PORTER EARL CALLOWAY
SSGT - Army - Selective Service
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
196th Light Infantry Brigade
Unit: Company B, 3rd Battalion,
21st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade
21 year old Single, Negro, Male
Date of Birth: 16 January 1947
From BERNICE, LOUISIANA
His tour of duty began on Mar
Casualty was on Mar 12, 1968
Date of Loss: 11 March 1968
in QUANG TIN, SOUTH VIETNAM
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 153740N 1081647E
Hostile, died captured
Status (in 1973): Missing In
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Body was not recovered
Panel 44E - - Line 15
Other Personnel In Incident:
Thomas J. Davis; Isiah R. McMillan (released
SYNOPSIS: SGT Porter E. Calloway
was on his next to last month in Vietnam.
Corporal Isiah R. "Ike" McMillan
had just returned from R & R. SGT Thomas J.
"Tom" Davis was one of the new
guys in Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st
In March 1968, members of 196th
Bravo were sent deep into the bush around
Happy Valley in South Vietnam.
Setting up on Hill 407, Que Son Valley, Quang
Tri Province, two platoons went
on Search and Destroy; another line platoon
and the six-man weapons platoon
stayed on the hill with the company
commander. Before lunch, a platoon
radioed that it had walked into a
thirty-man ambush, and that
the platoon leader had been shot in the stomach.
(A binocular search of the platoon
location revealed that it was much more
than 30 men.)
Leaving the weapons platoon (with
McMillan and Davis and Calloway) on the
hill, the company commander
mobilized the line platoon to go to the
assistance of the ambushed platoon,
and ordered the two S & D platoons to
merge. The weapons platoon was
left without a radio. When a mortar attack
commenced on the hill, the weapons
platoon abandoned its position on the
hill to seek cover on lower
ground. Three men left by the east side and
three went down the west side
of the hill. As they had no radio, they were
in peril both from the enemy,
the troops below, and overhead spotter planes
and support strike aircraft.
Davis, McMillan and Calloway,
having gone down the east side of the hill,
ran into a machine gun ambush.
Davis, McMillan and Calloway were together,
and began to retreat. Calloway
was a short-timer and in a panic. He jumped
up and started to run and was
hit in the thigh. The others bandaged his leg
and continued to move toward
a small house at the edge of the rice paddy
they were in. By the time they
reached the hooch, Calloway was in shock from
loss of blood. They evaded for
several hours here until the Vietnamese
smoked them out with gas grenades.
The three were captured and taken away as
prisoners of the Viet Cong.
By late night, Calloway was still
bleeding. By morning, he was panicked
because he couldn't breathe.
Davis tried to help him, but his captors
stopped him. When the
guard understood Calloway was in crisis, he got help
and took Calloway to a table
where he died. McMillan reported during his
debrief that they were about
1 1/2 kilometers northeast of the Fire Support
base hill, and that the Vietnamese
buried Calloway 50-75 meters east of this
position near three buildings.
The U.S. maintained Porter E.
Calloway in Missing in Action status. His
classification was never changed
to that of Prisoner of War. During the
period he was maintained missing,
he was advanced in rank to Staff Sergeant.
McMillan and Davis were held
captives in Happy Valley and other camps in the
South until they were moved
north in 1971. For Americans captured in South
Vietnam, life was brutally difficult.
Primarily, these men suffered from
disease induced by an unfamiliar
and inadequate diet - dysentery, edema,
skin fungus and eczema. The
inadequate diet coupled with inadequate medical
care led to the deaths of many.
Besides dietary problems, these
POWs had other problems. They were moved
regularly to avoid being in
areas that would be detected by U.S. troops, and
occasionally found themselves
in the midst of U.S. bombing strikes. Supply
lines to the camps were frequently
cut off, and when they were, POWs and
guards alike suffered. Unless
they were able to remain in one location long
enough to grow vegetable crops
and tend small animals, their diet was
limited to rice and what they
could gather from the jungle.
In addition to the primitive
lifestyle imposed on these men, their Viet Cong
guards could be particularly
brutal in their treatment. For any minor
infraction, including conversation
with other POWs, the Americans were
psychologically and physically
tortured. American POWs brought back stories
of having been buried to the
neck; held for days in a cage with no
protection from insects and
the environment; having had water and food
withheld; being shackled and
beaten. The effects of starvation and torture
frequently resulted in hallucinations
and extreme disorientation.
This was the life Davis and McMillan
endured for the next three years.
Ultimately, they were moved
to Hanoi and released in 1973 in Operation
Homecoming. Calloway's body
has never been returned to his family for
burial. The Vietnamese deny
any knowledge of him.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000
reports relating to Americans missing in
Southeast Asia have been received
by the U.S. Many officials, having
reviewed this largely classified
information have reluctantly concluded that
hundreds of them are still alive
in captivity today.
The U.S. continues to raise the
question of the fate of Porter E. Calloway
with the communist government
of Vietnam. The Vietnamese continue to deny
any knowledge of him.
to Jon-An's MIA's