|Name:||Juan Macias Jimenez|
23rd Infantry Division
|Date of Birth:||21 July 1947|
|Home of Record:||San Antonio, TX|
|Date of Loss:||11 May 1968|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered|
|Other Personnel in Incident:||(none missing)|
SYNOPSIS: Kham Duc Special Forces camp (A-105), was located on the western fringes of Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam. In the spring of 1968, it was the only remaining border camp in Military Region I, and was located 46 miles southwest of DaNang, on a narrow grassy plain surrounded by rugged, virtually uninhabited jungle. The camp and airstrip were bordered by the Ngok Peng Bum ridge to the west and Ngok Pe Xar mountain, looming over Kham Duc to the east. Steep banked streams full of rapids and waterfalls cut through this tropical wilderness.
In late March 1968, US intelligence picked up information that the 2nd NVA Regiment, well over 10,000 men strong, was moving from North Vietnam, through Laos, and intended to enter South Vietnam somewhere south of Kham Duc, on it way to the DaNang area. An intelligence team, comprised of 3 Australian advisors and their Chinese Nung Mike Force, was charged with the responsibility of locating, tracking and reporting on the enemy movement. They established a base of operations five miles south of Kham Duc in the old abandoned French fort of Ngok Tavak located between the Vietnamese/Lao boarder and Route 14.
The commander of the 2nd NVA regiment determined that neither Ngok Tavak nor Kham Duc could be bypassed because of the threat each posed to his flank once the regiment moved past them. Kgok Tavak was assaulted in the early morning hours of 10 May 1968. At the same time, the NVA began blasting Kham Duc at 0245 hours with heavy mortar and recoilless rifle fire in an attempt to "soften up" the entrenched US and allied troops.
On 11 May 1968, Sgt. Juan Jimenez was a rifleman assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 23rd Infantry Division. The camp and observation posts came under attack. His unit was manning a defensive position in an observation post near the Kham Duc Airbase when the outpost was attacked by a numerically superior enemy force. During the attack, Sgt. Jimenez was severely wounded by enemy mortar fire, and he was evacuated to the Battalion Aid Station. During the early morning hours of 12 May, the Battalion Surgeon declared him dead, and his body was placed in a body bag, then carried to the helicopters for evacuation along with the wounded.
During the next hours, the battle for Kham Duc continued unabated. In that fierce fighting 19 Americans were captured, became Missing in Action or Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered as the Americans and allied troops tried desperately to hold on. In the end, those survivors who could not be evacuated were given orders to escape and evade from Kham Duc. Due to the hopeless situation, space was available in the helicopters only for the wounded, and Juan Jimenez's remains had to be left behind.
On 18-21 July 1970 and again from 17-20 August 1970, search and recovery (SAR) teams returned to Kham Duc to search for the remains of those Americans who were missing and unaccounted for. On 20 August 1970, personnel from Graves Registration probed and dug through the remnants of the old medical aid station, the area next to it and the landing pad area where Sgt. Jimenez's remains were left. Their thorough search revealed no trace of his remains in or around any of these areas.
For Sgt. Juan Jimenez, there is no doubt of his fate. However, he has the right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. For many other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Indochina, 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 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