1969

TO LISTEN TO GEORGE JONE'S 50,000 NAMES ON THE WALL

64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73

1969 (date not available)- ILT, 02, (name unknown) Pilot, and an unidentified Co-Pilot and Crew Chief USAF, Ops 32, KIA-RR while in support of SOG Recon Operation.

Jan - May 69- Four Commandos KIA and Four Commandos MIA (Names and ranks unknown) Commando Team US Naval Advisory Det, Camp Fay, Da Nang, Ops 31/37 (Maritime Studies Branch) while performing operations along the North Vietnamese Shoreline.    01

1969

01

1

E-6 SSG

Michael J.

McKibban

11B4S

KIA

Laos; CCN, FOB4, RT Diamondback, at their PZ; w/ Hall & Hawes

1969

01

1

E-4 SP4

Wayne L.

Hawes

11B4S

KIA

Laos; CCN, FOB4, RT Diamondback, at their PZ; w/ Hall & McKibban

1969

01

1

E-6 SSG

James M.

Hall

11B4S

KIA

Laos; CCN, FOB4, RT Diamondback, at their PZ; w/ Hawes & McKibban

01 01 Jan 69- James M Hall, SSG E6; Wayne L Hawes, SP/4, and Michael J McKibban, SSG-E6, RT Diamondback,  CCN-KIA.  "The following is a bit fuzzy and could be wrong, but here's what I THINK happened.  The helicopter were in the air, en route to the PZ.  They were in radio contact with the team when they heard a scream, then silence.  When they got there, they found the bodies of the Americans in the PZ and recovered them.  A search of the area found the scattered, terrified SCU.  The SCU said the Americans let their guard down at the last minute because the aircraft were inbound.  The SCU said they tried to warn the Americans, but to no avail.  Therefore, the SCU pulled back from the Americans to establish a defense, when the NVA (who had apparently been following them) popped up out of the grass/brush and opened fire, killing the Americans."  An investigation was conducted because "the Americans were found dead in the PZ and the SCU were picked up from different locations in the vicinity of the PZ, We were suspicious of the SCU because none of them were hurt.  The SCU were kept isolated from each other and interrogated at length.  Their stories were pretty much the same. The following is what appears to happen as best as we could piece it together - The mission went well and the team was in the PZ. All the Americans were killed, An autopsy showed that the slugs were from AK47's-not M-16's like the SCU were carrying  By Col. Randy Givens)--- [Filed by Maj. William "Bill" Shelton:  The RT that was done in on 31 DEC 68 - 01 JAN 69, was in a DMZ target, not an MA series target. They were on the south side of the Song Ben Hai. Still waiting on Bob Parks to read my version for some clarifications. Slicks were dispatched only after Parks had tried to contact the team. The crew chief of the lead slick shinnied down a tree, saw the team was dead, and used his URC-10 to tell the chopper pilot. He then climbed back up the tree and re-entered the helicopter.]  Additional Information: Hall and Hawes were hit by NVA sappers. It was the first time a C&C team was hit by sappers in the field. They were in either a MA target or a Golf target just below the MA targets.. ***We don't have to mention the fact that they were drinking on New Year's Eve. They were in either a MA target or a Golf target just below the MA targets. Spider Parks fly over the team at midnight and he could tell they were intoxicated. I knew Hawes from training group and FOB 4. What was distressing during the first reports was the fact that the indig came up first on the radio...because the sappers hit the team at first light, killing only the US.  By John Meyers, CCN, (Recon Tm Ldr) One-Zero for ST/RT Idaho from 10/68 to 4/69 and 11/69 to 4/70. 

            ***NOTE:  It is difficult to mention errors, especially our errors, but from time to time, as men, we do make them.  It is hoped that by being honest here and that is the purpose of this written record, is that someone in some future times may learn from these errors. Thus, the drinking episode is mentioned.  It is my personal decision to do this and any future flack should be directed towards myself.  These men are deceased and things can no longer hurt them, but the living must live on and learn.  The revelation is predicated and necessary to give the background on the reason(s) why these Americans did so and is in no way meant to demean their integrity and bravery of these fine men and makes the events surrounding the incident more understandable as long as the complete context of the reasons for their actions is noted-Robert L. Noe, SFC, CCN  “Hall and Hawes were assigned to FOB 4. On Dec. 31, 1968, FOB 4 may have been called CCN at that point in time.  At FOB 1, was low on teams that were fully operational and the teams that were running were running their asses ragged during Dec. 68. Thus, Col. Warren shipped them to FOB 1. Thus, they were pissed about two things: 1.) Col. Warren shipping them north to FOB 1 for an FOB 1 target. 2.) And, for doing it near New Year's Eve, a time they wanted to spend with their FOB 4 buds. Their unhappiness was heightened when FOB 1 S-3 orders them into the target in New Year's Eve. One of them vowed to celebrate the new years and they weren't going to let a little thing like running a mission interfere with a good New Year's Eve party, even if it was in the Prairie Fire AO. The MA targets or Golf targets were very erratic in terms of NVA/Chinese strength and teams had been wiped out there in 68. “Tilt Meyer’s team got shot out of several MA targets and another team went in for six days with no enemy contact. Lynne Black and Doug "the Frenchman" La Tourneau ran into Chinese up there. Big, heavily-armed Chinese. At midnight, Cover rider extraordinaire Robert J. "Spider" Parks flew out to the AO and had a commo check with them. They reported that they were partying and that one of them had carried a bottle of scotch or whiskey to the field and they were imbibing. Spider warned them to be careful...I can get more details from now retired Sgt. Maj. Parks. Thus, at first light, NVA sappers hit the team, quickly and with deadly efficiency, killing all US personnel, leaving all indigenous troops alive. Originally, Covey had trouble making commo in the morning...reports came back that there were Vietnamese on the radio. Bottom line: our guys were dead from what I believe is one of the first -- if not the first -- attack by sappers on a C&C team in the field. John Plaster would know for sure. Sappers hit CCN on Aug. 23, 1968, but, as far as FOB 1 targets, this was a first. A tragic first. Then, there was the sad seen of Col Warren hugging the corpes, after pulling at least one out of a body bag.  I didn't see it.

1969

01

8

E-7 SFC

Gerald F.

Apperson

05B4S

KIA, helicopter shotdown

SVN; CCN, FOB2, w/ RT??, UH-1H #66-16323 shotup coming out; crashed enroute to Ben Het

1969

01

8

E-4 SP4

Bill F.

Williams, Jr.

11B2S

KIA, helicopter shotdown

SVN; CCN, FOB2, w/ RT??, UH-1H #66-16323 shotup coming out; crashed enroute to Ben Het

08 Jan 69- Bill F William Jr, SP/4 and Gerald F Apperson, SFC E-7 USASF, CCN Recon, Alan C Giles, 1Lt, Air Craft Commander, Jon P Roche, WO1, Pilot, Robert D. Case, SP/4 Crewchief, and Steven D. Bartman, SP/4, Gunner, UH-1D, Tail #66-16323, 170th AHC -KIA (Filed by Gary Rousn: Story told by Michael P. Loyd, 170th AHC: "...I never found out what happened because my father died and I was sent home. The information I got was from other eyewitnesses that observed what happened that day." The two SOG soldiers, Williams and Apperson, had been picked up at a PZ. As the Helicopter was climbing out of the PZ it took several hits in the main transmission. The pilot (1Lt Giles) was advised to land, but refused and reported he was going to land at the Ben Het SF Camp. Smoke was pouring out of the hellhole. By the time the pilot decided to land, and started autorotation, and as he rolled off the throttle, the transmission seized [causing the helicopter to crash]) (Filed by Sgt Charles Berg: Apperson and I were on the same RT in 66 at Phu Bai [FOB 1] he was the 12, William T. (TEDDYBEAR) Copeland 10 and I was the 11, at the at time he was a E5, ran two insertions with him, one we launched out of Kontum, (Bad Weather at Khe Sahn), and Kontum RTs were wore out, having gotten run out so many times within the last thirty days (We set the record for the shortest time on ground (not our choice) and one in DEC 66 to do the recovery/Bright Light on the HU-1B that the B-52 Delta Team (Batts & Stark) were thought to be on when they were E & E out of the North West corner of the DMZ area and crossed over. Copeland died in Bad Tolz in training.  The chase ship behind the chopper carrying the team returning from a search for Sgt. Robert Scherdin, their teammate who was MIA from their 12/29/68 mission, landed nearby as soon as it saw the ship go down.  SOG FOB2 medic Joe Parnar, with other personnel from the chase ship raced to the scene of the crash and tried to do what they could in the middle of the intense fire and rounds cooking off.  A patrol from the nearby SF camp at Ben Het also soon arrived on the scene and Parnar was told by SFC Bobby J. Dunham that there were enemy nearby and had been firing at the patrol sporadically.  Rather than wait for the cook off's to die down, Parnar and Dunham moved one body away from the burning wreckage and returned to retrieve another.  When they lifted the body there was a large explosion next to them, knocking them both down and wounding them.  It is not known if the explosion was a cook off from the chopper or a RPG/B40 fired by the nearby enemy.  Dunham was medevaced but shortly died from his wounds. Filed by: Frank Greco

WilliamsBF01c.jpgBill F. William, Jr.

 

1969

01

29

E-5 SGT

Larry A.

Stephens

05B4S

KIA, DWM

Laos; CCC, RT New Mexico, w/ Bullard & Simmons

1969

01

29

E-5 SGT

Billy J.

Simmons

05B4S

KIA, DWM

Laos; CCC, RT New Mexico, w/ Bullard & Stephens

1969

01

29

E-6 SSG

Charles D.

Bullard

11B4S

KIA, DWM

Laos; CCC, RT New Mexico,w/ Simmons & Stephens

29 Jan 69- Larry A Stephens, SGT E-5; Billy J Simmons, SGT E-5, - Charles D Bullard, SSG E-6, USASF and Four Special Commandos, CCC, Kontum, Ops 35 lost in Laos on a recon mission KIA-RR (Inserted on 28 Jan 69, made radio contact at dusk. Failed to come upon radio to FAC, Bright light was infiltrated near the last known location. A location was discovered where evidence of eating was strewn about the area, cigarette butts and food wrappers. A short distance further revealed an area where blood and expended rounds indication a possible ambush site. Tracking the blood trails, the remains of the entire team was discovered).

 

1969

01

30

E-4 SP4

Jerrald J.

Bulin

11B4S

KIA

SVN; CCC, RT New Mexico, during local security patrol near Kontum

30 Jan 69- Jerrald J Bulin, PFC E-3, USASF, CCC, Kontum, Ops 35, (While performing security of the compound was shot by a lone Viet Cong, KIA-RR

 

1969

02

11

O-2 1LT

Harold W.

Kroske, Jr.

31542

MIA-PFD

Cam; CCS, RT Hammer, XU697258, 19k NNW of A-331, Loc Ninh (old) & approx 12 mi W of Bu Dop

11 Feb 69- Harold "Harry" William Kroske Jr 1LT 02 of Trenton, NJ, USASF, CCS, RT Hammer, Ban Me Thout, Ops 35 MIA-Presumptive finding of death. (Version 1: As the platoon leader, of a Recon element with two other Americans in Cambodia they moved away from the LZ when they heard an enemy force in their area. A lone enemy soldier walked pass their position and Lt Kroske decided to take the soldier prisoner. He stepped out onto the trail behind the enemy soldier; the enemy soldier turned and saw Lt Krosek and took off running. Lt Kroske started to chase him yelling "Chieu Hoi." The enemy soldier stopped, turned and fired point blank at Lt Kroske hitting him several times in the chest. Immediately other enemy forces converged upon the area and engaged the remaining recon element, forcing the other two Americans to withdraw unable to recover Lt Kroske. Version 2: Lt Kroske with Sp/4 Bryan Stockdale and four Nungs were inserted onto an open grassland, hustled for cover of a thick patch of jungle a quarter mile away; once there, Lt Kroske and the Nung point man crept forward to examine a major trail they'd spotted from the air as they landed, leaving Stockdale to make radio contact. Suddenly, there was a quick burst of automatic fire, then another, then a hail of fire, all 50 yards from Stockdale. The Nung point had returned reporting Kroske was dead. Stockdale investigated, finding Kroske, getting close enough to almost touch him, but due to the heavy enemy fire aimed at him, he could only shout at him to no avail. Stockdale returned to where he had left the Nungs, but they were no longer there and Stockdale was stocked the remainder of that day and night before being extracted to learn, Kroske and the Nung had walked upon three NVA, one of whom Kroske wanted to take prisoner. Kroske shot two of the NVA and waved the third over, but the last NVA jumped into the gras, fired a wildy and hit Kroske three times in the stomach and chest). NOTE: Version 2 fits the official version. --On your website you have two versions for Harold "Bill" Kroske. John Morley and I were the Brightlite team for that mission. The second version is the most accurate. Jim Day

Harold W Kroske, Jr.

31 Jul 2005

1LT Kroske came to us from the Americal Division's 75th Rangers. He had about six months of recon operations experience with the Rangers/LRRP's when he volunteered for SOG. Kroske was initially assigned to First Company, Det B-50, "Project Omega" as Executive Officer under 1LT Frank Lambert, who was the Commanding Officer. After one operation 1LT Kroske was assigned to recon. Harold was quite a combat trooper, and; he had been on a number of operations into Cambodia prior to his demise. He was always calm, cool, and very deliberate on all recon operations. In fact, after any combat OP, he usually read a book and drank a coke, as opposed to going to the club and having a drink. 1LT Kroske was quite a soldier. He was fearless in combat, and he loved recon. He extended his tour and took his leave. Once back, he formed a new team from Nungs he got in Cholon/Saigon. I am not writing to second guess anyone. I know Harold was a fine SF RT 10. The day before his fateful OP he gave me his beret to wear on R&R. The moment I stepped off the R&R plane at Cam Ranh Bay, our XO, Major Imes, told me Harold was missing in action. I wish I had the beret to give his family. I was shot several months later. I shall not forget 1LT Kroske. From a fellow Omega and CCS Officer and friend.,Jon C. Potter Nashville, TN alright4u@aol.com

 

9 Jan 69- William Edward Campbell, Maj 04, of Mc Allen, TX and  Robert E Holton, CPT 0-3, USAF, Ops 32 (Air Studies Branch)-MIA-Presumptive finding of death (During an attempted recovery of a SOG team, their helicopter came under enemy fire and crashed).

William Edward CampbellWilliam E Campbell, From Vietnam Virtual Wall

From the Virtual Wall: 

"The plane was hit by a ground-to-air missile in the Mu Gia Pass area of Laos. Although the other planes in the mission did not see any parachutes nor did they hear any beeper distress signals, they did see my Dad's plane hit the ground and explode as they circled back. Because of the uncertainty, however, and given the fact his plane went down in inaccessible enemy territory the military carried my Dad and his co-pilot as MIA."

Notes from The Virtual Wall


On 29 January 1969, Major William E. Campbell and Captain Robert E. Holton in F-4D 66-7474 were part of a flight of Phantoms prosecuting a truck convoy in the vicinity of Ban Xam Tai near the Mu Gia Pass area of Laos. The Mu Gia Pass was one of several passageways through the mountainous border of Vietnam and Laos leading to the "Ho Chi Minh Trail". The anti-aircraft sites in the area, which had brought down another Phantom the day before (F-4D 66-8690, 435th TFS), were active and Holton's aircraft was hit by 37mm AAA fire. Although no ejections were observed and SAR efforts failed to locate either man, the possibility existed that they both survived to be captured and they were classed as Missing in Action. However, Holton did not return with the US POWs in February 1973, and on 09 January 1974 the Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death, changing his status to Died while Missing/Body not Recovered. His remains have not been repatriated.

1969

03

2

E-5 SP5

Michael F.

May

11F4S

KIA, BNR

Cam; CCS, RT Plumb, XT415935 9k NE of A-322, Katum (Fishhook area), w/ Evans

1969

03

2

E-5 SGT

William A.

