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Members of the Caledonia Fire Department paid  respect to Staff Sgt. James Van Bendegom, a Kenosha man who served in the U.S. Army and died in Vietnam, by standing on top of a fire truck and giving him a salute as a motorcade carrying his remains went by them on Interstate 94 on Sunday.

Van Bendegom served in Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. On July 12, 1967, He became a prisoner of war after he was captured by the North Vietnamese. After being wounded, Van Bendegom was later seen in a hospital in Cambodia. However, later accounts led investigators to believe that Van Bendegom had died, according to the POW Network.

Forty-seven years later, Van Bendegom’s 87-year-old mother Virginia was told that they had her son’s remains and his body was being brought home to Kenosha where he will be buried in the family plot, according to 4thinfantry.org.


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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.