RANDER, DONALD J. RIP
Name: Donald J. Rander Rank/Branch: E9/United States Army Unit: 525th MI GP Date of Birth: 04 July 1938 Home City of Record: Bronx NY Date of Loss: 01 February 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 162734N 1073551E Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel in Incident: Gostas, Theodore USA (released); Henderson, Alexander CIV (released); Meyer, Lewis CIV (released); Olsen, Robert CIV (Released); Page, Russell CIV (Released); Daves, Lawrence CIV (Released); Rushton, Thomas CIV (Released); Spalding, Richard CIV (Released); Stark, Lawrence CIV attached to USN (Released); Willis, Charles CIV (Released).
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 15 February 1997 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.
REMARKS: 730327 Released by PRG
Rander was working in the northern part of 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 Rander and 11 others were captured soon afterward. Ten of those were civilians working with the Vietnamese.
Donald Rander was held captive for 4 1/2 years prior to his release on March 27, 1973.
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 - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
DONALD J. RANDER Specialist First Class - United States Army Captured: February 1, 1968 Released: March 27, 1973
SFC Donald John Rander was born on June 4,1938, in the Bronx, New York. He attended parochial school there and was graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in 1955. He attended Adelphi College in Garden City, L.I., N.Y. for a short period and subsequently worked for the First National City Bank of New York, Capitol Airlines as a reservation clerk, and British Overseas Airlines. In November,1961 he was drafted into the Army.
Don took his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and advanced training as a Military Policeman at Fort Gordon, Georgia. He also served for 20 months in a Security Company in France and MP duty at both Fort Benning, Georgia and Fort Holabird, Maryland. In July, 1965, Don entered the Intelligence School, then located at Holabird, remaining there as an instructor in the Department of Counterintelligence until volunteering for Vietnam in 1967. He was assigned to the Hue Field Office as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge when the city was overrun during the Tet offensive in February, 1968. He was captured during this time-and thus began his years of imprisonment. After a year in solitary confinement, Don was allowed "the privilege" of joining other prisoners. His tremendous sense of humor, his faith in God and country and family helped in sustaining him and his cellmates through the trying times of prison life.
In 1960 Don had become reacquainted with his childhood sweetheart, Andrea Haywood and, after an exceedingly long courtship, they were married on October 3, 1964. They have two daughters, Lysa and Donna Page.
Andrea and the two girls waited faithfully for Don for 62 long months. During that time, they never received any word from him. Originally listed as MIA, his status was changed to POW in March, 1968 as a result of the successful escape of Sergeants Bob Hayhurst and Ed Dierling who worked for and were captured with Don. Andrea, who had decided to remain in Baltimore where Don had left her, relentlessly tried to bring the POW issue to public attention and twice travelled to Paris in an attempt to meet with the NFL delegation to the Paris Conference on Vietnam. Persistently, she made many attempts to get word to or from Don, but to no avail. Living with faith and love, and with the prayers of many relatives and friends, this brave and lonely woman became involved in the work of the National League of Families. In addition to her many obligations and duties as a working mother, she became a board member of that organization.
On March 8, 1973 Andrea received her first and only letter from Don since his captivity. He was never allowed to write prior to that. In his letter he stated he felt of sound mind and body and of his anxiety to be reunited and learning to live again.
On March 27, 1973, her long vigil was rewarded when Don was returned to American hands. They were reunited at Valley Forge Army Hospital on March 30, 1973. Since Don's intentions are to remain in military service, the family will probably continue to live in Maryland, though closer to Washington, D.C., as that is where Don wants to be assigned and to settle, once his career in the military is completed. He was recently appointed as warrant officer. The happy couple are quickly readapting to each other and they plan to renew their marriage vows on their anniversary. They also plan to take that Hawaiian honeymoon that they were unable to take in 1968 because of Don's imprisonment. Don promised, in early 1968 before captivity, to take Andrea on a honeymoon they really never had, and for Christmas, 1973, that dream was fulfilled at Montego Bay, Jamaica.
In the many months since his return, Don has met many groups of concerned people. He has presented many speeches - his constant messages to the American people have been: "Thank you Americans and please remember the MlA's."
Donald Rander retired from the United States Army in 1983 as a CW3. He and his wife Demetra resided in Florida until his death April 21, 2005. They moved to FL in January 2004 after his November 2003 retirement from civilian service in MI.
His daughter reported that he is finally at peace. The family is planning an interment in Arlington, time to be determined. His first wife, of 29 years, Andrea Rander was married to him during Operation Homecoming. She resides in Bethesda, MD. Rander is also survived by 2 daughters, 1 son, 2 stepdaughters and 20 grandchildren.
Donald J. Rander Dies; Was POW in Vietnam for 5 Years
By Patricia Sullivan Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, May 1, 2005; Page C09
Donald J. Rander, 66, who spent five years and two months in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp and then made a career in Army counterintelligence work, died of complications of lung cancer April 21 at Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla......
Staff researcher Karl Evanzz contributed to this report.