Evans

11B2S

KIA, BNR

Cam; CCS, RT Plumb, XT415935 9k NE of A-322, Katum (Fishhook area), w/ May

02 Mar 69- William Anthony Evans, SGT E-5 of Milwaukee, WI and Michael Frederic May, SP/5 of Vassar, Mich USASF and three Special Commandos, CCS, Ban Mc Thout, Ops 35, MIA, Presumptive finding of Death. A team of two Americans and four SCU were inserted into the "Fish Hook" in Cambodia where the team was overran by large enemy force. The surviving SCU related he had snap-linked the bodies of Evans and May together in hopes they could be extracted later. The SCU was forced to evade the enemy and a subsequent fly over the following day no bodies could be seen. Enemy activities in the area prevented any further search - a recollection by Bob Head (SOA# 894GA) according to Harve Saal. The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office is seeking to locate anyone assigned to CCS in February/March 1969 and/or who knew Michael May and William Evans or recalls their loss in Cambodia on March 2, 1969.  May may have participated in the capture of an NVA on a previous mission.  Please contact Jack Kull (703/699-1187) or john.kull@osd.mil

William Evans Fr Vir Vn Wall Michael F. MayMichael F. May Fr Vir Vn Wall

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Team leader Sergeant William Evans and SP4 Michael May were part of an eleven man team conducting a mission inside Cambodia. They were operating as an element of MACV-SOG, B-50 ("Project Omega"). Working with the 11-man American team was an unspecified number of ARVN troops. After insertion by helicopter, the team proceeded toward its objective. As they approached a tree line, they came under heavy fire from their front and left flank. The team fell back 60 meters to higher ground and formed a defensive perimeter. The enemy force, estimated to be battalion-sized, followed. Gunships were called in to repel the enemy advance, but were forced to depart as afternoon drew to a close. The enemy continued to attack the Special Forces team. A projectile, possibly a B-40 rocket, exploded directly over the team's position resulting in wounds to 8 of the 11 Americans. Evans sustained a lethal head wound and died shortly thereafter. May received multiple wounds to the head and chest and died 30 minutes later. The surviving members of the team moved about 60 meters from the area, leaving behind the remains of Evans, May, and three ARVN team members. Although the remainder of the SF/RVN force was evacuated, recovery of the dead was not practical. Evans and May were classified Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. As of 21 March 2002, their remains have not been repatriated.

Michael was an outstanding athlete in high school He excelled in basketball, football, and track. Breaking many school records and state records. He pole vaulted 13'3" and maintained the school record until it was broken in the early 80's. He won the state championship in class B twice, once as a sophomore in 1963 and again during his senior year. He placed third in the state his junior year. He was also an all-conference end on the football team his senior year. He lettered in basketball, football, and track. Upon his graduation in 1965, he attended college at Michigan Western University, for two years before entering into the Army September 14, 1967. He received a scholarship from ROTC and some others that I cannot remember. Michael also loved the game of golf, which was brought to my attention by another veteran, Nick Katzenstein, just one of Michael's SF Friends. He received basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and went on to Green Beret training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Michael arrived in Vietnam in Jan. 1969. He was assigned to Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam. On his first recon mission, his team had captured a prisoner, which gave Michael some R&R time to do what he pleased with. He traveled to Qui Nhon to visit Jim Atwood (my husband now). They had three fun-filled days together, recalling old times of back home. Michael was reported missing soon after. He volunteered to go on another recon mission with Sgt Evans. The area that they were into was a Rest and Relaxation Center for the NVA. It was an early Sunday evening when they were infiltrated into the area. I have been in contact with the doorgunner on that mission and Major Head, who was Michael's first recon leader. Our family has remained in contact with the medic, John "BUFF" Costello that was there. You can find the doorgunner's picture and the medic's picture on my second page called Memories of Michael. Both of these individuals are like family to my family. Without them ... we would be lost in our own fears. Michael always said that when he came back home, he would continue his college education. His dream was to become a lawyer. I know deep in my heart that he would of made a damn good one. Michael has touched so many people in his life and still today he is not forgotten. His hometown has a 5k Race named after him and all the monies go the High School athletic association. The Special Forces Association of Michigan has honored him by naming their chapter after him - Michigan Michael May Memorial Chapter LV. Mike was a gentle, caring person, he had many friends and loved this country. He excelled in everything that he set out to accomplish. He was my hero, my best friend, and my guardian. With the help of the internet, I can now tell the world about my brother and I know he will never be forgotten We must make sure this fate never happens again to any soldier fighting for our country. The truth will someday be known about Michael and all his comrades that are still missing. The POW/MIA families need America's support to find out the truth about their loved ones, that the US Government still keeps classified. We, the POW/MIA families, need your support by writing and calling our government to make this issue "NATIONAL PRIORITY" like they have vowed to do so many, many times and have failed to do so many, many times. Veterans of the Vietnam War should contact the families of the missing, even if it's just to say what a great soldier they were. I have had many vets contact me about Michael and it has made a big difference in my life. Just knowing someone who knew him and to be able to talk with them about him has made me understand and accept many unanswered questions The government will never tell us anything, the veterans have the knowledge and the answers to our questions. I pray that many families will be as fortunate as I have been. Thank you for visiting my brother's page and never forget the Veteran for his faithful, honorable duty to keep us free. Part of the complete memorial for Michael Frederic May placed by his sister, Cindi Atwood gonwaki2@tds.net

1969

03

4

E-7 SFC

David J.

Warczak

11F4S

DNH

SVN; B-50, RT 5, somewhere in IV Corps, ??where??, Phong Dinh Prov.

04 Mar 69- David J. Warczak, SFC E-7, USASF, B-50, Recon Team Leader-KIA 

 

05 Mar 69-Six SCU were killed in Operation Spindown. These men were members of a Hatchet Company, Company A, Kontum, CCS, Ops 35. Accidentally killed when a US F-4 dropped napalm on the Hatchet Force's position, dug in along Highway 110 in Laos, acting as a blocking force against the enemy preventing reinforcements and supplies from reaching the NVA who were waging a major battle on the Special Forces Camp at Ben Het.

1969

03

5

E-4 SP4

Sanderfierd A.

Jones

11B4S

KIA

Laos; CCN, MLT1, Hatchet Force, w/ SGT Himes in A Shau area AS-4

1969

03

5

E-5 SGT

Earl W.

Himes

11B4S

KIA, DWM

Laos; CCN, MLT1, Hatchet Force, w/ SP4 S Jones in A Shau area AS-4

05 Mar 69- Earl W Himes, SGT E-5 Recon and Sanderfield A Jones, SP/4, MLT-1, CCN-KIA, Both of these men were killed in Operation Dewy Canyon, the circumstances of their deaths are described in Chapter III, next to the last paragraph.

 

1969

03

9

E-6 SSG

Tim L.

Walters

11F4S

KIA, DWM (recovered 02/16/99)

Laos; CCN, Ops-32, XD524658, shotdown aboard O-2A 67-21425 40k NW west of A-101 (old) Lang Vei

09 09 Mar 69 - Tim L. Walters, SSG E-6 Air Ops,ALO-CCN USASF, & Robert (Bob) F. Rex, Cpt, 23RD TAC AIR SPT SQDN, 504TH TAC AIR SPT GROUP, 7TH AF, Pilot, Ops 32,-KIA .  Killed in action while flying FAC in an Air Force 02A (#67-21425) 5 miles inside Laos, west of the DMZ with Cpt Rex,  Air Force Pilot.  They were trying to locate and extract a team of soldiers when their plane was shot down.  Date: Nov 8, 1999, Central Identification Lab, Hawaii has just completed the positive identification of Tim's remains. Tim was not SF qualified, he went to Vietnam with the 101st and transferred to MACV at the end of his tour, later transferring to SOG and was working out of NKP at the time he was killed.  Tim had been "In Country" almost four years.   (Houston Chronicle, 21 Nov 99) See http://www.asde.com/~pownet/bio/w/w/360.htm [see John Plaster's SOG A Photo History of the Secret War, pg 134]

Tim L. WaltersTim L Walters (Photo from Vietnam Virtual Wall)

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Staff Sergeant Tim Walters was assigned to the Air Operations Division, Command and Control North, MACV-SOG. As a part of his duties he routinely flew as an "observer" with Foward Air Controllers operating in support of MACV-SOG operations in Miltary Region 1 (the northern 5 provinces of South Vietnam and the adjacent areas of Laos). Before his last mission, SSG Walters had received several decorations - the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and six Air Medals - for previous operations.

As noted above, on 09 March 1969 Walters was aboard an O-2A (tail number 67-21425) of the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron, flown by Captain Robert F. Rex of Odebolt, Iowa, when the aircraft went down just inside Laos. Although a ground force was inserted and confirmed that both men died in the crash, SSG Walters was classed Missing in Action while the Air Force classed Captain Rex as Killed in Action/Body not Recovered. In this context, one should note that SSG Walters was not assigned to an Army unit but rather to a Joint Command unit, a fact that might explain the difference in the way the two men were handled (MACV reported SSG Walters' loss, while 23rd TASS reported on Captain Rex). The Commanding General, Seventh Air Force, approved posthumous Silver Star awards for both men (Walters' second award), reflecting the Air Force's acceptance that both men had died in the crash. According to the Army's TAGCEN database, a Presumptive Finding of Death was approved by the Secretary of the Army on 07 August 1973.

Although the location of the wreckage was known, post-war arrangements with the Laotian government precluded any examination of the site until the late 1990s. When the site was visited, human remains were located, recovered, and repatriated on 16 Feb 1999. Fragmentary remains could be positively identified as those of Staff Sergeant Walters, but the government has not yet made any announcement regarding Captain Rex.

In 1943 fighter pilot Captain Harry Leroy Walters, SSG Walters' uncle, had been killed in action near Choiseul in the Solomon Islands, South Pacific; his body was not recovered. A memorial stone was placed in Silverbrook Cemetery, Niles, Michigan, in memory of Captain Walters. When SSG Walters' remains were recovered the family decided to bury him in Niles next to his uncle's memorial stone.



Photos taken from the
Tim L. Walters Memorial site

? Mar 69- Vietnamese Kingbee Pilot, Co-pilot, and door gunner, 219th Vietnamese CH-34 "Kingbee" KIA-RR. Helicopter Aircrew crashed due to enemy fire while performing an attempted re-supply mission for SOG's Sledge Hammer.s Radio Relay Site, being defended by RT Arkansas. (A Cobra gunship of the 361st AHC, whose pilot reports he had called Kingbee leader for the CH-34 to assist in the attempt to resupply the road cutting Hatchet team which had been inserted which had reported some incoming but needed resupply and evacuation of some wounded. The Cobra pilot instructed the CH-34 to stay low and to keep out of the line of fire; however, he came in too high and too fast and ignored the pleas of the Cobra pilot. The Kingbee ballooned over the LZ and came to a high over the hole in the trees. He was making erratic movements, but never said anything, a little while later it was reported the CH-34 veering off to the south and was in trouble and the Cobra pilot witnessed the CH-34 fly into the side of a hill and explode [Info by Jim Williams, 361st AHC])

1969

03

14

O-2 1LT

James L.

Ripanti

31542

KIA

Laos; CCC, RT New Hampshire, in Juliet 9, SSW of Leghorn Radio Relay Site

14 Mar 69- James L Ripanti, ILT 0-2, USASF, CCC-KIA. Lt Ripanti?s team had been hit SSW of Leghorn. He was seriously wounded and couldn?t be moved to an LZ. They had to use the McGuire rig to get him out. I was decided to take him to Leghorn first so they could get him on board the ship. The RTO said he didn.t think Ripanti would survive the long haul back to the ropes. The RTO had gone out with him, taking the radio. The 361st had difficulty finding the "little people" Special Commando's; however, they used those day-glo panels and the Gladiator slicks were willing to go down and pick them up separately (Info by Jim Williams, 361 AHC).  The following submitted by tom waskovich:  Lt James Ripanti is listed on the virtual wall as Rt Hawaii. When he was killed on 14 March 1969 he was the one zero of RT New York (I had been his room mate and was on the ground not far from him at the time w/ RT So. Carolina).

 

     (1969 03 18

SFC 

Margarito

Fernandez, Jr.

11F4S

KIA, DOW

Cam; CCS, w/ RT??, XT441912, during BDA 11km due East of A-322, Katum; w/ B. Murphy

18 Mar 69 Margariot Fernandez, Jr., CCS. sfahq has him listed as being KIA'ed with Murphy; however, on page 3 if the July 1969 issue of the          Green Beret Magazine, he is listed as "Died of Wounds" as opposed to "Killed Hostile Action" thus, he was wounded at an earlier time and died          of his injuries so he might have been wounded days before the 18th. The Special Forces Honor roll has him as being assigned to Co D, Det          B-41 KIA Moc Hoa,Chau Doc Province,South Vietnam. 

1969 03 18

Barry D.

Murphy

12B4S

KIA, BNR

Cam; CCS, w/ RT??, XT441912, during BDA 11km due East of A-322, Katum; w/ M. Fernandez

8 Mar 69- Barry Daniel Murphy, SGT E-5 and Four Special Commandos KIA CCS; Ban Me Thout, Ops 35 in Cambodia performing a        

Bomb damage Assessment Remains not recovered. Killed in the "Fish Hook" area in support of Operation Breakfast when the team 

became   engaged with a superior enemy force.  The book Who's Who from MACVSOG and Vol III, SOG, MACV Studies and Observations  

Group has Marganito Fernandez as being assigned to SOG when he was KIA'ed. This is in error, Fernandez was assigned to DET B-41 CO D 5TH SFG.)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Two Special Forces troops were killed in action on 18 March 1969 - SFC Margarito Fernandez and then-SP4 Barry Murphy. Some reports connect the two men; others do not.

The POW Network biography for SP5 Murphy says

"On March 18, SP4 Murphy was serving as the assistant team leader of a 10 man team which had been inserted by helicopter on a reconnaissance mission in Kampong Cham Province, located in south central Cambodia. Soon after leaving the helicopter and moving on to the objective, the team was ambushed by an unknown size enemy force. "During the ensuing fire fight, Murphy was hit several times from small arms fire and died. Three other team members were killed before the helicopter could extract the survivors. Because of enemy fire, all remains were left behind. Subsequent air search for the remains failed to locate them."

The MACV-SOG website contains the following entry

"18 Mar 69; Margarito Fernandez, Jr, SFC E-7 and Barry Daniel Murphy, SGT E-5 and Four Special Commandos KIA CCS; Ban Me Thuot, Ops 35 in Cambodia performing a Bomb damage Assessment. SFC Franandez remains recovered, SGT Murphy Remains not recovered. Killed in the 'Fish Hook' area in support of Operation Breakfast [B-52 strikes in SVN/Cambodia border areas] when the team became engaged with a superior enemy force."

The Special Forces casualty list has the following entries for SFC Franandez and SP5 Murphy:

bullet

19690318 E-5 SP5 Barry D. Murphy 12B4S KIA, BNR
Cam; CCS, w/ RT??, XT441912, during BDA 11km due East of A-322, Katum

bullet

19690318 E-7 SFC Margarito Fernandez 11F4S KIA, DOW
SVN; B-41, w/ 4 MSFC, A-401, at Moc Hoa in ARVN vs Mike Force shootout

Finally, the Central Identification Laboratory database has the following unit assignment entries:

bullet

SP5 Barry D. Murphy: "CCS, 5TH SFG"

bullet

SFC Margarito Fernandez: "DET B-41 CO D 5TH SFG"

Overall it appears that the deaths of SFC Fernandez and SP5 Murphy are not related, that they were not together on their last operation. According to Army records, SFC Fernandez died in Chau Doc Province, while SP5 Murphy died in Cambodia. SP5 Barry Murphy has two records in the Army's TAGCEN database; the first reflects his initial loss and placement as Missing in Action; the second, dated 07 August 1973, reflects his transfer from MIA to "Died while Missing/Body not Recovered". However, the POW Network and MACV-SOG website reports that Murphy was involved in a recon operation in Cambodia are strengthened by the Army records. The recon teams commonly were composed of two or three Americans and 6 to 8 indigenous troops; that four or five men were killed and not recovered isn't unbelievable since the indigenous troops would not appear in the American casualty lists.

1969

03

20

E-7 SFC

Ricardo G.

Davis

91B4S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, RT Copperhead, YC409110, 59k west of A-105, Kham Duc

20 Mar 69- Ricardo Gonzales Davis, SFC E-7, USASF, RT Copperhead CCN, Da Nang, Ops 35, KIA Remains not recovered. Team leader of a 6 man team operating west of Kham Duc, eleven miles inside of Laos when Davis was hit by rifle fire in the upper chest and face saying "Jim, Jim!" then falling to the ground. He was observed by a team member (Sgt Jame C. Motte) two feet away, another team member recovered Davis's weapon and ammo, reported Davis was covered with blood. The Assistant Patrol Leader arrived some seven minutes later and checked for a pulse and respiration, but could find no signs of life. Due to an advancing enemy, the patrol was forced to leave the area. Davis was not seen again and no further search was made because of air strikes and the area was held by enemy forces from that day forward.

