Name: James D. Hunter
Rank/Branch: Private First Class/US Army 
Unit: Company A, 1st Battalion 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) 
Date of Birth: 20 February 1949
Home of Record: Portland, TN 
Date of Loss: 29 October 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163329N 1073955E (YD844324)
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Boat
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)


SYNOPSIS:   On 29 October 1968, PFC James D. Hunter was a rifleman assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. He and members of his unit were on liberty enjoying a little "rest and relaxation" at the Calco Beach Recreation area located approximately 7 miles north-northeast of the city of Hue and 10 miles north-northwest of Hue-Phu Bai Airfield, Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam.

For the men and women serving in Vietnam, the recreation areas along the South China Sea were a wonderful diversion. As units rotated off the front lines for a well-deserved rest, they found the beach areas to be among the most beautiful in the world. Unfortunately, along with the beauty came the dangers of surf, changing tides and accidental drowning.

James Hunter and a buddy were floating on an air mattress when it was overturned by a breaking wave. Both men went under the water. Other soldiers in the immediate area were able to pull PFC Hunter's friend onto another air mattress, then began searching for him. He was last seen when the wave swept him off the air mattress and he disappeared under the water.

The incident was reported immediately and two lifeguards with surfboards proceeded to the area of the accident. They searched the water, but could not locate PFC Hunter. Further, his company searched the beach for 1000 meters in either direction and found nothing. An extensive aerial search was conducted, and it also found no trace of the missing soldier. At the time form search efforts were terminated, James Hunter was listed Killed/Body Not Recovered.

While there is little doubt that James Hunter died in the surf of the South China Sea and his remains may never be found, he still has the right to have them returned to his family, friends and country if at all humanly possible. For other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fate could be quite different.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

Military men in Vietnam were called upon to fight in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.