El Paso Herald-Post

Saturday, June 27, 1964

////////////////////MISSING VIET NAM////////////////////


What was the fate of Sgt. Ist-C Isaac Camacho?
The Army lists him simply as "missing" somewhere in South Viet Nam. His family in El Paso wonders and waits, but they have some doubts that he is still alive.
SERGEANT CAMACHO is among 17 American servicemen who have vanished while on active duty in war-torn South Vietnam. He is the son of Mrs. Mike Elorreaga, of 5100 Orleans Ave., and a graduate of Jefferson High School.
He was reported missing after the Viet Cong attacked his Fifth Special Forces camp in Viet Nam last Nov. 24. His mother was notified by telegram.
THE DEFENSE Department recently abandoned attempts to distinguish in its weekly casualty reports between those listed as missing and those listed as captured. The department’s official explanation is that it wishes ‘to minimize the probability of misunderstanding’ in a kind of guerrilla war where, if the men are prisoners, it cannot be determined where they are held.
Vague Communist broadcasts and what the Pentagon describes as 'peasant rumors,’ suggest some of the missing men are moved frequently from place to place, and are occasionally paraded through Red-held villages by their captors.
THE LACK OF information as to the missing men's whereabouts makes it extremely difficult to initiate action through diplomatic channels to secure their release, or to take steps to free them through military action. Their chances for survival are not considered good. Of the five cases where it was definitely determined that American servicemen were captured in South Viet Nam three of the men involved were later released by the Communists and two died while in captivity.
The missing men include 11 Army officers and enlisted men two Marines and four airmen who may have survived plane or helicopter crashes.