Ricardo G. Davis

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Ricardo G. Davis

On 20 March 1969, a six-man reconnaissance team - RT COPPERHEAD - was attacked while operating in Saravanne Province, Laos, about 11 miles west of Kham Duc. SFC Davis, a medic and the team leader, was was hit by rifle fire in the upper chest and face. Before being forced to withdraw under fire, the assistant team leader, Sgt James C. LaMotte, and one other team member checked SFC Davis but found no signs of life. Circumstances precluded bringing SFC Davis' body out with them, and the enemy presence in the area precluded insertion of another team to search for his body. Given the absence of absolute knowledge, the Army classed SFC Davis as Missing in Action, and he was carried in that status until the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death on 11 July 1974. His remains have not been repatriated.

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam

1969

03

26

O-2 1LT

Robert E.

Sheridan

31542

KIA

Laos; CCC, Hatchet Force, Co B; small arms fire

26 Mar 69- Robert E Sheridan, 1LT 0-2, USASF, Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), Ops 35, KIA-RR.  Lt Sheridan--great great grandson of General Sheridan of the US Cav and Indian wars circa 1870's-buried next to each other in Arlington. Information not 100% verified. Eldon Bargewell, Maj Gen (Ret)

 

1 Apr 69  Morehouse, Michael J Mike was critically injured in explosion of claymore mine on the PSP LZ helo pad in Danang in 1969. Mike spent the majority of his adult life in VA hospitals trying to recover from the massive internal injuries he received. He died in 2005 in a VA hospital in Albany, NY. In 2008 the Army Casualty Review Board determined he (and 4 other VN vets) died as a direct result from wounds received in VN. His name was added to the VN Memorial Wall in 2009.HIs death was recorded on Non combat casualty. Mike was in Recon company with me and he ran one mission with me, and Don Shepard, in April 1969. If I recall correctly he spent several months on RT Kansas and then was on Hatchett Force for awhile. I could be mistaken about the Hatchett Force time. I have written a letter to the CG USASOC requesting Mikes name be added to the the Memorial Wall at Meadows Plaza and it will be added. v/r EldonEldon Bargewell, Maj Gen (Ret)

 

1969

04

8

E-7 SFC

Christian G.

Girard

11F4S

KIA, helicopter crash

Cam; CCS, RT Pick??

08 Apr 69- Christian G. Frenchy" Girard, SFC E-7, USASF, SOA, CCS, Ban Me Thout, Ops-35 Died due to a helicopter accident in Cambodia Remains Recovered. During an administrative extraction, the helicopter rotor blade struck a tree causing the helicopter to fall to the ground throwing Girard out of the aircraft at which time the helicopter rolled over and crushed him.

GirardCG01c.jpgChristian G. Frenchy" Girard,

1969

04

23

E-7 SFC

Donald E.

Ross

11F4S

KIA, fixed wing shotdown

SVN; CCN, MLT3, Darlac Prov., Covey

23 Apr 69- Donald "Covey Ross" E Ross, SFC E-7, USASF, #Covey Rider, FAC, MLT 3, CCN, Da Nang, Ope 35 and a FAC Pilot, name and rank unknown, 23rd Tactical Air support, Ops 32/75 (Air Studies) were KIA-RR while flying in support of a recon team in trouble. Donald was initially listed as Donald B. Ross in error. Please note there were two Donald E. Ross assigned to SOG, both SFC's. Correspondence from Donald's daughter:  Letter 1: 4/23/09 Hello, not sure if you can help point me in the right direction or not. I am looking for ways to gather data on my father, as the below information is basically all that I know about him, other than the fact he was awarded a posthumous silver star. I have googled for years, but really get nothing back. it's frustrating to say the least. Any leads you can send my way would
be appreciated Thanks Donna Frescura
Letter 2: 4/23/09 ...my mother was notified that her husband ,my dad was a casualty of war, only to be told hours later that it was Donald B Ross not my father Donald E Ross, so when the chaplain showed up again she waved him off saying it was all straightened out. It took quite some time for them to convince her that my father really was killed that day. Two Don Rosses on the same day, who could have imagined that?

 

1969

04

24

E-7 SFC

Jerry M.

Shriver

11B5S

MIA-PFD

Cam; CCS, Hatchet Force, XT441913 11k East of A-322 Katum, w/ Harrigan & Jamison

1969

04

24

E-5 SGT

Ernest C.

Jamison

91B4S

KIA, DWM

Cam; CCS, Hatchet Force, XT441913 11k East of A-322 Katum, w/ Shriver & Harrigan

1969

04

24

O-2 1LT

Gregory M.

Harrigan

31542

KIA

Cam; CCS, Hatchet Force, XT441913 11k East of A-322 Katum, w/ Shriver & Jamison

24 Apr 69- Jerry "Mad-dog"Michael Shriver, SFC E-7 of Sacramento, CA, Plt SGT Exploitation Force, Gregory M Harrigan, lLT, Asst Exploitation Force Plt Ldr; Ernest C. Jamison, SGT, USASF and An unknown number of Special Commando Scouts (names and ranks unknown) CCS, Bam Me Thout, Ops 35. Shriver MIA-presumed dead and Harrigan and Jamison KIA-RR. The nickname "Mad-dog" was given to Shriver by radio Hanoi. A 25 man exploitation force on a reinforcing mission became engaged immediately upon being inserted into enemy held territory 1 miles inside Laos west of the DMZ's southern boarder by an entrenched superior company sized enemy force with fortified machine gun positions . Fighting from bomb craters, the force called for air strikes and as fighter aircraft dropped napalm around their positions, Shriver and one SCU was last observed by Cpt Paul D. Cahill attempting to move behind a machine gun position and were last seen moving into a tree line. Shriver maintained radio contact for four hours at which time transmissions ceased. It is known Shriver had been wounded three or four times during the fighting. An enemy soldier was observed to be in possession of the same type weapon Shriver had been using. The commander of the force was wounded in the right eye resulting in total blindness for 30 minutes. The enemy fired at everything and bodies of the exposed dead force members were machine gunned repeatedly. By this time, over half of the force was either killed or wounded. Approximately forty five minutes later, 1Lt Harrigan, the assistant force team leader was killed. A1-E "Sky Raiders" bombed and rocketed the area while the NVA applied heavy ground fire wounding one door gunner. Several attempted extractions had to be aborted. With the force commander and assistant commander wounded or dead, the third in command called for napalm to be dropped ten yards from his position resulting in him and nine SCU in his bomb crater being burned by the napalm. The fight raged on for seven hours in an intense battle then finally three helicopters were able to drop in and extract fifteen wounded members of the force. With movement noted in another crater, a fourth chopper came in with a Lieutenant aboard from CCS who retrieved the badly wounded radio operators and a body from the crater. The helicopters were receiving fire the entire time and lifted off immediately after the individuals were aboard. Ten air strikes and 1,500 rockets were required to extract the few survivors of the team. No further insertion could be made into the enemy stronghold. Jun 12th, 1970, a search recover team was inserted into the battle area and human remains were recovered and identified; however, the remains of SFC Shriver was not recovered. One of many stories about Mad-dog is the report where he and his team was surrounded by the enemy and as air support arrived to provide support, inquired as to his situation, Mad-dog is credited as reporting something to the effect, "we have them right where we want them, surrounded from the inside out!" (This quote may not be exact, it's something I heard when I was at CCN and seen elsewhere in writing, which is characteristic of a SOG soldier and marks Shriver as one of SOG's many legends). NOTE: Page 234, of John Plaster's book, The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam contains the following: "It was Mad Dog Shriver who'd spoken the most famous rejoinder in SOG history: His team surrounded and the CCS staff concerned he might be overran, a FAC told Shriver, "It sounds pretty bad." And Shriver replied, "No, no. I've got I've got them right where I want them-surrounded from the inside." -- See Dedication Page

 

Maybe a myth because the story about it is Mad Dog Schriver. I cant remember his name but a guy at our last years SOAR said his best friend saw Schriver in a bar in Bangkok circa late 80's. One of the stories about JS was that he carried NVA surrender chits and joked with people that if he was about to be captured he would surrender and live. Maybe all BS but you never know especially about a guy like Schriver who we all know had gone native at least by the time I got to VN in 1968. In 1973 I was assigned to B Co LRRPs 75th Ranger at Ft. Lewis as a Lt. I and other SF guys in company(Lynn Thompson, Donal Bruce and others,) were tasked to be on burial detail for a Jerry Schriver. We conducted burial detail at FT. Lawton(Seattle). Several family members including his parents were in attendance. The service was conducted around his headstone since their was no coffin and I have pictures of the service. His parents and family were not what I expected. They were upper upper middle class at least and lived in Belvue, Wash which is a very high class area outside of  Seattle. Not 100% verified, Eldon Bargewell, Maj Gen (Ret)  {Note: Eldon states he will try and find the SOA member who related this information during the upcoming SOAR, 2011).

 

Jerry M ShriverJerry Schriver Fr Vir Vn Wall Ernest C Jamison Fr Vir Vn Wall

Notes from The Virtual Wall

SFC Jerry M. Shriver was part of a mixed US Special Forces/Montagnard force inserted into the immediate vicinity of a North Vietnamese Army headquarters located just across the Cambodian border in the Fishhook area. The platoon was taken under heavy fire by NVA troops immediately after the insertion, leading to an all-day battle before suppressive fires finally reduced the enemy opposition to the point that the platoon (and a small supporting force separately inserted) could be extracted. A total of 24 men had been inserted; 17 were recovered, and of those 17 ten were wounded and one was dead (1LT Gregory M. Harrigan). Two Americans and five Montagnards were not recovered; one of the seven, medic SGT Ernest C. Jamison, was known dead, while the other six were listed as Missing in Action. The remains of SGT Jamison and one of the Montagnards were recovered in 1970. According to the Task Force Omega site, a Radio Hanoi broadcast indicated that Shriver had been killed in the fighting. However, he was carried as MIA until 10 June 1974, when the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death. During this time he was promoted from E-7 to E-8. As of 04 June 2004 his remains have not been repatriated. There is a marker for Master Sergeant Jerry M. Shriver in the Fort Lawton Federal Cemetery in Seattle, Washington (Plot 4-235, placed 08/22/1974). Unofficial information indicates that Master Sergeant Shriver was on his third tour of duty in Vietnam and received two Silver Stars, the Soldier's Medal, seven Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and three Army Commendation Medals for valor - a total of 15 decorations.

Call From 1LT Gregory Harrigan's (CCS KIA) Mom.
Date: 7/13/07 6:11:14 AM Central Daylight Time
From: Alright4u

Robert: I had the pleasure of Mrs. Harrigan calling yesterday. She is 86. She was very pleasant to talk to , and; I was glad I could tell here how well her son had done when he had a platoon in the company. I only had Greg for about a month as I went to the launch site in late Jan 69, so; I did not work with him as long as SFC Willman did. What impressed me the most about Greg initially, was his desire to learn his job and to learn from the NCO's and yards in the bush. She was most appreciative of some local SFA or SF types who had honored her son's grave site some years ago. I do not have any photo of Greg to send her, as I lost/misplaced the few photos I had from Omega/CCS. If by chance anyone has a photo of Greg, she would love a copy. Thanks, Jon Potter

1969

05

6

E-7 SFC

Kenneth L.

Dulley

11B4F

KIA

Cam; CCS, RT Hammer; small arms fire

06 May 69- Kenneth L. Dulley, SFC E-7, USASF, CCS-KIA in Cambodia, Small Arms Fire.

 

1969

05

9

E-5 SGT

Frederick J.

Magsamen

11B4S

DNH, helicopter crash

SVN; CCN, w/ ??, ??where??, Quang Nam Prov.

09 May 69- Frederick J Magsamen, SGT E-5 USASF, CCN, Ops 35, KIA-RR Fred and I went Jump School and Training Group together.  We graduated and went to the same Company in 6th Group.  We both volunteered for the 5th Group through Mrs. Alexander on the same pay phone together.  Fred and I spend the last two weeks in the States at my parents house in Torrance, Calif.  Taught him how to surf and we raised a little hell before getting to Nha Thrang. At the 5th Group Repo we both volunteered for Project Delta, B-52.  Fred had a last minutes got the urge to do CCN, I had already committed to Delta. so we split up and kept in contact.   We had met up in Nha Thang on a few stand downs in the early part of 69.  Delta was working up north in Apr-May 69 out of Phu Bai and An Hoa, I had a chance to get into CCN in Danang.  When I got in the compound I met up with some friends, I was looking for Fred, I was told Mags had been killed a few days earlier.  I was told he got wrapped around a tree upon extraction and was crushed.  That's all the detail I got and I remember. I went back to the Delta FOB, a few days later got got pulled off the operation.  I had the honor of escorting my friend Fred home to his family.  One of the hardest things I ever had to do. He's is buried at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.  I always regretted not getting more information.  When I joined SOA one of my goals was to find his other team members or anyone with the whole story, good or bad.  I would appreciate any information I could get in the future.  Thank You, Richard Knapp SOA GL2815 knapp9326@sbcglobal.net

 

My name is Ken Van Arsdel. I served with SOG from 11/67 -- 6/69. I was a leg initially assigned to the NKP launch site, where I was the commo guy. After almost a year at NKP, I extended my tour for assignment to a recon team. When I got back from my 30-day extension leave just after Christmas 1968, I was sent to FOB 1 at Phu Bai just in time for it to close, then on to FOB 4 where I remained until DEROS. I was assigned as the 1-2 on RT Louisiana. Dave Badger was the 1-0, Dave Maurer was the 1-1. Badger got reassigned, and Maurer took over as team leader and took on Jerry Plank as our 1-1. I rotated back to the States in June '69.
I was looking at your website (a truly wonderful site, by the way) and read the story of the death of Fred Magsamen, KIA 09May69. I witnessed/participated in the events leading up to Fred's death; my account is in the email below. I hope this helps clarify the events surrounding Freddie's death.

 

The following is what I remember, through the filter of almost 42 years. On the morning of May 9, 1969, Fred and I were just hanging out around Recon Co. in Dananag. I had about 30 days remaining on my tour; Fred had considerably more time left. Either the Recon Co. CO (Dick Meadows) or the Sgt. Major (I can't remember which) snagged us for a quick op. There was a RT on a training mission in Elephant Valley that needed an extraction. I don't remember the name of the RT, but I remember the two Americans on the team were Dave Peters and Bill Phillips. They had some team members sick, maybe with food poisoning, or maybe dehydration, or some other ailment. But the upshot was, they were too sick to walk to a decent LZ so they called in for an extraction on ropes. The plan was to send a couple of Kingbees and pull out the team on the ends of ropes. I was tasked to take the lead bird, with Fred in the 2nd one. But before we left, Fred insisted on swapping with me, claiming I was too short to take the risk. Neither one of us seriously thought anything would go wrong that day--hell, we joked about it--but even so Fred was adamant that he and I trade places. I gave in to him. I've regretted that decision ever since.
The H-34s flew us out to the AO. Fred made contact with the team on the ground. I watched from above as his bird began to hover over the jungle. Almost immediately, the chopper nosed over and dropped through the canopy, bursting into flames. That much is what I witnessed. I learned everything that follows from talking to Dave and Bill later that day, and from a book I'll mention later, below.
I had no way to contact the team on the ground to find out what was going on. Because we expected this to be a milk run, we hadn't taken the precaution of having redundant commo. Fred had a PRC-25 that he used to talk with the team, and the plan was that once Fred's bird had picked up the first 4 team members, he would maintain commo with the guys left on the ground and communicate with the Vietnamese pilot in my bird through the VN pilot of his bird, as my bird went in to pick up the other 4 guys. But with Murphy's law in full effect, I was left with no way to contact the team when the other chopper burned up. Unable to make contact with the men on the ground, my bird returned to Danang.
Fred survived that crash. If I recall correctly, there were one or two killed (pilot and door gunner?) and one besides Fred who made it out of that crash. Nobody on the ground had been injured. Eventually, the team managed to contact the TOC in Danang and get Medevac choppers out to the team. These were Dustoff Hueys from the 236th Med Det in Danang. In the first Huey on station a guy named John Seebeth was the Dustoff medic. As the pilot hovered his dustoff bird over the team, Seebeth lowered a winched "jungle penetrator" to Fred and the other guy from the H-34. The bird was hovering in a very small space in triple canopy jungle. When Seebeth began to lift the winch and the chopper took on the weight of two patients, the bird began to drift. The main rotor chopped a tree top, the bird began to rotate, the rear rotor smacked into trees and the tail boom snapped off. The chopper rotated out of control, whipping Fred and the other guy around into trees and/or rocks, snapping the winch cable. This is what killed Fred. The chopper crashed, and the entire crew survived. Other choppers came in and extracted 3 of the Dustoff crew, then the weather closed in. After several hours of rain, the weather cleared and the rest of the Dustoff crew and the CCN patrol were extracted. I understand someone from CCN rappelled into the jungle next to the crashed H-34 and enlarged the hole in the canopy by blowing down some trees with C-4. Seebeth recently published his memoirs of being a Dustoff medic. The book, An Introduction to War, was written by his wife, Linda Seebeth. Seebeth recounts his memories of that day in Chapter 8.
I don't remember whether it was that night or the next day, I went to the morgue to officially identify Fred's body. That moment has stuck with me all my life. I can still remember in detail Fred's lifeless form lying there. I can still remember thinking how unfair it was, as the guilt came flooding in. I remember a few days later finding out that a friend of Fred's was in camp, and was going to accompany Fred's body back to the States. I guess that was you, Rich. I counted Fred as a good friend although I knew him for only a few short months. The intensity of life as a soldier in Recon Company, CCN, seemed to distill daily experiences into moments that were both potent and poignant. Great friendships were formed quickly in the maelstrom of the events we lived. Sadly, they were often brought up short, as the odds caught up with us.
Regards,
Ken Van Arsdel
SOA 410GA

 

"U.S. Army Sgt. Frederick J. Magsamen, 21, of Westminster, MD, died May 9, 1969 in an aircraft accident in Vietnam.

