MITCHELL, ARCHIE EMERSON
Name: Archie Emerson Mitchell
Unit: Christian Missionary Alliance
Date of Birth: 01 May 1918 (Franklin NE)
Home City of Record: Ellensburg WA
Date of Loss: 30 May 1962
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 123250N 1075927E (ZU250888)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
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 2020.
Other Personnel in Incident: Daniel Gerber; Dr. Ardel Vietti (both captured)
REMARKS: TAKEN FROM LEPROSARIUM
SYNOPSIS: Archie Mitchell was born May 1, 1918 in Franklin, Nebraska. After
he graduated from high school, he attended Sipson Bible College and Nyack
Missionary College. Two days before Christmas 1947, Mitchell and his bride,
Betty Patzke Mitchell, sailed for Indo-China for two terms of missionary
service with the Vietnamese people at Dalat. Mitchell's third term
assignment was the Leprosarium at Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam.
The Ban Me Thuot Leprosarium was located in dense jungle terrain in Darlac
Province, South Vietnam, near the provincial capitol of Ban Me Thuot. The
Leprosarium was jointly financed by The Christian and Missionary Alliance,
the Mennonite Central Committee and American Leprosy Missions, Inc. There
were 56 Alliance church groups in the areas outlying Ban Me Thuot in 1962.
The Leprosarium had a staff of nine, including Rev. Archie Mitchell, the
administrative officer; Dr. Ardel Vietti, a surgeon, Daniel A. Gerber, and
nurses, Misses Craig, Deets, Kingsbury and Wilting. There were two others on
staff; also, the Mitchell's four children lived at the Leprosarium.
Late afternoon on Wednesday, May 30, 1962, a group of about 12 armed Viet
Cong entered the Leprosarium compound and abducted Dan Gerber, Dr. Vietti
and Rev. Mitchell. The nurses were sternly lectured on their betrayal of the
Vietnamese people and assured that they deserved immediate death, but were
not molested or abducted. Mrs. Mitchell and her four children were not
harmed. The VC ransacked all the buildings for anything they could use -
linens, medicines, clothing and surgical instruments. About 10:00 p.m., the
Viet Cong finally left, taking their three prisoners with them.
When the three were captured, the U.S. pledged all of its resources in order
to see that everything possible was done to get them back safely in 1962.
At the time, U.S. and South Vietnamese intelligence discovered their
probable location, but were never able to rescue the three. Reports have
continued to surface on them through the years since 1962. Some of the
members of their families believe them to be still alive.
Now, 25 years later, Gerber, Vietti and Mitchell are still missing. They
were not military personnel, nor were they engaged in highly paid jobs
relating to the war. They were just there to help sick Vietnamese people.
Although the U.S. has given the Vietnamese information on Gerber, Vietti and
Mitchell, the Vietnamese deny any knowledge of them.