Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: 41st Engineer Company
Date of Birth: 25 September 1949
Home City of Record: Philadelphia PA
Date of Loss: 10 May 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Barge (some lists say Boat)
Source: Compiled 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 in 1998.
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
SYNOPSIS: On May 10, 1969, PFC William Walters was acting as a guide man on
the plume of a floating barge crain on the Saigon River. The crane to which
PFC Walters was attached with a safety belt was lifting 80' steel beams into
place during a construction project. While lifting one of the beams, the
crane turned and fell into the water, taking Walters with it.
The Saigon River contains a heavy layer of silt on its bed. An object the
weight and size of a crane would fall through the silt, seeking the bedrock
below. Depending on the depth of the silt layer, Walters and the crane could
have been many feet below the silt level. Searches for 10 days failed to
find any trace of William Walters.
War is hell. Men are killed by other men whom they call their enemy. But men
are also killed by "misadventure" - by senseless drowning, falls, and by
being in the wrong place at the wrong time. From all appearances, it seems
that Walters was in the wrong place, and just got unlucky.
The shame of it is that at 19, William Walters had just begun to live.
Because no trace of Walters' remains were found, his name is maintained
among those who are missing and captured in Southeast Asia. Experts believe
that hundreds of these Americans are still alive, captive, and want to come
home. One can imagine that William Walters would gladly help bring them