After the military aircraft he was riding in as a passenger crashed, Sergeant Magsamen was being airlifted via extraction line from a helicopter when the line snapped and he fell to the ground.

He was born in Baltimore, MD, January 26, 1948, but lived most of his life in Westminster, Maryland, where he graduated from Westminster High School in 1966. He played on the varsity football team and belonged to the school's music organizations.

His high school yearbook description includes his nickname "Toole", california dreamer.. No 11.. Fords forever.. Champ's.. co-captain.. organized riots.. "whip it on me".. broad-jumper.. snowman.

After high school, Fred worked for Random House Publishing Co. before enlisting in the Army in July 1967. He took basic training at Fort Bragg, NC, jump school training at Fort Benning, GA, and military police school at Fort Gordon, GA.

Sergeant Magsamen joined the Green Berets after taking additional special training at Fort Bragg. In December 1968, he went to Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick J. Magsamen of Westminster, MD, and the maternal grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer T. Butler of Baltimore, MD."

Taken from the Carroll County (MD) Times Memorial Day edition of 1989.

Fred Magsamen, WHS 1966Fredrick J. Magsamen

1969

05

13

E-7 SFC

Mike J.

Scott

11B4S

MIA-PFD, O1-E shotdown

Laos; CCN, YC787037, aboard 219th Avn Co #51-16959 shot down by 37mm west of Kham Duc

13 May 69- Bruce Carleton Bessor, 1LT 02, of Fairfax, VA, USA Aviation Pilot FAC of the 219th Aviation Company, Ops 32 and Mike John Scott SFC E-7 of Newark, NJ, USASF, Covey Rider FAC, CCN, Da Nang, Ops 35 MIA-Presumptive finding of death. In a O-1G aircraft flying (FAC) radio relay for a recon team in the Vietnam/Laos border west of Kham Duc. The team had radio contact with the aircraft and could hear 15 rounds of 37mm anti-aircraft fire from their position and the sputtering of the engine then all contact with the aircraft was lost. When a search aircraft attempted to enter the suspected crash area, they had to retreat due heavy enemy fire. An aerial search conducted on the 18th failed to reveal anything. [Photo of Lt Bessor featured in John Plaster's SOG A Photo History of the Secret War, page 121]

Mike J Scott, Fr SF Honor Roll

23 May 69 Machata, Rudolph G 23May69  SSG, RT Saw, CCS, Killed in helicopter crash Cambodia

 

1969

05

23

E-5 SGT

Howard S.

Hill

91B4S

KIA, helicopter crash

Cam; CCS, MLS-S Chase Medic, going after RT Saw; 155 AHC #68-15392 75 miles inside Cambodia

1969

05

23

E-6 SSG

Rudolph G.

Machata

11F4S

KIA, helicopter crash

Cam; CCS, RT Saw,  w/ Strout & Hill; 155 AHC #68-15392 75 miles inside Cambodia near Route 13

1969

05

23

E-4 SP4

Phillip W. 

Strout

12B3S

KIA, helicopter crash

Cam; CCS, RT Saw, w/ Hill & Machata; 155 AHC #68-15392 75 miles inside Cambodia near Route 13

23 May 69- Howard S. Hill, SGT E-5, Medic; Phillip W. Strout, SP/4, USASF,-Rudolph G. Machata, SSG (note the virtual wall has him assigned to DET A-244 (BEN HET), B CO)  RT SAW, CCS, Ops 35-KIA and Santiago V.E, Quintana, Door Gunner, and Armando Ramirez, Crew Chief of the 155th AHC - Killed as a result of a helicopter crash. Ken Donovan submitted the following on Mar 10, 06:  "In looking over your website, in the KIA/MIA section you have listed two SF individuals a Howard Hill and Phillip Strout as KIA on 23 May 69. These are the two SF guys that were killed on A/C 392. The team had called in and requested to be extracted, as they had captured two POWs. The first A/C to go in was #392 who tried to get the team out on ladders, the co-pilot indicates as they were clearing the trees, they lost all engine oil pressure, (this would indicate the A/C was hit). The backup slick then tried to make a pickup but was badly shoot up due to the large number of bad guys in the area, before they left the area, the crew chief went down a ladder with an M60 to assist in getting the remaining team and crew members out, he was awarded the Silver Star for this action, I think he should have gotten the MOH. (of the aircraft crew, the aircraft commander was badly injured, and both the crew chief and door gunner were KIA, with only the co-pilot able to move, all of the American team members were either KIA or badly injured) The second slick was badly shot up to include loosing his transmission oil pressure, they were able to get out of the immediate area before they went down. I was at Duc Lap with the backup team of 20th SOS guns. We got word to scramble and headed west the crash site was about 75 miles inside Cambodia. (I have some MIA recovery team data, as the crew chief was pinned under the A/C and his body was never recovered, of any that happened to me in Viet Nam, not being able to get his body out still bothers me more than any thing else). When I got there, I hovered in about 100 ft tall trees to try and get a ladder down, but got shot up, and pulled out, and came around for another try, and that was when my crew chief got hit, that is when we went back to Duc Lap, and Sgt Winters got behind the crew chief's gun. We then went back, and were able to make a pick up on our third try. I had just turned 21, and this was and remains the single hardest day of my life. Looking back on this after almost 40 years, I am glad I flew with the 155th, and if I had to go to war again, I would want to fly with the SF guys again, as I consider them to be the best soldiers I have ever seen. (I do not know if the teams knew this, but in the 155th the crews took personal responsibility for the teams they put in, and were willing to do whatever it took to get them out.) The two individuals KIA from the 155th on May 23, 1969 are as follows: Door Gunner: Santiago V.E, Quintana Crew Chief: Armando Ramirez (listed as MIA, body was pinned under A/C, I believe has status was changed some years ago) There was an attempt to recover Ramirez on May 24, but a road had been cut to the crash site and the entire helicopter and Ramirez had been removed. Some where around the house, I have copies of newspaper articles that indicate the Cambodian Gov't filed a protest at the UN for invasion of their airspace. It is my understanding that the rules of engagement in Cambodia were different than Laos, we were not allowed to call in additional air support because the we were not supposed to be there, but we were conducting open operations in Laos. I did not pay much attention to most of this stuff, for most of the crews it was just another mission.  The only time I was really surprised was about a week after the incident I was assigned a C&C mission for 5th SF HQ in Na Trang. When I reported to the CPT in operations, he looked at my name tag, and said to come with him. I was then introduced to the 5th SF commander, (do not remember his name) and the CPT told him I was the pilot that got everyone out on the 23rd. I was really surprised that 5th SF HQ were tracking  21 year old WO's. (was this normal procedure?) According to the MIA report I have, crash site was in Kracheh Province near Highway 13 approx 75 miles inside Cambodia, grid YU693870. The report lists SF Strout and Hill as KIA, and an Arthur Dolp and Mark Schneider as injured. My Crew Chief who was badly wounded was Dan Wiedner, and the Crew Chief who went down on the ladder to help get the crew/team out was Ernie Plummer, who pasted away about 10 years ago".

Received the following from Moira K. O'Regan on Mar 19, 2007: Phil was a dear friend of mine...one of 10 classmates killed from South Portland, ME.  and one of my three best friends killed in 3 months (April, May and July 1969).  I honor him every day. He was also one of the many featured in:  One week's dead in Life Magazine on June 27, 1969... http://members.aol.com/mraffin/memday69.htm  here's the alleged actual story...as told in a bio of Armando Ramirez...
Name: Armando Ramirez
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: 155th Assault Helicopter Company, 10th Aviation Battalion, 17th
Aviation
Group, 1st Aviation Brigade
Date of Birth: 01 February 1949 (Benson AZ)
Home City of Record: Willcox AZ
Date of Loss: 23 May 1969
Country of Loss: Cambodia
Loss Coordinates: 122419N 106163E (YU693870)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H

Other Personnel in Incident: Crew of UH1H: Richard Menzel; Jerome Green (both survived); Santiago V.E. Quintana (died of injuries/wounds); 5th Special Forces Group team: Philip W. Strout; Howard S. Hill (both died of injuries/wounds); Arthur Dolph; Mark Schneider (both survived) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. REMARKS:
SYNOPSIS: SP5 Armando Ramirez was stationed at Ban Me Thuot in South Vietnam as a member of the 155th Assault Helicopter company. He was crew chief on board a UH1H helicopter -- the Huey -- that performed a wide variety of duties in Vietnam. When the word "Huey" was mentioned, it always meant "move." On May 23, 1969, Ramirez' helicopter crew was called on to insert a 5th Special Forces team into Cambodia for a classified mission. The chopper was hit by ground fire and crashed near Highway 13 in Kracheh Province, some 75 miles into Cambodia. Ramirez was trapped beneath the wreckage. The rest of the crew and passengers were pinned down by continuous heavy enemy fire and could not reach the wreckage to help or extract Ramirez. Quintana, Strout and Hill were mortally wounded in the fire fight that ensued. A rescue team of Vietnamese commanded by an American was inserted a short distance away from the trapped men, and arrived at the site just before dusk. there was still gunfire heard, but the men were no longer under direct fire. It was decided to evacuate the surviving crew and team members and the bodies of the dead. The helicopter could not be moved to extract Ramirez' body without heavy equipment, so the men were forced to leave him behind. Two days later, a search and recovery team arrived at the site to find that not only was there no sign of Ramirez, but also that a road had been cleared and the chopper was gone. Ramirez is one of nearly 2500 Americans who did not return from Vietnam. All the survivors of the crash on May 23, 1969 were certain Ramirez was dead, and that his body had been taken by an enemy that would have little regard for who or what he was. There can be no
question, however, that the enemy could tell us what happened to Armando Ramirez. The same is true for a very high percentage of the missing. Tragically, thousands of reports have been received that indicate Americans are still being captive in Southeast Asia. While Ramirez may not be one of them, the evidence suggests that hundreds of his comrades are alive, waiting for their country to free them. One can imagine that Ramirez would be there if he could, ready to help bring them to freedom. Warmest regards,
 

1969

07

17

E-4 SP4

Dennis W.

Bingham

11B4S

KIA

Laos; CCC, RT New Hampshire, in Juliet 9, SSW of Leghorn RR Site; while accompanying RT Hawaii

17 Jul 69-  Dennis W Bingham, SP/4 USASF, CCC-KIA RT HAWAII during a mission in Loas.

 

1969

07

25

O-2 1LT

Vincent F.

Sabatinelli

31542

KIA, helicopter crash

Laos; CCN, FOB4, on the ground and was struck by a rotor blade of a crashing CH-34

25 Jul 69- Vencent F Sabatinelli, 1LT 0-2, USASF, Expoitation Force, CCN, Da Nang, Ops 35 KIA RR while performing operations in Laos, target area "AS-1" in the A Shau Valley. In referance to 2LT Vince Sabatinelli who is listed as KIA/DNH, I can tell you this with a great deal of certainty; Vince was a platoon leader, A CO Hatchet Force out of CCN in DaNang. His platoon was on a mission (I dont know where) A CH34 Kingbee Crashed from a fairly low altitude, Vince and others were on the ground at the time. The Kingbee tipped over, the rotor hitting Vince in the Head. There was also an SFC named Sager who was on the mission. Sager sustained some broken/cracked ribs, and remained with CCN for the rest of his tour in a non combat capacity. I arrived at CCN DaNang 3 days after these events. A Company Hatchet was reconstituted, and I wound up being a squad Leader. My first job was to go up to Mai Loc and get all the Yards back that others had sent on leave. I got em all back to DaNang, but than for some reason most of A Company Hatchet wound up deing Muongs and Cambodes Mike Chwatek | m_chwatek@yahoo.com | Colchester Ct. USA Sunday, January 28, 2007 at 08:09:14 AM PST (NOTE: THIS INCIDENT CLOSELY RESEMBLES THAT OF LT PETER MURRAY, WHO WAS KILLED ON 27 AUGUST 1969; BOTH FROM COMPANY A, CCN'S HATCHET COMPANY), I STRONGLY SUSPECT MIKE CHAWATEK IS MISTAKEN AS WE HAVE THE FOLLOWING FROM GARY ROUSH OF THE VHPA: "Our information came from an accident report that is on file at Ft. Rucker, AL and it list  SABATINELLI as one of the passengers.  This Huey burned so the TAGCEN complimentary cause of death to BURNS/FIRE fits this Huey.

UH-1H  67-17533.  This was owned by 525th MI, and they were doing a run from Saigon up to Pleiku. 
    Crew Members:
AC CW2 GOLDBERG STEWART B KIA
P W1 TF DEVEREUX
CE E5 R MUNKVOLD
G SP4 VALDEZ DAVID MEDINA KIA
Passengers and/or other participants:
CPT SABATINELLI VINCENT F, AR, PX, KIA
CPT PEELE ELVERNON, AR, PX, KIA
SFC EVERETT JAY LEROY, AR, PX, KIA
SP4 DYCKS RONALD KING, AR, PX, KIA
SGT DU BEAU GERALD EUGENE, NOT, KIA
CPT PFEFER ARTHUR THOMAS, AR, PX, KIA

 

1969

07

27

E-6 SSG

Steven

Nagy

11B4S

KIA

Laos; CCN, RT Crusader

27 Jul 69- Steven Nagy, SSG E-6, USASF, CCN, RT Crusader, One Zeror-Died of Multiple fragmentation wounds aboard the Hospital Ship REPOSIE, I believe or the other ship that worked off the coast of DaNang-Charles Gray

Steven Nagy Fr SF Honor Roll

 

1969

07

30

E-4 SP4

Samuel W.

Walthour, Jr.

91B2S

KIA

SVN; CCS, killed at 1-0 school while waiting for extraction; multiple frag wounds

30 Jul 69- Samuel W Walthour, SP/4, USASF, Camp Long Thanh, 0ps34/38 was killed while at the 'One-Zero/Team Leader's School" KIA-RR

 

1969

07

31

E-6 SSG

Michael P.

Burns

11F4S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, w/ RT Kentucky, YD003191 (or YD025198??), w/ 1LT Neal near Hwy 921

1969

07

31

O-2 1LT

Dennis P.

Neal

31542

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, w/ RT Kentucky, YD003191 (or YD025198??), w/ SSG Burns near Nwy 921

31 Jul 69 - Dennis Paul Neal, 1LT 0-2 of Tarpin Springs Fl;  Michael Paul Burns, SP/4 of El Paso, TX, CCN, and Two Special Commandos CCN, Da Nang, Ops 35 MIA-Presumptive finding of death. Two Americans and two SCU were severely wounded during an initial attack and overran by an unknown size enemy force 1-1.2 miles inside Laos west of Hue. The surviving team members had been split from the team and they were able to evade the enemy and extracted. The surviving member reported that they believed their seriously wounded comrades had been killed; However, when last heard, a radio transmission was heard "help, help, help, for God?s sake help!" Two wounded team members had to be left behind due to heavy enemy activity encountered. An immediate aerial search was conduct without success. Another search was conducted two later without success. Due to heavy enemy activity and concentration in the area, no further search was made. NOTE: Surviving Commando reported Burns was lying on his back with severe head wounds, possibly dead, after incurring blast of a B-40 rocket and Neal was severely wounded in the chest by the B-40 blast.

