James George was born on July 19, 1947, in Fort Worth, Texas. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on November 14, 1966, and was trained as a Refrigeration Specialist (51L). After completing U.S. Army refrigeration school, he was transferred to the 129th Maintenance Company of the 69th Maintenance Battalion in the Republic of Vietnam in November 1967. SP4 George was a passenger on a UH-1D helicopter with the 129th Assault Helicopter Company when the aircraft was hit by ground fire in South Vietnam and crash landed on February 8, 1968. George was unhurt in the crash, but was badly burned when he tried to enter the burning helicopter to retrieve his weapon. He and the rest of the crew were captured by Viet Cong forces soon after the crash, and all of the crew members except George survived captivity and were released during Operation Homecoming in 1973. James George was executed by the Viet Cong the day after he was captured, on February 9, 1968. His remains have never been returned to the United States. George was a Specialist 4 (E-4) at time of capture, and was promoted to Staff Sergeant (E-6) during the time he was listed as Missing in Action.
Epitaph For A Hero
If I should perish overseas
In service to my Land
I shall have died a noble death--
Let none misunderstand.
I hope my body will be found,
Returned back to my home,
Where it was nourished and inspired--
No more to yearn, or roam.
Home is the soldier then from the war
Back to his family;
Home is the patriot at last,
Buried in majesty.
Pause, visitor, and cast a glance,
Upon a hero's grave;
Be thankful to breathe Freedom's air,
For which his life he gave.