Beatrice E. Kosin

Beatrice E. Kosin

Death 2 Nov 1972 (aged 34–35)
Burial Wheaton, DuPage County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 26538559 · View Source
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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 corpses. Miss Anderson's 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.

Kosin and Anderson 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.

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: Evelyn Anderson (assassinated); Lloyd Oppel; Samuel Mattix (both released POWs)

Source: 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.

UPDATE 04/26/12:
Courtesy of Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR (RET)
"What is not shown is that the burial space was owned by an Elizabeth is not known if she was related to Miss Kosin or not... I suspect it was merely a Christian thing to donate a burial spot for a woman murdered while doing God's work...but I do not know that for sure."

Thank you so much for the update and for your service!


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  • Created by: Zen
  • Added: 1 May 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 26538559
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Beatrice E. Kosin (1937–2 Nov 1972), Find a Grave Memorial no. 26538559, citing Wheaton Cemetery, Wheaton, DuPage County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Zen (contributor 46892144) .