DennisPNeal.jpg (33606 bytes)Dennis P. Neal

Photo's from Vietnam Virtual Wall

Dennis P NealDennis P NealMichael P Burns

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Captain Dennis P. Neal, SP4 Michael P. Burns, and four indigenous troops were conducting a reconnaissance patrol in Laos. After completing their mission, the team successfully moved to a pre-briefed location in the rugged jungle covered mountains near Highway 912, just west of the Lao/South Vietnamese border. They set up a security perimeter and waited for extraction helicopters to arrive. Before the extraction, the patrol was attacked by North Vietnamese forces. A B-40 rocket explosion killed two of the indigenous troops, severely wounded both Neal (chest) and Burns (head), and inflicted lesser injuries on the other two troops. Believing Neal and Burns to be dead or near death, the two survivors took an emergency radio and moved out to escape the area. The two were successfully extracted and search forces inserted. Although the search forces located the site of the firefight, no sign of Neal or Burns was found. Since there was no positive evidence of their deaths, both men were placed in MIA status. On 6 Sep 1978, the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for now-Major Dennis Neal. As of 01 Feb 2005 neither Neal's nor Burns' remains have been repatriated.

09 Aug 69 - Janousek, Ronald, 1Lt, and  Bruce E  Kane, Cpl, USMC Helicopter Crew providing support in Laos-KIA. The Helicopter was hit by enemy fire, burst into flames and crashed into a Laotian River. Two members of the crew survived. [Photo on page 98, SOG A Photo History of the Secret Wars by John Plaster] 

Bruce Kane

      The following filed by Mark Byrd, USMC: On August 9 of 1969 a flight of Scarface two gunships flying under the call sign “Eagle Claw” led a combined force of Marine, Army and AFVN (Vietnamese Air Force) helicopters on a Prairie Fire Emergency across the  Laotian border.  The lead Marine aircraft was flown by Major Tom Hill with 1st Lt. Ronald J. Janousek as his copilot and Corporal J. J. Dean  and Corporal Bruce E. Kane as flight crew.   Their mission was to command the extraction of a  SOG reconnaissance platoon which was being chased by a large North Vietnamese Army force.  The mission aircraft included Major Hill’s two UH1E Huey gunships, 4 Army Cobras , several  Army Huey slicks, and several VNAF H-34's.  When Major Hill arrived in the vicinity of the reconnaissance team with his flight of two UH1E gunships he learned that just a few minutes earlier a Army Cobra, piloted by Captain Mike Brokovick,  had taken heavy fire from a ridge line near the team's position.  Major Hill exposed his aircraft to the same gun positions as he maneuvered to over fly the recon team.  His aircraft was hit by ground fire and lost power.  The aircraft was streaming fuel which burst into flames as Major Hill maneuvered to land near the Xepon River.  The aircraft became a fireball as it autorotated towards the river. At 75 feet above the ground the tail boom fell off and the Huey abruptly fell into the river.  The aircraft came to rest inverted and almost fully submerged in the swiftly flowing water.  The other pilots acted swiftly to investigate the wreckage for signs of survivors despite continued heavy enemy fire.   The four Cobras led by Captain Mike Brokovick made repeated gun runs to suppress enemy fire while an AFVN  H-34, call sign Kingbee, hovered along the river looking for survivors.  Kingbee found Major Hill and Corporal Dean alive on the opposite bank of the river, about 100 meters down stream from the crash site.  One of the Army Huey slicks subsequently lifted them out on strings.  Meanwhile the Kingbee drew continuous enemy fire as he air taxied back upstream to the crash site and looked for the other two crew members.  He hovered close to the sunken wreckage and pushed the main landing gear wheel of his H-34 through the cockpit window.   Then he lifted the wreckage up so that his crew chief could see the interior of the cabin.  No survivors were seen.  Throughout this time the Kingbee was under continuous enemy fire as he performed an extremely dangerous maneuver which risked trapping his aircraft in the wreckage of the Huey.  The mission leader then turned his attention to the rescue of the SOG platoon which remained under enemy pressure beyond the river.  After returning to base to refuel and rearm the mission aircraft successfully extracted the SOG platoon.  Captain Frank Cuddy, also from HML 367, led a relief flight of gunships to the crash site on the evening of the crash and again on the following morning.  These efforts to search the site were driven away by intense enemy fire, and enemy activity at the crash site involving numerous boats was observed.  No further missions to search the site were mounted by HML 367 as the survivors were presumed dead or captured.    Bruce Kane’s mother was informed that her son had died in Vietnam.  She was told that her son survived the crash and made it safely ashore but returned to the aircraft in an heroic attempt to rescue the copilot from which he did not return.   For this valor Bruce Kane was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross  The bodies of Cpl. Kane and Lt. Janousek have never been recovered.  In 1994 the DOD took the position that Cpl. Kane should be classified as “Last Known Alive”, which includes cases in which the crew members are believed to have successfully exited their aircraft and to have been alive on the ground.

A note from The Virtual Wall

Four men of Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 367 went down when their UH-1E (BuNo 155339) was hit by enemy fire in the vicinity of the SVN/Laotian border northwest of the Rockpile:

bullet

MAJ Thomas B Hill, pilot

bullet

1ST LT Ronald James Janousek, copilot

bullet

CPL Bruce Edward Kane, gunner

bullet

LCPL John O Dean, crew chief

Major Hill was flight lead for several helicopters conducting an emergency extraction mission in Laos. The aircraft was making an approach to a 3,400 foot ridge when it received intense automatic weapons fire. With the engine failing, the pilot commenced autorotation for a valley floor. Passing thru about 1500 feet, a severe explosion occurred and the cabin and cockpit were immediately engulfed in flames. Major Hill headed the aircraft for a pool in a mountain river, landing in water estimated to be twelve feet deep with a current so swift that the aircraft was immediately pulled backwards and rolled inverted in the water. MAJ Hill exited the aircraft and made it ashore. CPL Kane had jumped from the aircraft just prior to water impact and made it ashore. However, as Hill came to surface the first time, he saw CPL Kane re-enter the water to assist the remaining crew members. MAJ Hill and LCPL Dean were rescued by a "Kingbee" H-34 piloted by Captain Ahn (AFVN 219 Squadron). Captain Ahn air taxied 100 yards in an attempt to recover of the bodies of the apparently dead crewmembers but was forced from the area by enemy small arms fire.

From VHPA and USMC Vietnam Helicopter Association data

1969

08

19

O-4 MAJ

Philip M.

Werbiski

31542

DNH, fixed wing crash

Laos; Project 404, had been in B-56 Project Sigma in '66-'67 as a CPT

19 Aug 69-Werbiski, Philip M., Cpt, killed in air crash (non hostile) Laos (Dept of Defense Project 404) former 5 SF Group (Det B-56) (Project Sigma) (Captain 1966-67)

 

1969

08

19

O-3 CPT

Robert M.

Nelson

31542

DNH, fixed wing crash

Laos; unit UNK, was he Project 404??, loss location UNK, SFOC Grad Class 2E-F8, 3-67, 30 June 1967

19 Aug 69 Nelson, Robert M is listed as  ASST ARMY ATTACHE, AMEMBASSY LAOS-Air loss over Laos. -not SOG

 

1969

08

26

E-6 SSG

Kenneth W.

Worthley

11B4S

KIA, DWM

Cam; CCC, RT Florida, just prior to being lifted out on a string

26 Aug 69 - Kenneth W. Worthley, SSG E-6, USASF, CCC, Recon Tm Flordia, Team Leader-KIA-RR Worthley, One-Zero, Bob Garcia, One-One, and a new man, Dale Hanson, One-Two, inserted into Northern Cambodia. Inserting uneventful, however, shortly thereafter, two trackers had picked up their trail, Garzia fired killing one and then taking an M-79, he killed another NVA. Brush started to break around them; apparently, they were being followed by a company size element. The team was now on the run when Hanson left middle finger was shot off. It was now getting dark, the team hid in a narrow gully for the night. At dawn, the team moved into the jungle where the team encountered two NVA who were killed by Worthley. One of the NVA was identified as probable Chinese Colonel intelligence officer. Again, the team was on the run as more NVA arrived and was hot on their trail. The team worked themselves to a bamboo grove, adequate for a STABO rig extraction. Garcia calling in air strikes to hold the enemy at bay. The first Huey arrived and dropped four ropes, Three SCU and Worthley?s body were extracted. Worthely had been shot through the neck and died at the LZ. A second helicopter arrived and extracted the remainder of the team. (Note: The documents captured from the intelligence officer contained the name of double agents in South Vietnam, including the name of the double agent that was executed by 5th SFGA. Col Rheault was the Group commander and  had been charged with murder and imprisoned for several months. He was released shortly after the death of Worthley). Frank Greco submitted the quoted portion to be fair to Col Rheault.

 

1969

08

27

O-2 1LT

Peter H.

McMurray

31542

DNH, helicopter crash

Laos; CCN, Nung Company, during extraction off Co Roc Mountain; struck by rotor blade

27 Aug 69 - Peter Hinchman McMurray, (Age: 24 years 0 months and 6 days) 1LT 0-2, USASF SOA, CCN, 1st Plt Ldr, Co A, Da Nang, Ops 35, of Duxbury, McmurrayPH01c.jpgMA., Killed In Action, Not As A Result Of Hostile Fire (Note the official government classification of "Non-Hostile Death" is in error) - Remains Recovered, and Two Special Commando of CCC, Kontom-KIA. SOG had directed CCN to put a CCC platoon onto Co Roc Mountain; in addition, a Support Platoon from CCN and a Recon Team from CCN were to be inserted. The Support Platoon was commanded by Lt McMurray. As a Kingbee (H34) helicopter made its approach to the LZ, its rotor blade hit the hillside and the aircraft crashed into the LZ. McMurray was killed either by a blade or a rock sent spinning by the blade. A short time later, SOG notified CCN that enemy intercepts indicated the enemy knew of the insertion and that the CCC platoon was moving south off of Co-Roc to their (enemy's) area of operation (AO). The enemy planned to attack that night. BG (then Major) George "Speedy" Gaspard flew to Co-Roc where he coordinated activities, toe poppers and obstacles were already set around the perimeter. The CCC platoon was notified of the impending attack and was hit about 4 am by a B40 rocket attack with two Commando Killed and four Wounded. After daylight, that platoon was picked up. The Recon Team continued to move toward the river bottom and continued its mission. Gen Gaspard and the support personnel were picked up-(Information furnished by BG Gaspard). Col (then Cpt). Randy Givens reports Lt. McMurray was his roommate and Lt McMurray was a Platoon Leaders in Company A and not in Company B and confirms the information furnished by BG Gaspard. THERE IS A DIFFERENT, INTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATION OF EVENTS INVOLVING THE DEATH OF LT McMURRAY RECORDED IN THE BOOK, 15 Months in SOG, A Warrior's Tour, although the book is written as non- fiction it is essentially fiction with no historical value: General Gaspard writes that Lt McMurray was a fine young officer and deserves a better fate.. Col. Nicholson states he was the Company Commander of Co B and Lt McMurray as his Executive Officer. A Recon Team had found and reported a 6-8" pipeline which had been constructed in the Mu Gia Pass area where the Route 911 of the Ho Chi Minh trail comes out of North Vietnam and enters Laos. Two Platoons form Company B were inserted into the location where the pipeline was discovered with the mission to destroy and disrupt the oil supply going to Vietnam and during the extraction of the element, the last chopper was loaded with the two Americans and two SCU. As the helicopter began its ascent, it was engaged by frontal enemy machine gun which killed the Pilot and Co pilot resulting in the helicopter crashing. One of the SCU had been thrown from the helicopter and was dead, then the body of McMurray was located, he also had been thrown out of the helicopter as it was spinning to the ground when the helicopter blade hit him in the chest killing him. ADDED: Aug 29, 05. The picture furnished. "You will have to forgive me on some of the details since it has been so long.  Also, I don’t remember all the names.  We inserted from a marine base near the DMZ on Kingbee choppers flown by VN pilots.  As we were approaching I took a few pictures of the area and of Co Roc just prior to landing.  I was in the final chopper coming in to land with ammunition and another American and a couple of ‘yards.  As we were coming in to land I stood in the door ready to offload the ammunition to Lt. McMurray, who was standing at the edge of the LZ.  The VN pilots appeared to be a little anxious and came in too fast and could not slow enough.  The left tire of the chopper hit and caused the chopper to start wobbling and the pilot lost control.  One of the blades hit the ground and threw the angle of the chopper toward Lt. McMurray.  Even though he had originally been standing out of the wash of the blades the bounce threw the chopper toward him as it tilted.  The blade caught the Lt. in the head and killed him instantly.  I don’t think he ever knew what hit him.  After that the chopper continued to roll over and the blades beat the ground until they all broke off or bent.  As the chopper went over I fell out the door with the case I was holding.  The remaining cases fell on me and the chopper slid down the hill about five or six feet.  The fuel lines broke and started spraying all over the ground underneath.  I think there was one other death in the crash but I can’t remember if it was a yard or one of the VN.  The remaining passengers were able to make it out but the ammo cases had wedged between me and the chopper and I couldn’t move my legs.  I just knew that there was going to be a fire at any minute.  About when I was ready to die from fear, the chopper slid a little further down the hill and relieved the pressure enough so I was able to work my way free and crawl out from under on the side of the wheel.  All I got out of the whole ordeal was skinned legs and a very sore leg.  We shot a few M-79’s into the chopper to make sure it burned,… and did it burn!  I guess the whole thing was made of magnesium because when it finished there was hardly anything left but white ash. My unit was a hatchet force from CCS, not CCC.  After so long I don’t even remember which company.  However,  the events I have accounted were traumatic enough for me to remember them, somewhat.  We went in to support the CCC detachment and to search for and destroy some gun emplacements in the mountain.  We RON’d on top of Co Roc that night and proceeded down the South side the next morning.  On the way we could hear signal shots.  Since it appeared we were being followed our next RON was on a small hill next to Co Roc.  During the night a small force of NVA managed to creep up to about 15 feet of our perimeter on the side of the hill we had come up.  They initiated contact early in the morning with a B-40 rocket that hit the opposite side of a tree near where I was sleeping and started a continuous spray from a machine gun emplacement.  This lasted a few minutes and then they were gone.  We had about 7 wounded, and 2 of them were brothers (yards) from my platoon.  One of them was hit in the forehead and lost the skull, revealing the brain.  A couple of hours after the ambush a typhoon rolled across the area and we were socked in with strong winds and rain.  This lasted through the next day and night and precluded any extraction until the following day.  All during this time we had to listen to the wails of the wounded without being able to do anything but try and relieve the pain for them.  The brothers both died the next day. Michael C. Moore, Sgt. CCS  1969 – 1970 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AT MURRAY

Peter McMurray fr SF Honor Roll

 

1969

08

28

E-4 SP4

Richard K.

Joecken

11B2S

KIA, DWM

Laos; CCC, Hatchet Force; small arms fire

28 Aug 69- Richard K. Joecken, SP/4, USASF, CCC, Sqd Ldr-KIA. The virtual wall has him as being assigned to SF Training Group, Co C, 5th SFGA. Note, there was no training group within 5th SFGA per se and certainly not Co C, as it was an operational element.

 

 

1969

09

21

E-5 SP5

Alan B.

Cecil

11F2S

KIA, BNR

Laos; CCN, RT Moccasin, XD414634, 48k NW of Khe Sanh

21 Sep 69- Alan Bruce Cecil, SP/5 of Holdenville, OK USASF and Commando Scout SOA Command and Control, Ops 35, Recon in Laos KIA due to enemy fire, MIA-Presumptive finding of death. The team was engaged by the enemy and in the initial burst, two team members were killed, including Cecil. He was shot in the head above the right eye with the other team members reporting that he was not breathing. The remaining team was able to evade the enemy; however, they had to leave the dead behind. Enemy activity in the area precluded infiltration into the area to conduct a search.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Recon Team MOCASSIN was inserted into Laos on 21 Sep 1969 in order to conduct surveillance operations against North Vietnamese forces moving down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Shortly after insertion the team, which consisted of two US and two ARVN soldiers, was engaged by an NVA security force. SP5 Cecil and one of the ARVN troops were killed by gunshot and the US team leader was wounded. The two survivors were able to evade the NVA and were extracted after sundown, but it was not possible to recover the bodies of the two men lost. SP5 Cecil's remains have not been recovered.

