Name: Donald Joseph Trampski t043p
Rank/Branch: Staff Sergeant/US Army
Unit: Company B, 1st Battalion,
14th Infantry,
4th Infantry Division

Date of Birth: 16 August 1948 (Michigan City, IN)
Home of Record: Chesterton, IN
Date of Loss: 16 September 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 134039N 1080718E (AR888138)
Click coordinates to view maps

Status in 1973: Missing In Action
Category: 3

Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)


SYNOPSIS: Then PFC Donald J. Trampski was serving as a rifleman with his unit on an operation in central Pleiku Province, South Vietnam. In order to continue its mission, his unit was required to cross a flimsy Montagnard bridge. At the time there was a severe Monsoon rainstorm in progress that drenched thoroughly drenched everyone and everything. Further, the bridge was slippery and the river was swollen with a fast moving current.

While attempting to cross the bridge, PFC Trampski lost his footing and fell into the river. According to surviving platoon members, PFC Trampski was last seen in the water, swimming about 30 yards from the bridge. A search was immediately made by team members along both riverbanks to locate and assist him, but they found no sign of him.

At dawn the following day a full search and rescue (SAR) operation using both ground and air assets was initiated along the banks from the bridge to 300 meters downstream. The search continued for 3 weeks, but no trace of PFC Trampsky or any of his gear was found. At the time formal SAR efforts were terminated, Donald Trampski was immediately listed Missing in Action.

The area in which PFC Trampsky's unit was operating in at the time of his loss was dense double and triple canopy jungle with mountains directly to the east, a primary road approximately 1 mile to the south and another major road 2 miles to the northeast. Further, the loss location was roughly 8 miles north of the town of Phu Nhan, 21 miles south-southeast of Pleiku City and 37 miles east of the South Vietnamese/La border.

Because of the circumstances of loss, there is no way of knowing for certain if Donald Trampsky drowned in that fast moving river, or if he safely reached shore only to be captured by communist troops who were known to be operating in the area.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

Military men in Vietnam were called upon to fight in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.