Vietnam P.O.W. remembered as devoted grandfather, hunter (Thomas Van Putten)

To his children, Thomas Van Putten talked little about his service in the Vietnam War and his 13 months as a prisoner.

But they knew he was a hero.

“We all knew it was a big deal,” said Linda Milley, his daughter.

Mr. Van Putten, whose escape from a Viet Cong prison camp and rescue 18 days later by an Army helicopter crew made national news in 1969, died Saturday of a heart attack at 61.
Family members described him as a devoted grandfather who loved to fish and duck hunt. In fact, he went on a once-in-a-lifetime duck hunting trip on Devil’s Lake in North Dakota in the past month, although it was cut short by a medical issue.

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