 

1969

09

23

O-3 CPT

Stephen J.

Chaney

31542

KIA

Laos; CCN, RT Missouri

23 Sep 69- Stephen J Chaney, CPT 0-3, USASF SOA, RT MISSOURI, CCN. (S-3) Misadventure (Friendly Fire). NOTE: HE had served in both CCS and CCN.

 

1969

09

26

O-3 CPT

Ronald M.

Goulet

31542

KIA, DWM

Laos; CCC, Hatchet Force, mult frag wounds

26 Sep 69- Ronald Marcel Goulet, CPT 0-3, Ops 35, Killed-RR CPT Ron Goulet was my company commander, same hatchet force, Co A.  I was there (on a hilltop in Laos) when he was killed. He died on the chopper reroute to Pleiku. He was injured on the hilltop, an RPG rocket detonated almost at his feet. VERY badly injured, severe hand and face injury, entire side of chest caved in, conscious for a few minutes only. I was first on the scene (within 10 seconds of the explosion), and our SF medic arrived just a minute or so later. Nothing we could do, really. One of the other platoon sergeants, a platoon leader, and a squad leader were in the immediate area (the company CP, such as it was; we'd just arrived on the hilltop and were just getting positioned for the night, digging in, etc.). All three were wounded by the same explosion. (It was quite a scene, to say the least, when I came running in to that little bushy area.) Plt Sgt (another SFC, name forgotten) hit in the throat but not that bad. But out of action. LT Plt Leader (nice little guy, great sense of humor, forget his name too) had classic sucking chest wound (in his back, but it bubbled anyway). (I got to treat it, my first!) Squad leader blown upside down into an old NVA trench, dozens of small shrapnel wounds, bad case of shock and bleeding. All survived. The company XO (an unpopular 1LT whose name I forget) got on the radio and called for medevac. The SF medic and I carried Ron out to the nearest clear area (the edge of a 500 pound crater on the top of the hill, about 30 meters away from the CP in my platoon's sector of the perimeterl). When the Huey came in, it couldn't touch down (not enough room), but hovered maybe chest high. Medic and I started to lift Ron up to the hands reaching down from the Huey .. and the medic promptly slipped and fell down into the crater, leaving me with Ron in my arms! I'm no weight lifter, weighed maybe 160 pounds then (skinny for a 6 footer), but sucked it up, went into berserker mode, got both hands under Ron's body (somehow) and lifted him overhead to where the guys in the chopper could grab him. (My back's never been the same either.) I was told later that Ron was DOA at the Pleiku Army Hospital. I suspect he was probably dead when I lifted him up into the chopper. No signs of life, dead limp. No matter; we tried anyway. I can't remember how the other wounded got out. I presume in that same chopper (we didn't have that many medevac ships 60 KM inside Laos, as you can imagine) .. but I have no memories of them getting on board. XO was still talking with higher HQ (probably through LEGHORN radio relay site), they decided to go ahead and pull us out rather than have us spend the night on that hill and maybe have to be taken out under fire the next day. Reports of small contacts on the north side of the perimeter, maybe some enemy fire (unknown, suspect just nervous 'yards). Someone saw something to the NE, and an A1E came in and shot up the area at the base of our hill (beautiful sight, that). Then the slicks and kingbees came in and pulled us out. XO stayed in the bottom of the bomb crater handling the radio. The few NCOs I could find helped pull in the perimeter and get people out. Yards were nervous at first when the first slick came in, but after I got pissed and threatened to hammer a couple of them with Goulet's damaged CAR-15 for a club, they settled down. Big eyes, but they stayed in their holes until I waved them out to board a ship. There was a pause for a few minutes, so I went around the old perimeter to ensure nothing valuable had been abandoned, policed up a few Claymore mines left behind, all looked okay. But it was a nervous situation, not sure if NVA were snooping around, so I didn't spend much time at that. I came out in the next to last chopper, XO insisted on waiting for the last bird with the last few 'yards. No further contact, extracted without incident. By David Kirschbaum, SGM, USA SF (Ret), Recon 10, RTs KENTUCKY and MAINE, Plt Sgt, Co A SOA (CCC). (Note: David request he not be contacted regarding this incident, he has nothing more to add).
 

1969

09

27

E-4 SP4

Mark L.

Brown

11B4S

KIA

Cam; CCS, RT Hatchet; small arms fire

27 Sep 69- Mark L. Brown, SP/4, USASF, CCS, Radio Operator-KIA RT Hatchet with Alex Saunders as One Zero and Ronald "Gus" Atwell as One One.-Charles Gray

 

1969

09

28

E-6 SSG

Michael A.

Piacentino

05B4S

KIA, DOW

Laos; CCN, w/ RT??

28 Sep 69- Michael A Piacentino, SSG E-6 USASF CCN, -KIA in Laos Died of multiple fragmentation wounds

From: Bilbrot@aol.com - My name is Mary Bilbro and I am the daughter of SSGT Michal Allen Piacentino who died in Vietnam in September of 1969. I was four years old at the time of his death.  I am wondering if anyone can lead me to any information in regards to his military service.  My mother still does not want to speak of what happened.  I do have memories of my father, but would like to get to know what kind of person he was from those that might have remembered him. Thank you for your time, Mary Bilbro RN, USAT level II, USAC level II, USAT&F, MES, ACE

        

1969

10

8

E-5 SGT

James L.

Gasseling

11B4S

KIA

SVN; CCS, Exploitation (Hatchet) Force, ??where??, Darlac Prov.

08 Oct 69- James L. Gasseling, SGT E-5, USASF, (Exploitation Hatchet Force) CCS-KIA small arms fire, Darlac Province, South Vietnam

James L Gasseling (Fr: SF Honor Roll)

 

1969

10

9

O-3 CPT

William H.

Morris, Jr.

31542

KIA, helicopter crash

SVN; CCS, MLSS, Binh Long Prov., Ass't Launch Site Cdr, w/ Acre & Miller; 195 AHC #66-01106

1969

10

9

O-4 MAJ

Lawrence D.

Acre

31542

KIA, helicopter crash

SVN; CCS, MLSS, Binh Long Prov., Launch Site Cdr, w/ Morris & Miller; 195 AHC #66-01106

1969

10

9

E-7 SFC

Robert R.

Miller

11F4S

KIA, helicopter crash

SVN; CCS, MLSS, Binh Long Prov., Launch Site NCOIC, w/ Acre & Morris; 195 AHC #66-01106

09 Oct 69- Lawrence D. Acre, MAJ 0-4, Launch Site Cmdr; William H. Morris, Jr., CPT 0-3, Asst Launch Site Cmdr and Robert R. Miller, SFC E-7, Launch Site NCOIC, MLSS, USASF, CCS.-KIA The commander was taking SFC Miller who was a replacement along with other staff on a fly over of the Area of Operation to familiarize them to the operational area. The 195th AHC Helicopter, a UH-1D, SN: 66-01106, crashed in the Quan Loi area in support of this mission,  KIA were Pilots CPT John Patrick Brennan & CPT Charles David Jageler, Crew Chief SP4 Richard Allen Smith, Sr., and Gunner SP4 Tony Maria Vasquez.  [filed by Tyler Furbish, 195th AHC historian].

Robert R. Miller (Fr Vir VN Wall)

Bob, Miller was killed on a mission out of Quan Loi (CCS South Launch Site) he was going to take over as the Site's senior NCO.  He and Major Acre were just taking over the site during a normal rotation of officers and NCO's. They were in the C & C slick observing a classified infiltration into Cambodia when the chopper was shot down. Morris was the site XO.  Jon Ross was the CO. I was assigned to run the site until Bruce Koch came on board. Ross was on re-assignment orders when the incident occurred. There were no survivors. Bob Bost (Note: Cpt Jon Ross later became the commander of Detachment A, 105, Co A, 1st SFGA on Okinawa, I was the XO-RLNoe 

I am very familiar with a crash on 09 Oct 1969, just out side of Bu Dop SF camp. There were seven aboard including the crew. It was helo 395 and was carrying Maj Acre, my replacement; Msg Miller, new team Sgt.; Cpt Bill Morris, my XO; Cpt C Jaegler, Air Mission CO; Sp4 Smith, Door gunner; Sgt Vasquez, Crew Chief; and last name slips me, he was the left seat and was very young. . They are all located on the wall at 58, 18 W. It was my C&C. I was standing strip alert that morning and was pulled out for a meeting with MACSOG, and Bill came out and took my place. Probably the worst day of my life. The recovery of all remains was complete to include identification. Lt. Bost with the hatchet team assisted.  Please have them contact me if further information is needed. The unit in direct support was the 195th Light Helo Co. out of Bin Hoa and the name escaping me was one of the new pilots assigned. I can answer one point for sure. There were no survivors, all were still in the helo, burned and still sitting in the seats with exception of Vasquez. He was laying next to the A/C, but close and burned. Both pilots were still strapped in their seats. I helped remove all into body bags and slung them back out to Bu Dop which was very close, just across the border. Don Mckiver was the chase medic and took it from there and they were brought them back to MLS Quan Loi for further travel to grave registration. I still have some very difficult times with this, so bear with me. I will recover that name. Dark, dark, day, never to leave me.-Jon Ross

Received: Dec 17. 2008:

Hello Mr. Noe

My name is Candace Smith Raybon. My grandfather served two tours in Vietnam and was KIA 10-09-1969. From your site, I received more information about what exactly happened to my grandfather that awful day thanks to Bob Bost and Jon Ross. I was wondering if you could possibly give me any contact information you may have for these men. Email addresses would be wonderful. Thank you so much for any help you can provide. And thank you for your service to our country and to the memory of all these great men. Thanks again, Candace Smith Raybon ccsmith@shrp.umsmed.edu

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 09 Oct 1969 the command ship overseeing an insertion was shot down just south of Srak Karan (1), just by the Cambodian border in the northeasternmost corner of Binh Long Province. The seven men aboard UH-1D tail number 66-01106, four aircrew and three Special Forces personnel, were killed in the incident:

bullet

Aircrew, 195th AHC, 222nd Avn Bn
bullet

CPT Charles D. Jageler, Gatesville, TX, pilot

bullet

CPT John P. Brennan, Union, NJ, copilot

bullet

SP4 Richard A. Smith, Hollywood, FL

bullet

SP4 Tony M. Vasquez, Kenilworth, UT

bullet

CCS, MACV-SOG
bullet

MAJ Lawrence D. Acre, Spokane, WA

bullet

CPT William H. Morris, Mechanicsburg, PA

bullet

SFC Robert R. Miller, New Orleans, LA

 

1969

10

20

E-6 SSG

William W. W.

Stubbs

11B4S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCC, RT California, YB705987, in Laos east of Nakhon Phanom

20 Oct 69- William Wentworth Stubbs, SSG E6 of Newport, WA, USASF and Four Special Commandos RT California, CCC, Kontum, Ops 35 MIA-Presumptive finding of Death. The team was performing a recon mission 20 miles inside of Laos northeast of Nakhon Phanom and had stopped for a break. As the team stared to move away, Stubbs was with the team's point element when the team was attacked by a numerically superior enemy force. During the initial burst, Stubbs was observed being shot several times in the head at close range by automatic weapons fire. Three hand grenades were thrown at Stubbs position. Due to enemy fire, the team was unable to move to his position and retrieve Stubbs. The team was forced to withdraw leaving Stubbs behind. A search was conducted on the 21st without success. (The distance was corrected from 20 miles inside Laos to less than 10km.  Correction by Frank Greco). He was Born: 6 August 1946; and Home of Record: Newport, Washington. During the Vietnam War, he served with the Special Operations Augmentation-Command and Control Central (SOA-CCC), 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and was stationed at its Forward Operational Base (FOB) # 2 at Kontum City in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, a.k.a. South Vietnam). He was assigned to the Reconnaissance Company on Reconnaissance Team (RT) "California." On the 19th of October 1969, RT California, consisting of three American Special Forces soldiers and six Vietnamese Montagnards (Special Commando Unit [SCU, pronounced Sioux], volunteers) was launched from the Special Forces A-Team border camp at Dak Pek and inserted into eastern-central Laos by a Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) CH-34 helicopter assigned to the "King Bees," a special operations air support unit. On the second day of an eight-day reconnaissance mission in target area S-7, the RT was ambushed by a North Vietnam Army (NVA) unit, which was estimated to be of platoon size. The ambush took place at approximately 1130 hours, local time, in a thickly wooded area on a steeply inclined mountainside in the vicinity of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As a result of the encounter, one American was killed in action (KIA), one American was injured, and five Montagnards were wounded in action (WIA). Of the enemy, its KIAs and WIAs were unknown. The RT eluded pursuit for five hours, having to break contact several times with suppressive automatic weapons fire and maneuver while transporting the most severely wounded. Finally, the team reached a clearing on high ground that was suitable for a helicopter to land, and was now able to make radio contact with friendly forces. Air support of two USAF A-1E "Sky Raiders" aircraft was dispatched to suppress the ambush area while an U.S. Army UH-1 helicopter extracted the RT from the pick-up zone (PZ). The following day, a Special Forces Bright-Light Team from the launch site at Dak To, RVN was inserted back into the area. However, no trace of Bill Stubbs or any of the equipment left behind by the RT was to be found, as the NVA had swept the area after the action. In January of 1970, S/Sgt. Stubbs was listed as MIA as a result of the action on 20 October 1969 in Laos at geographical coordinates 180524N-1050000E. 

William W Stubbs, Fr SF Honor Roll

 

1969

10

25

E-6 SSG

Ronald H.

Bozikis

11B4S

KIA, DWM

Laos; CCC, Exploitation Force, w/ CPT Whelan

1969

10

25

O-3 CPT

Joseph V.

Whelan

31542

KIA, DWM

Laos; CCC, Exploitation Force, w/ SSG Bozikis

25 Oct 69- Joseph V Whelan, Cpt 0-3, Plt Ldr and Ronald H. Bozikis, SSG E6 SQD LDR, Co B, Exp Force, CCN-KIA. Verification by David De Vault who replaced Bozikis.  Correction: Joseph Whelan and Ronald Bozikis are noted to have been serving out of CCN when in actuality they were members of CCC.  Sgt. Wayne Anderson (KIA Dec. 2, 1969) was a friend with both-by Bradford.

Ronald H. Bozikis (From SF Honor Roll)Joseph V Whelan Fr SF Honor Roll

 

1969

10

25

E-5 SGT

Charles E.

Shultz

11B4S

KIA, helicopter shotdown

Laos; CCN, MLT2, Bru Company; aboard B/101st AVN Huey #65-09738; pilot hit by RPG

25 Oct 69- Charles E. Shultz, SGT E-5, USASF, MLT 2 CCN, Asst Team Leader-KIA-->Click Lynn Black to view his comments on the Bright light extraction mission.


25 Oct 69
From: "Lynne Black"
To: <ray.davidson@usmc.mil
CC: "David Gordon"
Subject: 25 October 1969
Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2005 19:25:12 -0700

BlankRay Davidson,

This note is in response to your query about a MACV/SOG mission run 25 October 1969. My name is Lynne M. Black Jr, I was the team leader (One-Zero) of recon team Idaho headquartered out of MACV/SOG Command & Control North (CCN) at Marble Mountain, Danang, South Vietnam. The night of 25 October 1969 RT Idaho performed what was called a Bright Light mission (rescue) of surrounded Americans and Cambodians. Dave Gordon, who was the one live American rescued on that night. I received a Bronze Star for this mission and have added the text of the commendation for the benefit of your research and have attached the story of that night as near as I can remember after all these years. Lynne,

    I can't remember the exact numbers right now, but we had more than 2 Am and 8 Yards.  What I remember specifically is that SGT Schultz chose to stay back with me and put several Yards not one (2 to 4) on the first helo in his place.  His reasoning I'll address later. David


   DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
   HQ. 5TH SPECIAL FORCES GROUP (AIRBORNE), 1ST SPECIAL FORCES
   APO San Francisco 96240


   GENERAL ORDERS NUMBER: 1821

   AWARD OF THE BRONZE STAR MEDAL FOR HEROISM

   1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced.

