Remembering Sgt. Don MacPhail

For over a decade I wore a POW bracelet in Sgt. Don MacPhail’s honor and memory. This is the story of Sgt. Don MacPhail and our unique history in pictures, words, video links and newspaper files.

For my 16th birthday on August 16, 1971, Irene Pfeffer gave me the bracelet she had worn during that year honoring Vietnam War POW, Sgt.Don MacPhail. Irene was my older sister’s college roommate and lived with us during that summer’s college break. These sorts of bracelets were new at the time and the group providing them had begun their unique program in the fall of 1970. Irene had no details about Don except he was a POW. She was aware I wanted the bracelet and she gave it to me after I swore to wear it until Don came home.

I did my best to keep that promise .

In 1972, I wrote a government agency trying to get information on Don MacPhail. I later received a short reply that stated he was in the Army, he was from Ohio, his status was MIA and presumed killed in action. I continued to wear the bracelet to honor the fallen hero. When the POW’s were freed in 1973, I didn’t find his name on the initial list of prisoners to be released. 46 years ago, there were limited ways to get information like this. For the next 27 years I would assume Don was dead. I stopped wearing the bracelet in the early 1980’s and put it away with other cherished memorabilia.

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