|Birth: ||Mar. 24, 1947|
|Death: ||Nov. 2, 1972, Laos|
Evelyn Ruth Anderson is believed to have been born in Coldwater Michigan. She was raised in the small town of Quincy Michigan. Miss Anderson attended Quincy Elementary, Quincy Junior High, and Quincy High School and was part of the graduating class of 1965. Evelyn was a very studious and reserved girl and graduated at the top of her graduating class or close to it.
She did not travel in a large circle of friends. Physically she was tall and thin for the time. She had dishwater blond hair and usually wore her hair up. In the photo on this memorial her hair appears darker and worn down so it is speculated that once she left home she blossomed a bit and made some changes to her appearance.
She was raised in a household that was ultra conservative by a widower father (Elmer Anderson) that was possibly the president of the local bank. She had a brother Paul and a half-sister, possibly Peggy (name is not certain). Her home had been built by her father in 1933. The house stands today and is included in the photos. Evelyn lived in her childhood home until the early 70's. She joined a missionary group and left for Southeast Asia during the Viet Nam war.
In the late hours of Saturday, October 27, 1972, a small group of North Vietnamese soldiers invaded the southern Laotian town of Kengkock, about thirty-five miles from Savannakhet. They took prisoners, including Evelyn Anderson, Beatrice Kosin, Lloyd Oppel and Samuel Mattix, all missionaries working for Christian Missions of Many Lands. Several other Americans managed to escape and radioed for help.
At 9:04 on Sunday morning following the capture, an American helicopter arrived and evacuated nine Filipinos, five Lao and the Americans who had radioed for help. Less than an hour later, Sgt. Gerry Wilson returned by helicopter to try and locate the two American women. Lt. Colonel Norman Vaught immediately set rescue plans into motion.
The American Embassy in Vientiane heard of the rescue plan and ordered from the highest level that no attempt be made to rescue the women. The peace negotiations were ongoing and it was feared that a rescue attempt would compromise the sustained level of progress at the talks.
On November 2, 1972, a radio message was intercepted which ordered that the two women be executed. A captured North Vietnamese soldier later told U.S. military intelligence that the women were captured, tied back to back and their wrists wired around a house pillar. The women remained in this position for five days. After receiving orders to execute the two, the Communists simply set fire to the house where they were being held and burned the women alive. A later search of the smoldering ruins revealed the corpse of Miss Anderson. Her wrist was severed, indicating the struggle she made to free herself.
Oppel and Mattix, the men who were captured with Anderson and Kosin, were held captive and released in 1973. It is speculated that the women would have been too much trouble to care for on the long trip to Hanoi, and were killed instead. They were held in Hanoi from December 6, 1972 until January 16, 1973 at which time they were removed to a small country prison and interrogated for three weeks. They were then moved back to Hanoi and released on March 28. Contrary to some statements, the two were not released by the Pathet Lao, but by the Vietnamese.
Anderson and Kosin were not in Laos to kill, but to help. Their deaths must be blamed not only on the Communists who set the fire that killed them, but also on the faceless, nameless Americans who decided they were expendable.
Miss Anderson's remains were recovered by the U.S. military and returned to her family in November 1972. The funeral service and burial was on November 18th, 1972 and handled by Diedrich funeral home. She was laid to rest at Lakeview Cemetery in her hometown of Quincy.
If you have info regarding this memorial please contact me and I will update this record.
Many thanks goes out to Gary Abbott for his information regarding Miss Anderson's childhood and upbringing. Gary said that although he did not know her very well, he had talked with her perhaps a half dozen times over the years as they grew up in a very small town (pop. is 1600 today). Gary currently lives in the house that Elmer Anderson built to raise his family.
Thanks goes out to Gary's daughter, Kara Abbott, for contacting me and taking the photos and sending them to me.
I love this site. You never know who is reading a memorial you created and what they may have to offer for an addition to it.
The women that died in the Viet Nam war (conflict) are rarely heard about. I think that is a shame and have created memorials on this site for any that I know were lost and did not already have a memorial here.
Thu Jan 29 1998
The book CAPTIVE ON THE HO CHI MINH TRAIL was authored by Marjorie Clark as told to her by POW Sam Mattix. It is the story of Sam Mattix,Cetralia, Washington and Lloyd Oppel (Canadian) captured in Southern Laos near Savanaket in October 1972.
The two woman in that town, Bea Kosin and Evelyn Anderson, hid from the NVN soldiers for at least two days as Sam and Lloyd were taken off. According to the accounts of the
villagers the girls were executed just before the Royal Laos troops retook the town about a week later. Betty Olson was in a village up the road and hid under a hut. She was shot as she crawled out after a couple of days.
Their bodies were found in the smoldering ruins of one of the huts the NVN burned down. Sam and Lloyd joined the LuLus in the Snake Pit, (4+4 cells behind the Golden Nugget) in December 1972. Lloyd was taken to the Canadian Embassy a day before our release on 28 March. He rejoined us at Gai Lam to go to Clarke with us on the 141.
Other Personnel in Incident: Beatrice Kosin (assassinated); Lloyd Oppel; Samuel Mattix (both released POWs)
"Further info" was compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 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
Lake View Cemetery
Created by: Zen
Record added: May 01, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26538333