JOHNS, VERNON ZIGMAN REMAINS RETURNED ID 04/17/91 Name: Vernon Zigman Johns Rank/Branch: E3/US Army Unit: Company B, 4th Mechanized Battalion, 23rd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division Date of Birth: 23 December 1942 Home City of Record: Baltimore MD Date of Loss: 03 February 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 110259N 1062959E (XT638218) Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: APC 34 Refno: 1028 Source: Compiled 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 in 1998. Other Personnel In Incident: Marion E. Wilson (missing) REMARKS: CMBT - LST SEEN W/APC SOC MGUN SYNOPSIS: On February 3, 1968, PFC Johns was an armored personnel track commander assigned to B Company, 4th Mechanized Battalion, 23rd Infantry, when his unit engaged an enemy force of unknown size in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam. Johns was last seen manning the 50 calibre machine gun from the hatch of Track #34, one of four APCs under small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. Several crewmen of the others APCs saw Johns during the engagement. The driver of Johns' APC was seen to jump from the vehicle, wounded. APC #33, assigned to C Company, being driven by PFC Marion E. Wilson, was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. PFC Wilson was last seen in the driver's hatch when the vehicle caught fire. He could not be removed from the wreckage because the vehicle was burning intensely and ammunition was exploding. It is believed that he was cremated in the track. He was classified as Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. Soon afterwards, a crewman from another APC who had seen Johns' APC when the driver left, remembered that he had looked toward the vehicle, but was no longer able to see Johns. Johns' loader was also wounded and after he radioed for help, he was evacuated by 4 other members of the unit who conducted a search of the surrounding area, but were unable to find any trace of Johns. After contact with the enemy was broken, 3 airstrikes were called into the area where APC #34 was seen. The vehicle was, in fact, recovered later. Johns did not appear at muster of personnel before the company departed the area, but he was reported to have been evacuated. When medics were later questioned, they denied knowledge of his evacuation. Johns was officially listed as captured. In September 1974, JCRC conducted a casualty resolution operation in the Trang Bang District of Hau Nghai Province and discovered six sets of remains. Sources had stated that one of these persons buried at the site was an American, and this was believed to possibly correlate to Johns and Wilson, but the remains were later determined to all be mongoloid, and Johns was a negro and Wilson caucasian. Wilson's case seems clear, but Johns is not. He is listed as captured, and did not return with other released POWs in 1973. As reports mount that Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia, one must wonder if one of them is Vernon Johns. If so, what must he be thinking of us?