DAVID N. HARKER Staff Sergeant
United States Army
POW in Vietnam
Captured: January 8, 1968
Released: March 5, 1973
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME,  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret),
Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St.,
Toluca Lake, CA 91602

David Northrup Harker was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on December 8, 1945. He received his elementary and high school education in the public schools of Campbell County, graduating from high school in 1964 and from Bluefield Junior College in 1966. He then entered Virginia Polytechnic Institute. His studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the Army in June 1967. He received his training at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, and at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. In November 1967 he was sent to Vietnam.

Sgt. Harker was wounded in December 1967 by shrapnel from an exploding booby-trap. On January 16, 1968 his family received word that he was missing in action on January 8. On March 12, 1968 his family was informed that he was a prisoner of war. This information came through two prisoners who had been released from the camp holding Sgt. Harker. In November 1969 three other prisoners from the same camp were released and they talked with David Harker's family about him. Sgt. Harker was a prisoner of the Viet Cong and was held for three years in South Vietnam. During the five years he was a prisoner his family received no mail from him and he received none from them.

A Personal Message from Sgt. Harker: Happiness is returning to the United States where everybody's heart is full of gold the size of the Empire State Building. It was like returning from the Twilight Zone where everything is in a state of inertia. It was a world full of hate and humiliation, because the enemy strips you of all human dignity and forces you to live under conditions that are only fit for an animal. You are malnourished, weak and constantly fighting disease. You bury another comrade and walk away wondering who will be next, or how many more will die before it will finally end. But in spite of the starvation and death, you look to each other and to God for your strength, and you hope you will pull together as brothers in the most trying time you've ever experienced, and your prayers are for those back home who you love so dearly.

After five years of hoping, praying and keeping your faith in God and country, the long hard journey finally ended. What a joy it was to have our faith renewed by the thousands of cheering and flag waving people that met us at Clark AFB, Philippines, Honolulu, and Andrews AFB, Maryland. The smiling faces and outstretched arms let us know that our efforts through the years were appreciated and that everybody's heart in the States was really full of gold.

America - you gave us a heroes welcome home and really made us proud that we served this great country of ours with dignity and honor. We love you, and we are happy that we can once again take our place beside you in society to help build and maintain our country's greatness. We thank you, too, Mr. President, for we realize what a struggle it was for you. You got us out with great honor even; though you had to deal with a stubborn and warlike people as the North Vietnamese, and you were also bombarded with criticism from the press and anti-war activists. However, we express our deepest appreciation to those gallant men who gave their lives in service of their country, and to those who were incapacitated while in service. The KIAs and the MIAs and the disabled veterans will always hold a special place  in our hearts and prayers.

David Harker resides in Virginia.