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Thomas Van Campen

Born 28 DEC 1945
Died June 24, 1965, MIA
Service Branch Army
Rank Private First Class
Rating or Job Paratrooper
Unit 173rd Airborne
Campaign Viet Nam
Military Citations Purple Heart
Family Sister: Joan Van Campen Lee


Serial Number 19779407

Ground casualty - gun, small arms fire


National Archives

  • Attended Bird St. School 1st and 2nd grade

  • Attended St. Thomas Catholic School

  • Oroville High School Graduate 1963

    • Active in boxing and drama

  • First casualty of the 173rd in Vietnam

  • First Vietnam casualty from the North Valley

From the P.O.W. Network website: http://www.pownetwork.org/bios/v/v352.htm



Name: Thomas Charles Van Campen
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Company B, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 28 December 1945
Home City of Record: Oroville CA
Date of Loss: 24 June 1965
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 105912N 1064934E (YT075215)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0102

Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 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 1998.


SYNOPSIS: PFC Thomas C. Van Campen was on a combat operation with his unit near Bien Hoa, South Vietnam on June 24, 1965 when the unit came under enemy sniper fire. During the encounter, Van Campen was wounded and became separated from the unit.

Because of the hostile forces in the area, others in the unit could not get to his position, and as a consequence, he was not recovered when the unit left the area. It was believed, however, that he was dead when the unit left the area. Subsequent searches of the area failed to reveal any further information.

Since the war ended in Vietnam, refugees have flooded the world, bringing with them stories of American soldiers still held prisoner in their homeland. As of mid-1990, there were over 10,000 of these reports. Many authorities now believe that hundreds were left behind as living hostages and are alive today.
Thomas C. Van Campen is not believed to have survived the events of June 24, 1965. His family has accepted that he is dead. They no longer expect him to come home someday. But hundreds of families wait expectantly and in the special agony only uncertainty can bring. Hundreds of men wait in caves, cages and prisons. How much longer will we allow the abandonment of our best men? It's time we brought them home.


Joan Van Campen Lee

National Archives

Mementos Van Campern in class Van Campen Van Campen Van Campen Van Campen Van Campen