Name: Walter Alan Cichon
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: A Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division
Date of Birth: 28 August 1946 (New York NY)
Home City of Record: Farmingdale NJ
Date of Loss: 30 March 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 142321N 1074322E (YA936924)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Other Personnel In Incident:
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
731102 PM>MM; POSSIBLY CAPT'D
SP4 Walter A. Cichon was assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. On March 30, 1968, SP4 Cichon was serving as a rifleman in a rifle company in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. His company came under enemy fire while attempting to seize a hill about 15 miles southwest of the city of Dak To. SP4 Cichon received a head wound, was examined and left for dead as his unit was forced to withdraw under enemy pressure.
A later body-recovery team located and extracted the bodies of the dead, but was unable to locate the body of Walter Cichon.
On April 20, 1968, two NVA ralliers stated that they had heard from friends that their battalion had captured an American with a head wound on or about March 26. The ralliers gave a detailed description of the POW which closely matched SP4 Cichon. The ralliers stated that the prisoner was taken to a hospital in the vicinity of the South Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia border area.
When 591 American POWs were released at the end of the war, Walter Cichon was not among them. The U.S. assumed at that time that he had not been captured at all. Military officials at the time, were dismayed that hundreds of men known or suspected to have been captured were not released.
Intelligence reports surfacing over the years during the war and following build a strong case for a well-organized second prison system, and a well-orchestrated plan to keep prisoners within systems from intermingling. As it is widely believed that the Vietnamese withheld the release of many prisoners until peace agreement terms were met (specifically reconstruction aid), it is logical to assume that one prison system's inmates were released while another were held back for possible release at a later date. It is also logical to assume that the scenario might be played to its fullest, including convincing each man in a two man crew that had been separated, that the other was dead.
The U.S. has never given Vietnam the reconstruction aid pledged by President Nixon. The governments of Southeast Asia continue deny any knowledge of Walter Cichon and many hundreds more Americans still missing in Southeast Asia.
Walter Cichon is among nearly 2500 Americans who remain missing in Indochina. Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of these men can be accounted for. Tragically, over 10,000 reports concerning Americans prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. since the end of the war. Experts say that the evidence is overwhelming that Americans were left behind in enemy hands. One of them could be Walter Cichon.
During the period he was maintained prisoner of war, Walter Cichon was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.