   Black, Lynne M. Jr. (SSN),     STAFF SERGEANT, UNITED STATES ARMY, Special Operation Augmentation (CCN), 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, APO 96240

   Awarded: Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device (First Oak Leaf Cluster)
   Date action: 25 October 1969
   Theater: Republic of Vietnam

   Reason: For heroism in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: Staff Sergeant Black distinguished himself by heroism on 25 October 1969 while serving as a team leader of a six man rescue team whose mission was to be inserted behind enemy lines in an attempt to rescue four survivors of a helicopter crash. Prior to volunteering for the mission Sergeant Black was aware that the team would have to rappel onto an unsecured landing zone during the hours of darkness. The mission began at 2250 hours. Upon reaching the crash site the team found they could be inserted by jumping eight feet from the chopper into a small clearing. Sergeant Black organized the team on the ground and quickly moved them to the site of the crash. A quick inspection of the aircraft confirmed five KIA's. Sergeant Black then moved the team in search of the survivors. Radio contact was made with the survivors and Sergeant Black split his team, leaving half to secure the area of the crash, and taking the other half down a steep hill to the vicinity of the survivors. Within minutes the link-up was made with the survivors, and Sergeant Black called the rest of the team to his position. During the next hour he directed airstrikes upon the enemy positions and organized the extraction procedures. Sergeant Black remained on the ground until all other personnel were extracted by McGuire rigs and then came out on the last chopper.

   The next day Sergeant Black led another party into the area to recover the bodies and the crashed helicopter. Sergeant Black's heroism was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, Special Forces and the United States Army.

   Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of Executive Order 11046, dated 24 August 1962.

   GENERAL ORDERS NUMBER 1821 DATED 10 NOVEMBER 1969, HEADQUARTERS, 5TH
SPECIAL FORCES GROUP (AIRBORNE), 1ST SPECIAL FORCES, APO 96240

   FOR THE COMMANDER:


   OFFICIAL:

   Signed
   NELS V. Marin             P. B. Merridck
   CPT, INF                     LTC, Infantry
   Asst Adjutant              Adjutant

   DISTRIBUTION:
   2-CG, USARV, ATTN: AVHAG-PD, APO 96375
   2-CG, USARV, ATTN: AVHAG-DB, APO 96375
   10-A&D, 5th SFGA
   1-201 file indiv conc
   1-PIO, 5th SFGA
   2-Ref & Rec sets, A&D
   1-CO, Indiv conc
   2-CO, USAPERSVCSPTCEN
   ATTN: AGPE-F
   Ft Benjamin Harrison, Ind  46249
   For official personnel file indiv conc
   2-Office of Personnel Operations
   ATTN: EPADS-S
   Washington, DC  20310

Robert,

I am researching an extraction that occurred on the night of 25 Oct 1969.  Extraction pilots were told that 18 members of SF Team were to be extracted.  Second Slick in was downed by ground fire, 8 indigs and 2 SF were on board.  I am trying to find out what team it was (should have been
out of CCN)  I see a Schultz was KIA that day and another two but they were out of CCC.  Can you help? I noted that you posted the Sullivan story, thank you.  That column really means a lot to his daughter.  She tells me she reads it every morning.  Ray Davidson Program Analyst Amphibious Assault Vehicle
======

Subj:    CCN 69-70 Date:    8/17/01 11:16:49 AM Pacific Daylight Time

From:            Thomas.Clark@mail1.monmouth.army.mil (Clark, Thomas P CECOM LRC IEW)

To:            sog1rlnoe@aol.com ('sog1rlnoe@aol.com') 

Bob: 

  Hello.  My name is Tom Clark (CW4, now USAR inactive).  I was assigned to A Co, 158th AVN (Ghostriders) at Camp Evans, from AUG 69 to AUG 70 (callsign - "Joisey").  During my tour, I participated in several CCN missions including a couple of prairie fire events.  I have only just heard of the SOG story being documented in the book cited on the your web site, so I haven't read it yet.  I'll pick it up soon.  I know you're not familiar with every mission that took place in I corps but there was one in particular that has always left me wondering if everyone survived.  I wanted to see if you have any info on a prairie fire mission that took place somewhere between 15-29 OCT 69?  The mission was launched out of CCN Quang Tri, and involved the extraction of a five member team (all round eyes, I think) from an area about 100 miles north of Khe Sanh.  If memory serves after 32 years, the team had been attempting to break contact most of the day.  We (Ghostriders) got the call for volunteers about 1800 hours.  I was the Pilot in the lead aircraft.  The AC and mission commander was LT Danny "Dog" Salin.  As I understand it, Dog remained involved in SF Avn. after Vietnam.  Unfortunately, he was lost performing another mission for the company in Central America during 1995.   The Ghostriders launched three Hueys and D Co (Redskins) sent three Cobras.  We departed from CCN about 2000 hours, in marginal weather.  Our flight proceeded northwest up the plain of jars at 100 knots for 45-50 minutes, and then turned east for another 20 minutes.  The NVA were on the radio the entire time.  When we arrived at the site, there was intermittent light ground fire and we had a difficult time locating the team.  About this time, air dropped flares began to descend from the low overcast and our air cover (A-6s) appeared right after the flares.  With the flares we soon found the team in a bare tree, on top of a razor back ridgeline.  We terminated our approach at a high hover just over this tree.  Our crew threw out the four McGuire rig lines and the team tied off.  We had five guys on four rigs as Dog began a climb out amid growing ground fire.  Eventually, we disappeared into the clouds and the small arms stopped.  By now we were tight on fuel so, we had no choice but to return to Quang Tri direct, at 9000 feet in the clouds.  We tuned in the NDB at Quang Tri and hopped uncle Ho wasn't willing to waste a SAM on a helicopter.  Roughly 50 minutes later we put the team on the mat at CCN.  They were frozen but, they were alive and safe.  I never got a chance to talk with any of the team members and I've always wondered who they were, and if anyone was lost from the team before we pulled them out.  If you have anything on this mission that can be discussed, I'd appreciate the info.   Thanks, and thanks for providing the Ghostriders with the best missions I've ever flown. Tom "Joisey" Clark

 

1969

11

3

E-6 SSG

Gunther H.

Wald

05B2S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, RT Maryland, XD643674, 34k NW of Khe Sanh, Saravane Prov., w/ Brown & Shue

1969

11

3

E-6 SSG

Donald M.

Shue

05B4S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, RT Maryland, XD643674, 34k NW of Khe Sanh, Saravane Prov., w/ Brown & Wald

1969

11

3

E-6 SSG

William T.

Brown

12B4S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, RT Maryland, XD643674, 34k NW of Khe Sanh, Saravane Prov., w/ Shue & Wald

03 Nov 69- William T Brown, SSG E-6 of La Habra, CA, Tm Ldr; Gunter Herbert Wald, SGT E-5 of Bergen, NJ, Asst Tm Ldr, and Donald Monroe Shue, SGT E-5, Tm Radio Op, USASF, SOA, RT MARYLAND CCN, Da Nang, Ops 35, MIA-Presumptive finding of death. A numerically superior enemy force attacked the team at night while in their RON position 30 miles inside Laos near Ban Chakevy Tai. The NVA, stripped to their shorts, came in silently with only AK’s and grenades. Brown was wounded in the side, and Walt and Shue wounded by fragmentation. Both were last seen lying wounded on the ground as the team’s position was about to be overran. Due to heavy enemy activity, the remaining team had withdrawn leaving the three Americans behind. Adverse weather prevented a search until the 11th. The search team discovered "web gear" belonging to the wounded Americans, but nothing more.  Wald had been in the Marine Corp,but got out and joined the Army to be a Green Beret.  Shue was new to the team and it must have been his first mission.  Filed by: “The Frenchman" La Tourneau, (Why I know all this is because I was the team leader of RT. Virginia until Wald showed up and he out ranked me as a E-6 and I was only a E-5. They made him team leader and I ran two missions with him and then Tilt Meyers went home to the states and left Lynne Black alone on RT. Idaho. I then joined team Idaho as Black's 1-1. That gave CCN two operational teams with two Americans on each team).

Donald M ShueDonald M. Shue William T Brown WaldGH01c.jpg (11187 bytes)Gunter H Wald

In a message dated 8/24/2012 11:29:34 A.M. Central Daylight Time, triddleco@aol.com writes:

On 3 November 1969, Recon Team (RT) Maryland from MACV-SOG, CCN, was inserted into Laos on a recon mission. The team consisted of Gunther Wald, Bill Brown, and Donald Shue. The team came under heavy attack and all were mortally wounded. By the time a Bright Light (search and rescue/recovery) team went in, after being delayed by bad weather, all that was found was some web gear. In 2009, a farmer in Laos discovered some remains that were determined by JPAC to be those of Wald, Brown and Shue. Brown and Shue were identified early, returned and buried with full military honors. On 30 May 2012, Gunther Wald was finally accounted for. On 30 August 2012, the previously MIA members of RT Maryland will be buried together in Arlington National Cemetery. There will be a visitation and service for families and friends on 29 August 2012 from 1800 - 2000 at the Robert Murphy Funeral Home, 4510 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203. There will be a formal service at 1100 at the Old Post Chapel on Fort Myer. A caisson will take the remains of Wald, Brown and Shue to their final resting place in Arlington. They will be buried together with full military honors.The Special Forces Charitable Trust will sponsor a reception immediately following the ceremony for family, friends and SF Veterans in attendance.  T sends

 

In a message dated 8/30/2012 1:01:30 P.M. Central Standard Time, HewittGW@state.gov writes:

It was a beautiful day for such an occasion and we had a large number of SF – SOF types attending + 3-4 SOG reps to include Gary Robb and myself.

There should be a write up in the next SFA Drop for Chapter XI who came out well for the honors rendered. 3rd Infantry “The Old Guard”

with Horse Platoon Caisson and an Honors Platoon of sharp marching troops with fixed bayonets did it right down to the bugler and crisp ceremonial 21 gun salute. Having served in the Guard myself before SF and SOG and then seeing these three warriors come home together for a final resting place was a proud - moving moment indeed – especially since they are now joined company with 400,000+ other service members. Right next door to their gravesite was another SF soldier just returned from Afghanistan. None of that makes it better for the surviving families I am sure but they certainly can know others care and remember what their relative meant to us. One family came all the way from Germany for this and they were all I think proud to see the military never forgets their own. The Chaplain said it right when he said we interpret in the Holy Bible that we do not have a soul – rather a body. He went on to say though the body rests here We are each and communally the soul that rises and lives amongst us!! With that we are joined to these guys who gave their all for us in many measures and many ways. Made it right for me! Best to all of you out there who I am so proud to have known personally or just by affiliation to SOG. I will and I request that you raise an appropriate toast this evening to all of us here and passed before us. George W. “Sunny” Hewitt

A Note from The Virtual Wall

03 Nov 1969 SSGT William T. Brown , SST Gunther Wald, SP4 Donald Shue and six Montagnards formed a patrol operating in Laos. The patrol team was attacked by a numerically superior force 30 miles inside Laos near Ban Chakevy Tai in Saravane Province. Four of the Montangards escaped and returned to camp to report the ambush and capture of their comrades. When last seen, Brown had been wounded by a gunshot just below the rib cage. He was lying on the ground as the attackers shouted, "Capture the Americans". SSGT Wald and SP4 Shue were also seen to receive numerous shrapnel wounds from a fragmentation grenade. The other team members were forced to withdraw leaving them behind. Bad weather precluded insertion of a recovery team until November 11. They searched the entire area, but could only find some web gear which was identified as belonging to three of the indigenous team members and SP4 Shue. There was no trace of any graves or of the three missing Americans. They were classified as Missing In Action. As of 18 Nov 2006, SFC Shue's remains have not been repatriated. You can check current status on our MIA Current Status Page.

Robert, Donnie Shue and I were good friends in SFTG, he, James Greene and I were all NC guys, so we hung around together. Jimmy was KIA on Nui Coto with B55 March of '69, I replaced him there, Donnie went missing that Nov. I have talked with his wife and daughter several times over the years, telling the daughter about her father, who was a great guy.  Unfortunately I have no info on his last mission, but pray that he is finally found and put to rest. Jack Tobin

INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Case 1514       Names:  WALD, Gunther H.; BROWN, William T.; SHUE, Donald M. 

Incident Date: 3 November 1969 

UTM Coordinate:  48Q XD 643 674  

Country:  Laos                                    Province:  Savannakhet         

 

Unit Assigned:  Reconnaissance Team Maryland, Special Operations Augmentation (CCN), 5th Special Forces Group. 

Background:  On 3 November 1969, SSG Gunther H. Wald (10), SSG William T. Brown, and SP4 Donald M. Shue (12) were members of Reconnaissance Team (RT) Maryland operating in Laos near the border with Vietnam.  RT Maryland consisted of three U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers and six indigenous soldiers.  The nine men were in hasty defensive positions during a heavy rain storm in the vicinity of grid coordinate 48Q XD 643 674 inside Laos, approximately two kilometers west of the Vietnam/Laos border.  At approximately 1500 (local), they were attacked by a 30 man enemy force from the high ground to the east and southeast.  The three Americans were gravely wounded and had to be left behind when the other team members were forced to withdraw.  One of the indigenous soldiers was also killed while evading. 

On the afternoon of 4 November 1969 an AH-1G Cobra helicopter overflew the loss area and observed several trails through the elephant grass, but no signs of activity or signals were detected.  Extremely bad weather prevented the insertion of another RT until 11 November 1969.  That team found load bearing equipment belonging to three of the indigenous members of RT Maryland and SP4 Shue.  However, efforts to locate the three missing Americans or their remains proved negative. 

A post-incident board of inquiry was convened by 5th Special Forces Group on 28 November 1969.  According to testimony from the Team’s interpreter, PONG, all three Americans were unconscious.  SSG Wald and SP4 Shue were wounded by grenade fragments.  SSG Brown was shot through the body by an AK-47 round and was most likely dead.  PONG also stated that as he was withdrawing, he heard someone in the attacking force shout, “Hurry, forward, capture all of the Americans.” 

The limited information contained in the board of inquiry report named the six indigenous soldiers on RT Maryland as:  PONG (team interpreter), THE (KIA, while evading), CAM PHAN, TAHON, DE and RONG.   

 

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) and Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) continue research and investigative efforts to resolve this case.  Any additional information that you can provide may improve our chances of bringing home these three Americans. 

Information Requirements: 

1.      What is the status of the remaining five indigenous soldiers on RT Maryland?

2.      What are their full names?

3.      Did any of them survive the war?

4.      Does anyone know their current whereabouts?

5.      Some post-war information suggests that only four indigenous soldiers survived the incident.  Can anyone confirm and identify the second indigenous soldier killed in this loss incident?

6.      Provide any additional information about the RT Maryland loss incident.

 

From: gulflyer@aol.com

Bob, greetings......

                 my name is Clint Miller , aka LURCH , and call sign Dragonfly ,,,a cobra pilot from C/4/77ARA who supported MLT2 quite often in conduct of business across the fence. just finished talking with Rick Freeman (GL573) about the loss of RT Maryland in nov 69...was not on initial insertion, but did get involved after they got in trouble....was part of the effort that spotted the rucks and web gear..no bodies, tho...interestingly, after we returned to LZ Star, Clarence Dover (believe he was e-8 then) asked if i would take him to the site in the front seat of the cobra and either land or crash the aircraft so that we could continue the mission of retrieval of the team...i agreed and showed him how to operate the turret weapons should we need them...at some point the launch officer determined that was not the best plan and we scrubbed........did fly out to the site at least 2x and did draw significant fire from several positions....i was reminded by freeman that probably the rucks and stuff were "planted" as bait for ambush......Hope this can assist in the resolution of their loss....am currently working as an EMS pilot in central Arkansas , and am available for further mind probing in the matter..Clint Miller      318-347.3784 USA, ret'd  Dragonly / Griffin 93 ( i always wore a red helmet)  I am so proud and happy to know men of your caliber. Once again I say that I learned more about soldiering in the year I spent with SOG, then I did in the other 21years of active duty. Too bad my health allows me only short rides on my motorcycle. As a member of SOA riders, I vow never to be but at my best. The vest is worn with the thought in mind, I represent the best of the best. God bless you all. A leg that is proud of my 11B40 MOS.


