Friday, September 21, 2012

Green Beret Recon Team MIA from Vietnam, Now Accounted For

Army Sgt. 1st Class Gunther Wald was killed in November 1969 along with Army Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown, 24, of La Habra, Calif., and Sgt. 1st Class Donald M. Shue, 20, of Kannapolis, N.C. while on a Special Forces Reconnaisance mission during the Vietnam war, missing until now, this Recon Team is now accounted for.   

According to the Army’s POW/Missing Personnel Office, the three men were on patrol with six Vietnamese soldiers near the Vietnam-Laos border when they were ambushed. Weather conditions and enemy forces, though, prevented a rescue operation for more than a week.

The remains of Wald, Brown and Shue be buried in a single grave at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, with full military honors.

It was on such a mission that Brown, Wald, Shue and two of the six Montagnards went missing. The Americans and Montagnards were members of 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".

Wald and Shue were also seen to receive numerous shrapnel wounds from a fragmentation grenade. The other team members were forced to withdraw leaving the others behind. Due to bad weather, a recovery team could not reenter the area 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 Shue. There was no trace of any graves, or of the three missing Americans. They were classified as Missing In Action.

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