On April 8, three men, one of whom is an Ahwatukee resident, were reunited in Tempe to discuss a chilling attack from the jungle and the subsequent imprisonment of two of them in the prisoner of war camps during the Vietnam War.
Americans William Reeder Jr. of Washington State and Dan Jones of Ahwatukee reunited with Xanh Nguyen of Phoenix, a former lieutenant in the South Vietnamese Air Force who later became an American citizen. Reeder was the only remaining American captured by enemy forces near the war’s end.
Reeder and Nguyen, both helicopter pilots, were shot down one month after they and Jones gave air support to American troops who were resisting the April 14, 1972 Easter Offensive by North Vietnamese forces.
Reeder and Xanh and were individually shot down a month later and wound up in the same POW camp. Reed described the experience as one of unfathomable horror and was forced to complete a 100-mile death march to prison camps located in North Vietnam, Ahwatukee reported.
Each was awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest medal given for valor during battle.