On May 3, 2011, at 6:19 PM, John Stryker Meyer <idahoonezero@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
Larry, and all SOA Riders,
 
I'm compelled to report that our SOA Riders were outstanding over the weekend in Concord & Kannapolis, NC, for the Don Shue return, funeral service and burial. First and foremost, they looked the best and brought a sense of dignity to the event. They kept their military barings, even when some of the other organizations forgot who should be at the held of the motorcycle procession. I've never experienced anything like the Shue weekend, from his arrival Fri. morning in Charlotte, to a small ceremony with family Fri., to riding in formation with the hearst from NG the ideaHQ to funeral home and then to two civic ceremonies before returning to the funeral home.
Ditto Sun., when our men attended the funeral service by invitation of the Shue family. And, then leading Don's final ride to the cemetery. Of course, at the cemetery they all stood tall, no torn clothing, no raggity-assed beards, just  againcenstanding tall for our comrade in arms: Sgt. Donald Monroe Shue.
A special thanks to Robert Noe, who road his Harley from Louisiana - while chasing thunderstorms, to NC. Robert also drove to Ft. Bragg to get three blue military PUC pins: one for Betty, Peggy - Don's sisters, and Micky Jones, Don's nephew, who used to ride with Donnie years ago. Other riders, included Lou DeSeta - from Bear, DE; Bill Barclay, from St. Augustine, FL; Ron Owens, of Miami; Jim (I'm sorry, I'm spacing on his last name) and his wife; Jason Hardy, of nearby Salisbury.
 
A special thanks to Doug "The Frenchman" Le Tourneau who purchased copies of the PUC and PUC coins for the family members and PUC coins for the SF Troops in the event.
 
Other SOA men in attendance: Doug Godshall - FOB 1/4; John Randolph - of Maine, and 1st SFG; John Owens, of FL, who ran recon at CCN and talked to Donnie when he went into isolation in '69; "Destiny" the cover rider who inserted RT Maryland in'69 and observed team's equipment in RON site, with no team members present; George Martin, six 'Yards, "Bulldog" Smith, Jack Tobin, Cliff & Karen Newman, SGM Cole, Eldon Bargewell. Eldon's son Logan showed up in his SF uniform, standing tall and Noe's grandson Corey appeared in his 82nd uniform.
 
I apologize in advance for those I failed to mention.  This weekend was a tremendously emotional weekend for all participants. There was healing, cleansing, and a feeling of peace knowing that the men & women of JPAC pulled off another miracle, finding RT Maryland SF troops and getting them home.  The local reaction was phenomenal, profoundly patriotic, is the only way to describe it.
And, Lt. Gen. John Mulholland arrived, along with the CO of the 7th SFG. The honor guard was from the 7th and made every old fart REAL proud to see them in action. 
 
I've invited the nephew of Don, Micky Jones to SOAR XXXV.
 
Larry, thanks again to you and the men who carry SOA Riders. We promised Don's sisters that SOG SF troops would be on each arm from beginning to end, and that some of our men were ride in the procession, a procession that extended nine miles.  That's not a typo. Thus, we had SF men on their arms and SOA Riders leading the final procession into the cemetery.   Tilt

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I noted Tilt's comments about the return of Don's remains and the welcome home memorial held for him. I wanted to let you know, if you haven't heard already, that Bill Brown's remains were returned to the US, too. The Army conducted a first rate funeral for Bill, with full military honors, at Arlington National Cemetery, on 26 Sep 12. Attending were a handful of Bill's surviving relatives. Unfortunately, Bill's parents and brother had died without ever getting a full account of Bill's fate. Also present were Eldon Bargewell, Darrell Arey, Frank McCloskey, David Maurer, Doug Le Tourneau, and my wife and me. I have heard that there will be a service for Günter Wald sometime this year, but that's all I know.  Regards,  Ken Van Arsdel

 

 

1969

11

12

E-5 SP5

Randolph V.

Rhea

11F3S

KIA

SVN; CCC, Kontum Prov., YB950686 by mortar attack at A-242, Dak Pek

12 Nov 69- Randolph V Rhea, SP/5, USASF, CCC-KIA by mortar attack at A-242.  He was more than likley assigned to A-242 and not CCC?

 

1969

11

13

E-6 SSG

Ronald E.

Ray

31E4S??

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, RT Rattler, YC184666, 36k SW of A-102, A Shau, w/ SGT Suber

1969

11

13

E-4 SP4

Randolph B.

Suber

05B2S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, RT Rattler, YC184666, 36k SW of A-102, A Shau, w/ SSG Ray

      13 Nov 69- Ronald Earl Ray, SSG E-6, Tm Ldr of Port Arthur, TX, Randolpt Bothwell Suber, SGT of Balin, Missouri, USASF and Three Special Commandos, RT RATTLER CCN, Da Nang, Ops 35, MIA, Presumptive finding of death. The recon team was attacked 16 miles inside Laos west of Thua Thien Province by a numerically superior force with three team members killed. Ray suffered a small arms wound and fell to the ground yelling being hit in the chest and arm. He was last seen lying on the ground as the team’s position was overran by enemy forces. The sole surviving team member, SCU Nguyen Van Bon, shook Ray but received no response and noted Ray’s weapon was smashed. Suber was last seen trying to gain contact on his URC-10 emergency radio, then picked up his weapon and aimed at four approaching hostile soldiers, but the rifle did not fire because it had became jammed, and Suber was hit immediately afterwards and fell to the ground. Nguyen Van Bon was able to evade the enemy, fight his way free. Emergency beeper signals were monitored in the area for several days, however, bad weather and enemy activity a search team could not be inserted.

Ronald E Ray Fr Vir Vn WallRandolph B Suber Fr SF Honor Roll

      18 Nov 69 - One Special Commando KIA, CCN(?).   The SOG team had come into contact with the NVA close to "The Trail" during the night, were surrounded and under attack.  Of the six team members (two Americans & four indigenous), one had been killed and two others were wounded.  Unfortunately, the weather in the area was terrible; low clouds and visibility and severe turbulence.  We launched ASAP from NKP with three CH-3s and two A-1 escorts. On arrival in the area, we made contact with the NAIL FAC who had a Heavy Hook (SOG) rider with him.  I was pleased to discover that the NAIL was 1/Lt Hank Haden, an outstanding young FAC from NKP with whom I had worked other emergency exfils.  Hank was below the overcast and, despite the fact the clouds were almost on the karst tops, was directing air strikes against the enemy.  He advised us that the turbulence in the area was quite severe and that our planned approach route to the team was unusable due to the low clouds.  The good news was that there was a hole in the undercast that we could descend through.  The bad news was that the hole was over a known 23 mm gun.  Obviously, there was no choice and we went through the hole.  Once the formation was below the cloud layer, following standard tactics the other two helicopters held clear (while keeping us in sight) as we followed the FAC into the team's location.  We spotted the team's smoke on a steep ridge line that was covered with under small arms and automatic weapon fire and our escorting A-1s were delivering protective ordnance.  The steep slope of the ridge prevented a landing so we hovered with the nose wheel on the ground and the main gear in the air over the precipice.  The wind turbulence coming over the edge of the ridge was indeed severe and the CH-3 was bucking wildly as we hovered. Despite the 30 years that have elapsed, I clearly recall my initial glimpse of the team as they came into the area of elephant grass blown flat by the rotor downwash.  The first two team members were dragging their dead comrade by his boots.  With the helicopter bucking like a rodeo bull, the team had difficulty getting the body on board and it seemed like an eternity before all were finally on board.  The A-1s continued to lay down protective fire as we came safely off the ridge line.  After the exfil, we had the privilege of having a beer with the surviving team members at the SOG Heavy Hook compound at NKP.   At that time, I asked the Heavy Hook commander, Major Bill Shelton, why, since they were under fire, didn't the team leave the body.  He explained to me the importance to the Nungs/ Vietnamese of returning the body of the team member to his home village for a proper Buddhist funeral.  That the SOG Special Forces members would go to that extent (recovering the body while under fire and managing to get it aboard a nearly out of control helicopter) to assure the loyalty and future support of their indigenous troops, made me respect them more than ever!  Those guys were unbelievable! Before sending this narration, I ran it by Bill Shelton and Jerry Kibby for their comments and/or additions. By “Dusty” Jim Henthorn 21st S.O.S.  Jerry sent me the following interesting comments about the mission:

Correction: The entry above says "The exfil was conducted by Jim Henthorn, the pilot and co-piloted by Jerry Kibby" FYI, the mission commander/aircraft commander/pilot was Robert (Bob) Arnau (Photo to the left).  Jim Henthorn is a great guy, but he was not a pilot and I don't think he ever claimed to be one. You can read about the same mission on the Rotorheads web site (http://www.rotorheadsrus.us/).   Thanks. Jerry Kibby. LtCol, USAF (retired). 21st SOS CH-3E pilot from October 1969 to October 1970

      If you don't mind my "view from the other seat", I would like to add a little to the below.  The A-1s which were providing close air support for the mission were unable to work in their usual way, i.e., near vertical descent firing/dropping weapons followed by a near vertical climb-out and turn back for another near vertical pass at the target area.  The combination of low clouds and high terrain forced them to stay under the clouds in order to be of use and they had to make long horizontal passes at the target area, during which they strafed with their 20 mm cannons for as much of the pass as they could.  After passing the target area, they had to remain under the clouds with the ground still in sight and fly a horizontal loop back to the target area for another pass - and while they were doing this, they had to avoid the high terrain, each other and the two other CH-3s on the mission.  The result of this was a lot less supporting fire on the target than would have been possible in different meteorological conditions. When the team came into sight (popped up out of the elephant grass, by my observation), they were (as you said, Bob) dragging the dead team member. This was my first time as copilot in the "low bird", and I was backing up Bob on the controls in a non-interfering way.  He was having to fight the winds to try to keep the nose gear on the top of the peak, and I don't think he noticed that the heavy head winds had resulted in the rotor blades being so low in front of the helicopter that they were almost at belt-level with the approaching team members.  There was not time, as the team approached, pulling their dead mate, to tell Bob about the problem.  I pulled back on the collective slightly, which caused two things (maybe three, if you count pissing off Bob to an extent), it raised the path of the rotor blades and it caused us to back-off slightly.  But it also allowed the team to move under the blade path while it was higher than it had been initially. When we had the team on board, Bob turned us to face down-hill and we accelerated just above ground level down the hill as fast as we could go.  As we went down, and prior to pulling into the clouds, we passed right over a manned anti-aircraft position - which did not have time to come to bear on our aircraft.  I also recall a sudden sickening feeling as we ran down the hill - smoke in the aircraft.  I recognized the source within a second or less as the smoke from our own machine guns. Our FE's were putting out all of the fire they could from our M-60s, and the shape of the CH-3 causes a reverse airflow, pulling air (and gun smoke)from the back up to the front and out the windows. I met one of the team members we pulled out that day at a bar-b-que at the NKP Heavy Hook detachment some time after this mission.  He sat across from me while we ate and told the story of his last mission as a team lead, the one which made him decide he had enough of that for a while.  As he described the mission, I thought it sounded familiar and I asked some specifics that confirmed it was the mission which Bob described. That Special Forces NCO, once he knew I was part of the crew that got him and his team out, tried to give me anything and everything of value that he had - which in the situation of the day was mostly weapons.  I declined his offers, as we were all well provided with personal firearms.  He did tell me something I had not known about the mission.  One was that the wounded in their group were wounded by their own grenades, which they had to lay down in a short-long pattern to try to keep the enemy off of them.  The other thing he told me that I did not know before was that our helicopter, as it sat there with the nose gear on the karst to pick them up, was actually on top of some of the NVA surrounding them.I sure hope he made it through the rest of the war.  By Jerry Kibby.  The exfil was conducted by Jim Henthorn, the pilot and co-piloted by Jerry Kibby.  The two FE’s were Ssgt Jim Burns and Ssgt Charles Hill. 

1969

12

3

E-5 SGT

Wayne M.

Anderson

11B4S

KIA

Laos; CCC, Exploitation Force

03 Dec 69- Wayne M Anderson, SGT E-5, USASF Co B Exp Force, CCC-KIA, Note, he was personal friends of both Joseph Whelan and Ronald Bozikis who were KIA'ed 25 Oct 69

04 Dec 69, Edward Rowe Smiley, Jr .,  Sp/4, Gunner, 195th AHC -KIA.  a gun ship was lost while supporting CCS in a cross-border mission [filed by Tyler Furbish,195th AHC historian].

22 Dec 69 (Added Jul 8, 2013)  James Edward Kennedy, SSG E6 MIA Remains not recovered and Donald Deane Burris, Jr. Chief Warrant Officer W2, MIA, died while missing, body not recovered.  57th AHC, 52nd Avn Bn, 17th Avn Group, 1st Aviation Bde, USARV, US Army,

Donald D BurrisPhoto of CWO W2 Donald D. Burris, jr.
In a message dated 7/2/2013 4:50:33 P.M. Central Daylight Time, harrisrayd@aol.com writes:
I think the 57th still flew for CCC in late 1969. On December 22, (my 22nd birthday) I was at Dak To on Bright Light when word came in that a Charley model got shot down in Cambodia, right at the tip of the tri-border. I was 10 of Minnesota, and Bill Spurgeon was the 11. He and I rappelled into the site through triple canopy, and found a door gunner sitting next to the ashes of the ship. We got him out on strings, but couldn't find a second gunner who was supposed to be there.  Like I wrote, I can't forget it, December 22, 1969, my 22nd birthday. Brightlight at Dak To, late morning till dark. I used my Air medal paperwork to figure distance, since I did two missions to the Golfcourse, insertions and extractions at an hour and five minutes to around an hour and ten. I measured the distance from Dak To and the Golfcourse, and figured speeds were normally about the same. I got in touch with an MIA outfit I ran across and said if they searched eastern facing hills in a five or six square Kilometer zone, they might find the crash. Never heard back on it.  
It was a high canopy, around a hundred feet, surprisingly open on the ground, probably close to 40 degree incline. How the pilot hovered there rock solid for twenty minutes each time, is beyond my understanding. Second time out, I was looking down for bad guys, and came up under a six inch branch, right on the back of my neck. He could have ripped me to pieces, but instead the gunner told him to drop a foot, and I wriggled out from under, and got out of there. It was a stupid, rookie mistake on my part. I owe my life to those two guys.
A previous ship came in right after the crash, and dropped McGuire rigs. The gunner we brought out had fallen out of the rig immediately because of a broken arm. He was also cut up and in shock. Just the two pilots came out that time, and one dropped off on the way to Dak To. Bad end. When Bill and I got back with the gunner, we were told to reinsert and make a more thorough search for the second gunner.We went back in with two Yards at least four hours after the crash, certain it was hot by then. Again we rappelled in, (My rope got tangled in the ring with branches, and I grabbed a tree and slid down when the gunner cut the rope. My Omega watch got ripped off by the bark as I recall.) The four of us looked all over the hillside, and in the trees, and came to the same conclusion that we had the first time in. The gunner was probably burned up and under the helicopter, which was still smoldering.. We came out, and to my knowledge he is MIA to this day. Two deaths with one rescue by CCC, and another rescue by helicopter friends.I think the last name of one of the crew was Kennedy. I provided info on the crash site to an MIA recovery group a number of years ago, but never heard anything back. Air medal says the flight was an hour long, and I remember it was into the sun, west-south west of Dak To. The hillside faces east, and on the way back, at sunset, the chopper put us down in a very large open field, cut the ropes, and bundled us in for the rest of the ride to Kontum. There was a general hissy fit about leaving 400+ feet of nylon rope behind. Priorities are priorities in the back office. You might want to contact proper sources and include these guys. God knows they deserve it. Keep up the good work.
Respectfully,   Ray Harris  

 

1969

12

29

E-7 SFC

William E.

Spencer

11B4S

KIA

SVN; 3 MSFC, B-36, A-361, Phuoc Long Prov., Opn STRIKER, YU006293 3k east of A-341 Bu Dop

29 Dec 69- William E. Spencer, SFC E-7, USASF, CCC, Spike Team IL, Asst Tm Ldr-KIA  William Spencer was the 1-1 of RT Illinois with John Plaster, the 1-0. Plaster left for extension leave and while he was away an old friend of Spencer from Training Group showed up at the CCC compound and asked him if he wished to join the Mike Force for a mission while his team was on stand down. Spencer left with his friend and was KIA stepping off the chopper. Jason Hardy. Spencer was assigned to CCC at the time he was KIA'ed with B-36.  (Virtual Wall has him assigned to  RT ILLINOIS, DET B-36, Special Forces Honor Roll website has him (Det A-361 (3 Mike Force) KIA 3k east of A-341,Bu Dop,Phuoc Long Province,South Vietnam (Op.STRIKER).

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