Martin D Vanden Eykel

Chief Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
04 October 1943 - 16 April 1979
Wheaton, Illinois
Panel 15W Line 021



Army Aviator

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Martin D Vanden Eykel

12 November 2001

You were but a name on a silver bracelet that I wore. Only your name was known to me. Then, through a veil of tears, I found your name on the Wall and you became even more real to me. Now, I have found you again on this website and tears still come to my eyes. Your record details say that you were a "non-hostile casualty, died while missing". What could be more hostile than that? To be thousands of miles away from home, crashing to the ground in your helicopter, never to see family and friends again? Rest well, Martin Vanden Eykel. You served your country well. I salute you.

From one who wore his bracelet.
E-mail address is not available.

13 December 2001

Martin, William Dunlap, William Sanderlin and William Sullivan -
You are missed by many and especially remembered by your brothers in the 129th.
Rest in peace.

02 Dec 2002

Martin, today in 1969 you and several of the 129th AHC brotherhood were taken from us. Today, we will reflect on you as a brother of the 129th and as a soldier and friend. Be at peace brother. We will remember you always.

From a friend,

28 Jan 2002

My name is Patricia Kiefer and I was honored to wear Martin's bracelet for many years. I was so happy to find out that his body was recovered. May he rest in peace and may God bless him and his family. I truely know the pain his family went through. My 25-year-old son Michael Kiefer is one of the FDNY Firefighters that are still missing in the World Trade Center. People are now wearing his bracelet in hopes that he will be returned to the family that loves him. May God bless all of us.

Patricia Kiefer
714 Pine Street Franklin Square NY, 11010

27 Feb 2002

My name is Nicki Allen. I live outside of Dallas, Texas, and I proudly wore the bracelet of CW2 Martin Vanden Eykel II from 1970 until I graduated from High School in 1976. I have thought about him and his family every day for over thirty years, and just recently discovered that he was brought home. My prayers will always be with his family, and with all the brave men and women that protect all Americans.

Nicki Allen

23 Feb 2003

I have had Martin's MIA bracelet for many years. It now sits on my altar, reminding me to give thanks for the sacrifices the brave men and women of our Armed Forces have made so that I may enjoy freedom. In their memory I will not show fear to terrorism. I will stand tall and be proud to be an American.

Jo-Ann Nixon
78 Chestnut St., Everett, MA 02149


I have had in my possession CW2 Martin Vanden Eykel II's POW bracelet for many years now... I remember wearing his band proudly in high school saying daily prayers with hope for a safe return...

I was never able to visit the Wall to see if this brave soldier made it home safely or not but because of computers today, I am not only able to read about him, I was able to obtain a picture..

My own son is currently serving on the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN in these troubled times in the Persian Gulf and who is about the same age.

My heart goes out to his family and my prayers still continue..

God Bless our men and women of the military, be it past or present.

They are indeed America's strength and they will never be forgotten..

Barbara Belton
Bridgewater, NJ

24 Aug 2003

I too wore Martin's MIA bracelet, from 1972 till it broke in half in 1976. I still have the pieces, and I have thought about him often over the years. I am happy to know his remains were found and brought home. Rest in peace, Martin.

From one who remembers.
E-mail address is not available.

27 Sep 2003

I wore the name of Martin Vanden Eykel II on my MIA/POW Bracelet for years. Then I kept the bracelet in my hope chest. Everytime I opened my hope chest and saw the bracelet, I sent a prayer up for Martin and his family. I pray that they have peace today. Somehow, wearing that braclet is something none of us could forget, I guess he became a part of us somehow. I will continue to remember Martin's family with my prayers. I know it was hard to continue without him. We'll see him in heaven.

Trudy Green Stiers
Graham, Texas

10 Feb 2004

I too wore the VIVA bracelet with Martin's name. Every day for years I said a prayer for him and his family. I had the opportunity to go to The Wall in DC in 1991 and learned of his return home. That moment is as fresh as the day I committed to wearing his name. Thank you for your service, Martin, and Welcome Home.

Sheila Parker
Reno, NV

12 Dec 2004

I also proudly wore the POW bracelet of CW2 Martin Vanden Eykel, picking it from a group of bracelets at a Navy Recruiting Center in Los Angeles. My dad was a retired CWO. I had tried in vain to discover his fate, prayed for him and his crew. His mother and I exchanged a few letters in, I believe, early 1970. I have never forgotten Martin and tonight was finally able to find out what happened to him. God bless them, heroes every one.

Teresa Robison Heine

20 Mar 2005

I wore Martin's Bracelet from Junior High until I graduated from high school. I then put it in a jewelry box, which was misplaced over the years. However, I often thought about Martin and wondered what happened to him. A month or so ago, my mom filled my car trunk with boxes of my old, old stuff. I was annoyed with her, until today, when I finally decided to go through the stuff. One of the first things I found was Martin's bracelet. I showed it to my kids, and my 15-year-old son said, "Why don't you Google him?" So I did. I finally found out not only what happened to Martin, but his birthday, where he was from, even his picture. I also found out that there are others who proudly wore his name on their wrist, and still think about him, as I do.

