John Haywood spent years preparing for a special ministry to lepers in Viet Nam. Though caught between Viet Cong and U. S. Marines, his hospital near Da Nang, the Hylac Vien (Happy Garden) Leprosarium, was completed this year and survived periodic shellings. Symone, a Swiss missionary he married last February, was expecting their first child.
So the future was full of promise on January 8 as the quiet, red-haired 29-year-old missionary set out for Hue to see U. S. officials about getting livestock to feed his patients. Failing to hitch a plane ride with U. S. Marines, he started out with a convoy along the perilous road north.
Three miles out of Da Nang, in a dense jungle area where the road narrows, the Viet Cong guerrillas opened fire, killed three Vietnamese soldiers, and crippled two military vehicles.
As Haywood got out of his Microbus to investigate, a machine-gunner in the ditch cut him down with three bullets to the head and three in the chest. He died instantly. One investigator said Haywood apparently tried to help somebody and just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.
His body (minus papers, watch, wallet) was recovered later that day by Marines, and taken back to Da Nang. On January 10, Haywood was buried in a Christian and Missionary Alliance cemetery at Da Nang as American soldiers looked on.
The day after the funeral, the widow gave birth to a daughter and named her Jacqueline. Mrs. Haywood announced she will remain at her missions post.
John Haywood was the first missionary murdered in Viet Nam since two Wycliffe Bible translators were slain in March, 1963, and the first since military escalation began making it a new war early last year. Ironically, the murder came during a lull in fighting and ...1
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