Putnam Welles Hangen – First Lieutenant, United States Army Broadcase Journalist

Born on March 22, 1930 and died on May 30, 1970.

From a contemporary press report:

“Nearly 23 years after he was captured and killed in Cambodia while covering the Vietnam War, the remains of Welles Hangen, award-winning NBC-TV news correspondent, were buried in a ceremony marked by a 21-gun salute at Arlington National Cemetery.

“He and his TV crew were seized by the Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge guerrillas in Southern Cambodia on May 31, 1970. They were killed three days later. He was 40 years old when slain, and one of more than a score of news correspondents who died while covering the war.

“Moments before he and his colleagues were captured, three members of a CBS-TV news crew headed by George Syvertsen were killed when their jeep struck a land mine further up on the road.

“His widow, Patricia Hangen, who set out years ago to learn the facts surrounding her husband's death, received a folded U.S. flag at the ceremony yesterday. After his disappearance, she and many of her husband's friends hoped he would turn up later as a released prisoner. But the search for him was halted in 1975 the when Khmer Rouge came to power, and it was not until 1991, when Cambodia was moving toward peace, that an NBC News team was allowed to return to the Cambodian village where he and his colleagues were last seen, about 30 miles south of Phnom Pehn, near the Vietnamese border. Villagers there reported that hehad been beaten to death and directed the crew toward a riverbed in a rice field.

“An initial axcavation last year by the U.S. military failed to turn up the remains, but the U.S. Army returned and found four skeletons a few yards away last March (1992). Tests confirmed two weeks ago that one of the recovered skeletons was his. A former reporter for the New York Times, he joined NBC in 1958. As a newspaper and TV journalist he covered stories ranging from the Middle East to the Soviet Union and the Far East. A collection of his audio and video tapes was recently installed at the Museum of Broadcasting in New York City.

His cremated remains were interred on March 22, 1978 in Court 3, Section W, Stack 13, Niche 3 of the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery.

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