From an MIA Bracelet Wearer.

24 Nov 2005

I also wore Martin's bracelet all through High School and I still have it today. I thought of Martin and his family often and said many prayers for his safe return. I was sad to find out today, November 24, 2005 (Thanksgiving), that he did not return home safely. I was hoping to have something to be thankful for but I guess I still do because of boys and men like Martin who protect our country. Thank you, Martin, and God Bless.

June L. Smith

08 Sep 2006

I proudly wore Martin Vanden Eykel's bracelet. It was lost for many years ... you were MIA for so long. In the process of moving today, I was cleaning and found the long lost treasured bracelet that I had worn for years.

I prayed for you daily and your safe return. I never knew what happen until today. I never gave up hope. I wanted to find you alive and well, but to no avail. You served your country so proudly. You were a brave man, and I will continue to pray for your family.

I am planning a trip to DC in October and will visit the War Memorial and say another prayer for you.

Joyce Schlachter

07 Nov 2006

Dear Martin:

I too wore your bracelet.

My mom got one for her and one for me from someone who I think may have been in your family. This was in about 1970 or so. Their house backed up to the school yard where I went to elementary school in Bedford, Texas. I still remember that day.

Even though I was only 9 or 10 years old at the time, I think I sensed the importance of it. Certainly as I grew older it became more and more important to me. My bracelet finally broke into two pieces and was lost, but I NEVER, EVER, forgot you or your name. My mom wore hers for years and years. Finally one day, a few years ago, she asked me if I wanted it. I thought she would never ask. I could not say YES fast enough. I treasure it.

Tonight, as I write these words, tears stream down my face, and I'm not even sure why. I never met you. I have never seen a picture of you. Yet, there is a bond. I grieve for your family. I grieve for our country.

Martin, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your service, and for your sacrifice. Thank you for my freedom, my families freedom, and the freedom that we all enjoy. I for one am proud of you. May you rest in peace. I will never forget you. - John

John Docktor

08 Nov 2006

I wore Martin's bracelet; I've thought of him many, many times. Today, I found out about him, about his death. I'm proud of him, I'm thankful to him. As I write this note, my eyes fill with tears. His little bracelet is on my desk, old, bent, but treasured.

I'm especially pleased to see that many others have shared my concern for him. This shows my ignorance, but I thought I was the only one with his name and bracelet ... I'm glad that I'm not. I'm happy that he is remembered by many. I hope that somehow he knows.

My nephew, Ricky, is kicking down doors in Baghdad now, you guys help me pray for him, and his comrades.

E-mail address is not available.

14 Sep 2007

I wore Martin Vanden Eyekel's bracelet for many years. I was in grade school with his son when he was listed missing. I am sure that he is very proud of his family. At the time I knew them he had 2 sons. The sacrifice he made can not even be measured. He is a hero and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Tracey Lantz Jeffress
Four Oaks, North Carolina

17 Sep 2007

Well, today I was looking for my birth certificate and in my hope chest I found Martin's POW/MIA bracelet. I too wore it proudly every day in high school and college.

I often wondered about this man whose name I wore and prayed for him and his fellow soldiers over there. Now today, I learn his fate and I pray for him yet again.

What an honor to have had this man's name around my wrist for so long.

Gerrianne Hyde

Notes from The Virtual Wall

At about 8:30 PM on 02 Dec 1969, two UH-1B HUEY gunships of the 129th Aviation Company (later redesignated the 129th Assault Helicopter Company) departed LZ English to provide fire support for a long range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) that had radioed for help.

The second, or wingman, helicopter (UH-1B hull number 64-13959) was crewed by

The gunships joined with a third UH-1 equipped for flare drops. The flare ship then led the flight to the target area where attempts were made to contact the LRRP. CW2 Vanden Eykel radioed that he had made a turn to avoid crashing into a mountain - but immediately thereafter contact with him was lost. When neither aircraft nor crew could be located, the four crewmen were placed in "Missing in Action" status.

Eventually the Secretary of the Army approved Presumptive Findings of Death for the four men -

  • CW2 Martin Vanden Eykel on 16 April 1979;
  • CW2 William C. Dunlap on 20 February 1979;
  • SP5 Michael H. Shanley on 24 August 1978; and
  • SP5 William D. Sanderlin on 31 March 1976.
and their status was changed on those dates from Missing in Action to Died while Missing, Body not Recovered.

On 23 January 1989, the Vietnamese government turned over human remains to US control. On 22 February 1990, the Department of Defense announced that the remains of CW2 Vanden Eykel, CW2 Dunlap, SP5 Shanley, and SP5 Sanderlin had been identified.

They are remembered by their brothers in the
129th Assault Helicopter Company

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 12 Nov 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009