On 12 July 1967; Sgt. Cordine McMurray, then Sgt. Martin S. Frank, SP4 James L. Van Bendegom; SP4 James F. Schiele, SP4 Nathan B. Henry, SP4 Stanley A. Newell, and SP4 Richard R. Perricone were riflemen assigned to a search and destroy patrol operating in the Ia Drang Valley, Pleiku Province, South Vietnam. The area in which the patrol was operating was covered in jungle with scattered grass covered clearings approximately 4 miles east of the South Vietnamese/Cambodian border, 6 miles south of QL19, the primary east/west road in this region, 10 miles south-southwest of Duc Co and 68 miles from the tri-border region where South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia meet.

In the early morning hours, the company came in contact with a VC force of unknown size. In the ensuing battle, several members were wounded, including Sgt. McMurray, SP4 Van Bendegom and SP4 Schiele. In the case of James Schiele, other members of the patrol saw him hit several times in the legs and chest by automatic weapons fire. The medic treated their wounds before moving on to treat others.

Shortly thereafter the American position was overrun. As some members of the patrol successfully evaded, the VC captured Sgt. McMurray, Sgt. Frank, SP4 Van Bendegom, SP4 Henry, SP4 Newell and SP4 Perricone. They also captured SP4 Schiele who reportedly died of his wounds just before or shortly after capture. James Van Bendegom and Cordine McMurray were taken to the V211 Front Field Hospital where their wounds were treated. A week later, Sgt. McMurray joined the other four Americans in the B-3 Front Camp. He reported to the others that when he last saw James Van Bendegom before leaving the field hospital, SP4 Van Bendegom was alive.

While still being incarcerated in the B-3 camp, the camp commander told the others captured with SP4 Schiele and SP4 Van Bendegom that “James Van Bendegom died about two weeks after entering the hospital” and “James Schiele was buried near the battlefield.” The V211 Hospital and B-3 Front POW Camp compound were described in the following manner: The camp and hospital were a complex of buildings in several separate locations, all within close proximity of each other inside the territorial boundary of Cambodia. The camp’s graveyard was associated with the hospital. The hospital itself was located just inside the tree line on the north side of the Tonle San River and the Stoeng Ta Pok tributary bordered the hospital on the east side of it.

Sgt. McMurray, Sgt. Frank, SP4 Henry, SP4 Newell and SP4 Perricone were moved to a POW camp they called “Camp 101,” which was located just inside Cambodia in the tri-border area due west of the city of Kontum, South Vietnam. Two other POWs, PFC Joe L. Delong and WO1 David W. Sooter who were captured in the same general area months earlier, were eventually moved to a larger compound, Named “Camp102,” located nearby that could house additional captives.

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