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Howell Man Killed in Vietnam in 1968 Remembered for His Music

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ – His body was never found in Vietnam, but 55 years later, his music was found by an obscure foreign 1960’s progressive and psychedelic online music curator.  Walter Cichon, of Howell Township and his brother Ray, formed the band “The Motifs” in 1965.   Walt was a graduate of Freehold High School and three years after forming the band, Specialist Cichon went missing in action and presumed dead in the jungles of Vietnam.

Years later, his brother Ray was badly beaten and died from his severe wounds.  His assailants were also never found.

According to the U.S. Army,  SP4 Walter A. Cichon was assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. On March 30, 1968, SP4 Cichon was serving as a rifleman in a rifle company in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. His company came under enemy fire while attempting to seize a hill about 15 miles southwest of the city of Dak To. SP4 Cichon received a head wound, was examined and left for dead as his unit was forced to withdraw under enemy pressure.

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A later body-recovery team located and extracted the bodies of the dead, but was unable to locate the body of Walter Cichon.

On April 20, 1968, two NVA ralliers stated that they had heard from friends that their battalion had captured an American with a head wound on or about March 26. The ralliers gave a detailed description of the POW which closely matched SP4 Cichon. The ralliers stated that the prisoner was taken to a hospital in the vicinity of the South Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia border area.

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When 591 American POWs were released at the end of the war, Walter Cichon was not among them. The U.S. assumed at that time that he had not been captured at all. Military officials at the time were dismayed that hundreds of men known or suspected to have been captured were not released.

Intelligence reports surfacing over the years during the war and following build a strong case for a well-organized second prison system, and a well-orchestrated plan to keep prisoners within systems from intermingling. As it is widely believed that the Vietnamese withheld the release of many prisoners until peace agreement terms were met (specifically reconstruction aid), it is logical to assume that one prison system’s inmates were released while another was held back for possible release at a later date. It is also logical to assume that the scenario might be played to its fullest, including convincing each man in a two-man crew that had been separated, that the other was dead.

Below is one of the songs recorded by the Cichon brothers, Walter and Raymond.  Walter was the lead singer and Raymond played lead guitar.  Their band included Vinnie Roslin on bass, John Lewandoski on drums and Murray Bauer on rhythm guitar.  Roslin passed away in 2012.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZdgbXJFOcI

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