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Two Released Sergeants Deny Pleading for Clemency from Viet Cong

May 2, 1962 - Two American sergeants denied today they ever begged for clemency during 22 days of captivity among the Viet Cong. The sergeants were set free unconditionally, they said. They flatly disputed a broadcast by the Hanoi radio of Communist North Vietnam which said their May Day release came after they had signed a petition for leniency. The sergeants, Francis Quinn and George E. Groom, were held in a hut on a mountain for three weeks behind Danang. They were released yesterday. The solicitude shown the two sergeants was in sharp contrast to the murder of two of their Special Forces comrades captured in the same action April 8. Those sergeants, Wayne Marchand and James Gabriel (pictured second from left), were shot in the head by the Communists after their wounds had been dressed by Sergeants Quinn and Groom. The freed sergeants refused to speculate why the Communists let them go. One theory advanced by a Special Forces officer was that the Communists were trying to reverse the bad propaganda effect of their murder of Sergeants Marchand and Gabriel.

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