WALKER, ORIEN JUDSON JR.
Name: Orien Judson Walker, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Army
Unit: Headquarters, MACV
Date of Birth: 27 September 1933
Home City of Record: Boston MA
Date of Loss: 23 May 1965
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 092100N 1050500E (WR098325)
Status (in 1973): Killed in Captivity
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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. NETWORK 2020.
REMARKS: PROG DEAD - 660204 ON PRG DIC LIST
SYNOPSIS: Capt. Orien J. Walker, Jr. was an advisor to the South Vietnamese
and attached to Headquarters, MACV. He was working with an ARVN unit on May
23, 1965 in An Xuyen Province, about 10 miles northwest of the city of Quan
Long when the unit was ambushed and he was captured by the Viet Cong. For
the next year, Walker was held in several POW camps throughout South
For Americans captured in South Vietnam, daily life could be expected to be
brutally difficult. Primarily, these men suffered from disease induced by an
unfamiliar and inadequate diet - dysentery, edema, skin fungus and eczema.
The inadequate diet coupled with inadequate medical care led to the deaths
of many. Besides dietary problems, these POWs had other problems as well.
They were moved regularly to avoid being in areas that would be detected by
U.S. troops, and occasionally found themselves in the midst of U.S. bombing
strikes. Supply lines to the camps were frequently cut off, and when they
were, POWs and guards alike suffered. Unless they were able to remain in one
location long enough to grow vegetable crops and tend small animals, their
diet was limited to rice and what they could gather from the jungle.
In addition to the primitive lifestyle imposed on these men, their Viet Cong
guards could be particularly brutal in their treatment. For any minor
infraction, including conversation with other POWs, the Americans were
psychologically and physically tortured. American POWs brought back stories
of having been buried to the neck; held for days in a cage with no
protection from insects and the environment; having had water and food
withheld; being shackled and beaten. The effects of starvation and torture
frequently resulted in hallucinations and extreme disorientation. Men were
reduced to animals, relying on the basic instinct of survival as their
Walker was seen by other Americans in POW camps, and several reported that
he was in very bad shape. One day he was removed from the camp and never
returned. The POWs were told he was taken to a hospital and he died. At
least one returnee stated that he died of starvation. The Vietnamese
informed the U.S. that Walker died February 4, 1966. They have made no
effort to return his remains.
In the fall of 1985, a CIA document was declassified which contained
drawings of a Viet Cong detention center which held U.S. servicemen in 1969
prior to their being sent north to Hanoi. It was located just 20 miles
southwest of Camp Eagle, a major American base near Hue, South Vietnam. In
the document were greatly detailed drawings, lists of personnel and lists of
U.S. servicemen identified from photographs. Orien Walker's name was on a
list of possible identifications. Along with Walker's were the names of
several POWs who were released in 1973. One of them has verified the
authenticity of the report as far as the camp itself is concerned.
The document was obtained by a private citizen who had obtained it through
the Freedom of Information Act. The family of one man on the "positive" list
had never been told there was even the remotest possibility that he had been
captured. The Defense Department maintains that the report was a
fabrication, because the source could not have known what he reported, even
though much of it has been verified by returned POWs who were held there.
Since the war ended, and 591 Americans were released from prison camps in
Vietnam, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia
have been received by the U.S. Government intelligence analysts have
correlated over 80% of the data to Americans who have been returned.
Therefore, a very high percentage of it is true and verifiable. Many
officials, having reviewed this largely classified information have
reluctantly concluded that hundreds of them are still alive in captivity
today. Since no one actually saw Orien Walker die, and the Vietnamese have
not made any attempt to return any remains, perhaps he could be one of those
said to be alive today. If so, what must he think of us?
Sun Feb 01 1998
Orien J. Walker died in the arms of Nick Rowe, twenty-eight days
after being transferred into Rowe's camp. Rowe called him "Tim Barker"
in Five Years to Freedom to protect his identity. CPT Walker died of
starvation and disease, and inability to respond to hand feeding by Nick
Rowe. I recommend that you delete any references in Walker's synopsis to
a POW camp in Hue, because he was never in that area. He had been
captured in the Delta region; and kept as a POW in a group of ARVNs for
a year before being transferred to Rowe's camp.
Chicago Daily Herald
Monday, May 28, 2001
The Vietnam War film that won't be shown in theaters
This is the story of a war movie that you will never see.
The "stars" of the movie are clad in American military uniforms, just like
the lead players in "Pearl Harbor.".....
Chuck Goudie, whose column appears each Monday, is the chief investigative
reporter at ABC/7 News in Chicago. The views in this column are his own and
not those of WLS-TV. He can be reached by email at goudie@@mediaone.net.