Name: Jack Douglas Erskine
Rank/Branch: U.S. Civilian
Unit: Geotronics Company
Date of Birth: 11 May 1927
Home City of Record:
Date of Loss: 13 November 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 112052N 1085252E (BN688552)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner Of War
Category: 1
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Jeep
Other Personnel in Incident: (Philippino, escaped)


Source: Compiled 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 2020.

SYNOPSIS: On the afternoon of November 13, 1968, Jack D. Erskine, a civilian
employee of the Geotronics Company was captured by personnel wearing black
pajamas (presumed to be Viet Cong) when the jeep he was riding in was ambushed.
The incident occurred on National Highway 1 in Binh Thuan Province, South
Vietnam. Highway 1 follows the coastline of Vietnam, and Erskine was just about
at the point where Binh Thuan and Nunh Thuan Provinces meet when he was
captured. A Philippine national who was in the jeep with Erskine managed to

In February 1970, Viet Cong documents were found in Binh Thuan Province which
contained three artist sketches drawn in January 1970 depicting Erskine in
captivity. At about the same time, a Viet Cong rallier who had participated in
Erskine's capture reported on the incident.

Erskine's name did not appear on any list of prisoners held. He is one of
nearly 2500 Americans who are missing in Southeast Asia. Some, like Jack
Erskine were known to have been prisoners, yet the Vietnamese deny any
knowledge of their fates.

Since the end of the war, nearly 10,000 reports have been received by the U.S.
relating to the missing in Southeast Asia, convincing many authorities that
hundreds are still alive in captivity. Whether Erskine is among them is
unknown, but as long as there is even one American held unjustly, every effort
must be made to bring him home.



                                PROJECT X
                        SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE

NAME: ERSKINE, Jack D., Civilian



RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: Mr. Erskine was reported to be alive and well in
captivity as much as three months after he was captured. There is no
information which would constitute evidence of death.

REFNO: 1321 20 Apr 76


1. (U) At about 1500 hours on 13 November 1968 Mr. .Jack D. Erskine, a
survey party Foreman, and Mr. Nguyen Thanh Tam a Vietnamese driver, both
employed by the Geotronics Company, were traveling on National Highway #1
when they were ambushed by the Viet Cong near the Ca Na crossroads in the
vicinity of grid coordinates (GC) BN 688 552. Mr. Rolando Leyson, a
Filipino who was a passenger in the jeep, was injured in the incident but
escaped capture. Mr. Erskine and his driver were captured and led across a
railroad into the jungle. (Ref 1)

2. Documents captured at (GC) AN 779 434 by a US unit on 18 February 1970
contained three pictures drawn by an individual for an unspecified unit.
These pictures depicted two Viet Cong guerrillas escorting "Jack", a US
serviceman who was captured in Ca Na District, Ninh Thuan Province, South
Vietnam. (Ref 2)

3. Two South Vietnamese sources independently reported observing a US
civilian POW at commo-liaison station F-3, (vicinity of coordinates AN 870
340), in northwestern Binh Thuan Province in mid-January 1969. The Viet
Cong, interpreter escorting him said the American was enroute to Hanoi.
This American had been captured in Ninh Thuan Province about three months
earlier. He was being taken north to be held until after a cease-fire, when
he could be exchanged for North Vietnamese prisoners captured in South
Vietnam. (Ref 3 & 4)

4. (U) On 9 January 1975 an element of the 212th Regional Force Battalion
found Mr. Erskine's MACV identification/ privilege card, minus photograph
in an abandoned house at (GC) ZT 205 215. (Ref 5)

5. (U) Details of this case, together with information indicating enemy
knowledge of the case, were turned over to the Four-Party Joint Military
Team on 8 August 1973 with a request for any information which would assist
in determining status and resolution. No response was Forthcoming. The
Two-Party joint Military Commission was given details of this case. The
collapse of the GVN in March April 1975 prevented further investigation of
this case. Mr. Erskine is currently carried in the status of Captured.


1. RPT (U), Advisory Team 45, 18 Nov 68.

2. RPT (C), CDEC Bulletin 30, 080, Mar 70.

3. IIR (C), CAS RPT NO CS-311/07642-70, 21 Sep 70.

4. IIR (C), CMIC, RPT NO 6 029 1117 71 13 Dec 71.

5. MSG (U), PROV REP BINTH THUAN, 09082OZ Jan 75.

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Mr. Jack Douglas Erskine was an American civilian from Oregon. On November 13, 1968, he was in a jeep along with two foreign nationals traveling on Highway 1 south of Phan Rang, South Vietnam. During the journey, the vehicle was ambushed and Mr. Erskine was captured. He was last seen being led away by his captors. There were no reports of him being seen by any Americans who were captured during the war, and his remains were never recovered. 

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

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