James Lee Van Bendegom

Staff Sergeant
Army of the United States
28 November 1948 - 31 July 1967
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Panel 23E Line 065

POW Medal

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Lee Van Bendegom

15 Nov 2002

I want to thank SSG James L. Van Bendegom, who by risking his life to make the United States safer one more day. I am sorry to hear that SSG Van Bendegom has passed on to a higher power. I hope that he knows that he will not be forgotten by his family, friends and by me. I personally don't know SSG Van Bendegom, but I want to thank him for doing what he did over in South Vietnam, because if he didn't, I would not be where I am now - serving in the US Military, trying to make safe for the future generations. I want to offer my condolences to his family, I am sorry that a great man lost his life fighting for this country, but his name will always be remembered by his family and by me through wearing SSG James L. Van Bendegom's POW/MIA Bracelet.

From one who wears his POW bracelet,
Mike Tracy

18 Jan 2006

In memory of a man who gave his life for the needs of his Country. Jim lost his life in Vietnam in 1967 but his memory is still alive and will remain so until this generation has been long forgotten. I also wear a red bracelet with Jim's name on it. Jim's Dad passed away and now his Mom is on her own (with help from Jim's brothers). She misses Jim daily and will probably never have closure by having his body returned to Wisconsin for burial. She and I send each other Christmas cards and short letters. I was most privileged to have met his Mom and Dad when they came to my home for a visit. They are fantastic down-home people. From what they told me, Jim, I know that you and I would have been the best of friends. Rest in peace, Jim, you were not on this planet for very long however you left a lasting memory on those who knew you or became aware of you and what happened to you.

From a fellow Vietnam Veteran, family friend, and POW bracelet wearer,
Bob Smith

11 Jun 2006

When I was in 3rd grade, a local boy was taken as a POW. Everyone in town knew his dad, and lots of my friends sent away for MIA-POW bracelets. Many of the kids requested the local guy's name, but I didn't, and ended up with Sergeant Van Bendegom. Years later when the war finally ended for America, our local POW was released. Sergeant Van Bendegom, of course, never returned. I wore the bracelet for years, wondering about him, his life, his family and his death. I finally put the bracelet away, along with the memories of that time, but I never forgot. When I visited the Wall in D.C., I found his name and was overwhelmed with emotion. This week I'll visit the Moving Wall and I'll look for him again. Like all the others, he should not be forgotten. Reading this site, I was glad to note his parents had other children. I wish them all comfort and peace.

BJ Hollenbeck

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 12 July 1967, the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, was engaged in the Ia Drang Valley by a battalion or larger force from the 66th NVA Regiment. When engaged, the 1/12's three rifle companies were physically separated, allowing the enemy force to attack the companies individually - B Company and C Company were isolated and taken under attack. Although C Company suffered only minor losses (5 wounded and none killed), B Company took heavy losses. When the fighting ended, 35 men were dead and 7 had disappeared:
  • Sgt Cordine McMurray
  • SP4 James F. Schiele
  • SP4 Martin S. Frank
  • PFC Nathan B. Henry
  • PFC Stanley A. Newell
  • PFC Richard R. Perricone
  • PFC James L. Van Bendegom
PFC Schiele's platoon leader saw him as his unit was forced to withdraw; Schiele had been hit a number of times in the legs and chest by automatic weapons fire and was thought to be dead. PFC Van Bendegom had been wounded and treated by a medic.

In 1973, Frank, Henry, Perricone, McMurray, and Newell were released. In their debriefs they reported being told that both Schiele and Van Bendegom had died of wounds received.

Additional information and a full listing of the casualties is on
The Virtual Wall's C/1/12 Infantry Memorial

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index V
WI State Index . Panel 23E
12TH INF RGT Index

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 15 Nov 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009