GARNER, JOHN HENRY
Name: John Henry Garner
Rank/Branch: E4/US Navy
Unit: H & S Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division
Date of Birth: 14 May 1947
Home City of Record: Charleston Heights SC
Date of Loss: 29 May 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 160338N 1081218E
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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.
SYNOPSIS: As a Hospital Corpsman, John Garner had a standard to meet. The
Marines he served with expected him to be singularly fearless, able to
ignore battles in progress to be in constant attendance of those who were
wounded. A short delay because of fear could mean death to an injured man.
The men needed to know they could count on their Medic.
As a black enlisted man, John Garner had another hurdle to make as well.
These were times when racism was a tense matter, and an adjustment period
between races always occurred until things settled from
black/white/red/yellow to "shades of green".
Hospital Corpsman Third Class Petty Officer John Garner had just turned 20
when he was returning with his unit from a U.S. Marine search and destroy
mission onboard a River Patrol Boat and the boat came under enemy rifle fire
and overturned. Garner apparently drowned in the accident and searches did
not reveal the whereabouts of his body. He was listed in a casualty status
of Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR).
The case of John Garner seems clear. Others who are yet to be accounted for
have cases not so easy to close. Some were known prisoners of war. Some were
in radio contact with would-be rescuers as they described their imminent
capture. Some simply vanished.
Since the war ended, thousands of reports have been received convincing many
that several hundred Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. While
Garner is evidently not among them, one can imagine this young man proudly
jumping at the cry, "Medic!", to help bring them in.