his son: