|BROWN, WILLIAM THEODORE
Name: William Theodore Brown
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army Special Forces
Unit: SOA, Command & Control North, (MACV-SOG), 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 20 February 1945 (Chicago IL)
Home City of Record: La Habra CA
Date of Loss: 03 November 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 154800N 1064700E (XD643674)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Gunther H. Wald; Donald M. Shue (both missing);
six Montangards (two missing, four escaped).
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 2012. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: Bill Brown was born in Chicago, Illinois February 20, 1945, the youngest of three boys. When Bill was two, his family moved to California, where they remained, and where he attended Cerritos College. Bill was an excellent swimmer and golfer. In September 1965, Bill joined the Army and earned his Beret and paratrooper badge. He was sent to Vietnam on December 14, 1967. He is a demolitions expert and fluent in the Vietnamese language. In Vietnam, he helped train Montagnard tribesmen, and was so drawn to them that he reenlisted after his tour and returned to Vietnam in May 1969. On his second tour, Bill was attached to MACV-SOG, Command and Control North. MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group) was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channelled personnel into MACV-SOG (though it was not a Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions. It was on such a mission that SSgt. Brown, SSgt. Gunther Wald, SP4 Donald 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". SSgt. Wald and SP4 Shue were also seen to receive numerous schrapnel 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 SP4 Shue. There was no trace of any graves, or of the three missing Americans. They were classified as Missing In Action. The U.S. did not negotiate for the release of any of the nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos. No American serviceman held in Laos has been released. Tragically, the U.S. has received over 6000 reports indicating that many Americans are still held prisoner today. Many men were seriously wounded and survived captivity. No one saw Brown, Shue or Wald die. They could be among the hundreds many authorities believe to be alive today. If so, what must they be thinking of us?
The remains of a soldier from La Habra missing since he disappeared in Southeast Asia in 1969 with two other U.S. troops have been officially identified by the Department of Defense.
Army Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown was part of a Special Forces unit patrolling in Vietnam's Quang Tri province in November 1969 when enemy forces ambushed the group, which consisted of three American soldiers and six Vietnamese soldiers, according to the Defense Department....
The soldiers will be buried in a single casket at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday.