Name: William Walters
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: 41st Engineer Company
Date of Birth: 25 September 1949
Home City of Record: Philadelphia PA
Date of Loss: 10 May 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 105846N 1063901E (XT803141)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Barge (some lists say Boat)
Refno: 1438

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: (none missing)


SYNOPSIS: On May 10, 1969, PFC William Walters was acting as a guide man on
the plume of a floating barge crane on the Saigon River. The crane to which
PFC Walters was attached with a safety belt was lifting 80' steel beams into
place during a construction project. While lifting one of the beams, the
crane turned and fell into the water, taking Walters with it.

The Saigon River contains a heavy layer of silt on its bed. An object the
weight and size of a crane would fall through the silt, seeking the bedrock
below. Depending on the depth of the silt layer, Walters and the crane could
have been many feet below the silt level. Searches for 10 days failed to
find any trace of William Walters.

War is hell. Men are killed by other men whom they call their enemy. But men
are also killed by "misadventure" - by senseless drowning, falls, and by
being in the wrong place at the wrong time. From all appearances, it seems
that Walters was in the wrong place, and just got unlucky.

The shame of it is that at 19, William Walters had just begun to live.
Because no trace of Walters' remains were found, his name is maintained
among those who are missing and captured in Southeast Asia. Experts believe
that hundreds of these Americans are still alive, captive, and want to come
home. One can imagine that William Walters would gladly help bring them




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Private First Class William Walters entered the U.S. Army from Pennsylvania and served with the 41st Engineer Company. On May 10, 1969, he was acting as the guide man on the boom of a floating barge crane on the Saigon River. The crane, to which PFC Walters was attached by a safety belt, was lifting steel beams into place for a construction project. While lifting one of the beams, the crane overturned and fell into the river, carrying PFC Walters with it. Search efforts were conducted for the next ten days but failed to recover PFC Walters or his remains. He is still unaccounted for. Today, Private First Class Walters is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

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

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