Name: Eleanor Ardel Vietti
Rank/Branch: Civilian - Surgeon
Unit: Christian & Missionary Alliance
Date of Birth: 05 November 1927 (Ft. Worth TX)
Home City: Houston TX
Date of Loss: 30 May 1962
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 123250N 1075927E (ZU250888)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Category: 1
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0011

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: Rev. Archie E. Mitchell; Daniel A. Gerber (both


SYNOPSIS: Ardel Vietti was a twin and was born on November 5, 1927 in Ft.
Worth, Texas. Her father was a geologist and provided Ardel, her sister and
brother with a comfortable youth, as well as the experience of living in
South America for several years. Ardel attended Rice Institute, Nyack
Missionary College (one summer), and attended medical school at the
University of Texas. Following her residency, she applied for foreign
service with C&MA and was certified for appointment to the Ban Me Thuot
Leprosarium in 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.


Oct. 25, 2001, 7:55AM

The Last Missing Woman
A Houston doctor remains the only American woman unaccounted for from the
Vietnam War

Special to the Chronicle

The day had barely begun in Southeast Texas on May 30, 1962, but already it
was evening in South Vietnam. Chaos reigned at the Ban Me Thuot Leprosarium,
where Houston physician Ardel Vietti served as a missionary. Shrieking a
gospel of terror, ransacking buildings, and waving bayonets in the faces of
missionaries and patients, about a dozen armed men dressed in black invaded
the leprosarium at dusk.....
Dr. Teresa J. Vietti: pioneer in children's cancer

Teresa and Ardel Vietti were twins who went their separate ways to become medical doctors.
Teresa became an internationally known specialist in children's cancer at Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Ardel became a surgeon and a missionary in Vietnam. She was kidnapped by the Viet Cong in 1962 and hasn't been seen since. .....



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On May 30, 1962, Viet Cong guerillas captured three American missionaries who were volunteers at a hospital operated by the Christian Missionary Alliance in Ban Me Thuot District, Darlac Province, South Vietnam. The three missionaries were forced to march south, and were eventually executed while in Viet Cong custody. The exact locations and circumstances surrounding their deaths are unknown, and all three remain unaccounted-for.

Dr. Eleanor Ardel Vietti of Texas was a member of the Christian Missionary Alliance and was one of the three civilians captured on May 30. She died at some point following her capture, and attempts to locate her remains have been unsuccessful. 

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Deferred.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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