|Name: James Albert Champion
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Company L (Ranger), 75th Infantry Reg., assigned: 101st Airborne Div.
Date of Birth: 16 November 1949
Home City of Record: Houston TX
Date of Loss: April 24, 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 161155N 1071930E (YC484923)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Issako Malo (released POW);
; Marvin Duren (rescued);
; John Sly (killed);
; the medic, rescued);
; CWO Fred Behrens (from a helicopter, rescued)
SYNOPSIS: James A. Champion was a member of a six-man radio relay Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol being inserted for operation in a saddle at coordinates YC483923, Republic of on Vietnam April 23, 1971. After receiving intense ground fire from their primary landing zone on the west side of the A Shau Valley, the team was inserted into their alternate LZ.
Taking the point, Team Leader Marvin Duren was severely wounded by automatic weapons fire, grenade and rifle fire, and was evacuated. His ATL, John Sly, was killed in action in a heroic attempt with the team medic to drag Duren out of the line of enemy fire.
CWO Fred Behrens, the MEDEVAC "Dustoff" pilot, was a volunteer, having flown the mission because he felt his chances of succeeding in this hot LZ would be higher than other, newer pilots, but he was shot down during his second attempt to extract Sly from the LZ and found himself on the ground with the team.
Several other helicopters with reinforcements were shot down by intense ground fire and Aero Rifle Platoon reinforcements were forced to withdraw and regroup due to heavy fire from the NVA.
During the three day battle that began at 1500 hours on April 23, Rangers Champion and Issako Malo left the team's defensive perimeter to seek water. Behrens heard shots, and the two Rangers never returned.
PFC Isaako F. Malo, was last seen at about 1600 hours on April 24.
James Champion was last seen on the morning of 25 April when he left the site of one of the downed helicopters to look for water. From April 25 through April 30, ground and aerial searches were made for Champion without success.
Isaako Malo was confirmed captured, and after his release from captivity, he stated that he was captured on the morning of April 25, and at no time did he see PFC Champion in captivity.
A reaction force from L/75 Rangers was inserted into the area and successfully drove the NVA elements away from the Ranger Team's position, and survivors were evacuated.
No one ever told the six-man team how large the enemy force was that they had been up against. However, it was a large enough force to warrant an Arclight strike by B-52 bombers.
Evidence mounts that hundreds of Americans still missing in Southeast Asia are still alive, captive, waiting for their country to free them. James may be one of them.
Since the war ended, over 20,000 reports relating to missing Americans in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S., convincing many authorities that hundreds remain alive in captivity.
James Champion could be among them. If so, what must he think of us?
Will no one hear their cries?
How long will we wait before we do something?
I will wait no longer!
What about you?
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