Special Forces Losses in Southeast Asia This Week, 1957-75

We’re going to try to return to our former practice of posting this list once a week. The list was a life’s work for retired Special Forces Command Sergeant Major Reginald Manning. Reg was beloved for his sharp mind and sense of humor; among other tours he survived one at what was probably the most-bombarded SF A-Camp in the Republic of Vietnam, Katum. (“Ka-BOOM” to its inmates). As a medic, some of Reg’s duties in the camp were not a joking matter, and that’s all we’re going to say about that.

There is a key to some of the mysterious abbreviations and codes, after the list.

May God have mercy on their souls, and long may America honor their sacrifices and hold their names high in memory.

Year

Mo.

Day

Rank

First

Last

Unit

Code

Nation, Location, Circumstances

1967

02

20

WO-2

Max P.

Hanley

AATTV

KIA

SVN; A-113, Mobile Guerilla Force, 5 Km SE of A-104, Ha Thanh, at OP66, Quang Ngai Prov.

1967

02

20

E-6 SSG

John E.

McCarthy

11C4S

KIA, DSC

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, Phuoc Long Prov., near A-341, Bu Dop

1969

02

20

E-5 SP5

Alan C.

Burtness

11B4S

KIA

SVN; 4 MSFC, Can Tho, Phong Dinh Prov., by a mine

1967

02

21

E-7 SFC

Domingo R. S.

Borja

11C4S

KIA, BNR, DSC

Laos; CCN, w/ RT??, YD188011, 20k west of A Luoi

1967

02

21

E-7 SFC

Billy E.

Carrow

12B4S

DNH, accident w/ weapon

Thailand; 46th SF Co, A-4634, Trang (Camp Carrow near Trang named for him.)

1968

02

21

E-7 SFC

Robert N.

Baker

11C4S

KIA

SVN; CCN, FOB1, Quang Nam Prov.

1968

02

21

E-6 SSG

Paul M.

Douglas

11B4S

KIA

SVN; CCN, FOB3, RT Hawaii, Quang Tri Prov., killed by mortar round at Khe Sanh

1965

02

22

E-5 SP5

Gerald B.

Rose

12B2S

KIA

SVN; A5/214, Soui Doi, Pleiku Prov., at Mang Yang Pass

1967

02

22

E-7 SFC

George W.

Ovsak

11C4S

KIA

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, at A-301 Trang Sup, XT177554, unloading boobytrapped truck

1969

02

24

E-7 SFC

Charles E.

Carpenter

11C4S

KIA

SVN; 2 MSFC, B-20, 261 MSF Co, just outside A-244, Ben Het, Kontum Prov.

1968

02

25

E-7 SFC

Lawrence F.

Beals

11F4S

KIA

SVN; 1 MSFC, A-111, Quang Nam Prov., convoy between Da Nang and A-109, w/ Tomkins

1969

02

25

E-7 SFC

James K.

Sutton

11B4S

KIA, DOW

SVN; C Co, 5th SFG, w/ ??, radio relay site w/ USMC at FSB Neville near DMZ, Quang Tri Prov.

1970

02

25

E-7 SFC

Bobbie R.

Baxter

12B4S

DNH, vehicle crash

SVN; B-53, Bien Hoa Prov., S-4 NCOIC

Here is the key to the status codes for the Causes of Death or Missing in Action, and also a decoder for some of the common abbreviations:

SVN SF KIA Status Codes:

BNR – Body Not Recovered. (Known to be dead, but his body was left behind).
DOW – Died of Wounds. (At some time subsequent to the wounding, days/weeks/months).
DNH – Died Non-Hostile. (Accident, disease. There’s a couple suicides among them).
DWM – Died While Missing. (Usually implies body recovered at a different time during the war).
KIA – Killed In Action.
MIA – Missing In Action.
PFD – Presumptive Finding of Death. (This was an administrative close-out of all remaining MIAs during the Carter Administration).

Common Abbreviations

A-XXX (digits). SF A-team and its associated A-camp and area.
AATTV – Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. Their soldiers integrated with SF in VN.
BSM, SS, DSC, MOH: Awards (Bronze Star, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, Medal of Honor).
CCC, CCN, CCS. Command and Control (Center, North and South). Covernames for the three command and support elements of the Special Operations Group cross-border war.
MGF – Mobile Guerrilla Force, indigenous personnel led directly by US.
MSFC – Mobile Strike Force Command, indigenous personnel led directly by US. Aka Mike Force.

We’ll cheerfully answer most other questions to the best of our ability in the comments. Note that (1) it’s Reg’s list, and we can’t ask him any more, and (2) it was Reg’s war, not ours, and all our information about SF in the Vietnam war is second hand from old leaders and teammates, or completely out of secondary sources.

5 thoughts on “Special Forces Losses in Southeast Asia This Week, 1957-75

  1. Looserounds.com

    “CCC, CCN, CCS. Command and Control (Center, North and South). Covernames for the three command and support elements of the Special Operations Group cross-border war”

    I thought the official name for SOG was the cover name . Studies and Observations Group. not special operations group.

    I also came across a really interesting picture of a team of recovery personnel in VN with those orange panels sewn to their uniforms. Full color photo. If you want it Hognose, email me and I will send it to you.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Any unit with classified aspects to it has a whole cover plan with lots of particular cover names and cover stories, cover for status, and cover for action. It was less sophisticated circa 1963-4 when CIA handed some missions off to SF but it was a pretty comprehensive plan.

      When SF “left” Vietnam, the three FOBs (formerly CC’s) became the “task force airborne element.” This involved taking off their berets, putting on baseball caps/ranger caps, hiding all SF-ish graphics, and soldiering on. For example, CCN became FOB1 and later Task Force 1 Airborne Element (TF1AE).

      Meanwhile, everyone assigned to SOG was assigned to a cover unit, “Special Operations Augmentation, 5th Special Forces Group.” They weren’t actually in 5th Group, they were in a parallel command commanded by a colonel peer to the 5th Group (formerly US Army SF Command Vietnam, IIRC, prior to the group flag moving) commander. SOG was a joint element so that the CO could be an Air Force or Navy officer, but was generally an SF soldier as the ground element was all Army and well over 90% SF. Later in the war, they accepted volunteers who had served in non-SF LLRP units and wanted to extend in Vietnam. Very few Marines and SEALs were part of SOG, and almost none in the ground recon teams (I believe there was one exchange officer, and that’s it).

      This is all being documented as well as possible, with everything now declassified and quite a few of the guys still being alive.

  2. Keith

    May they be honored for there sacrifice and dedication to duty as long as man and woman has the ability to comprehend and remember what they went through.

    Keep your powder dry, forget not those who went before and your faith in God.

Comments are closed.