Today is the 50 th anniversary of the raid in North Vietnam on the Son Tay prison to rescue US POWs. The plan and execution are straight out of some movie plot. 65 Army Green Berets were flown into the very dangerous air space of North Vietnam, proabbly the most heavily defended air spaces in the world at that time, and purposefully crash-landed a helicopter for off the Green Berets right in the middle of the prison camp to start off the raid.
Sad to say they didn’t rescue any POWS since they had all been moved. But the raid was a success with only two wounded and two choppers lost. One of which was lost on purpose as said above. An estimated 40 dead PAVN soldiers was killed in the raid though and the raid scared the hell out of the North Vietnamese, having a strategic effect in the long run.
The operation is an early version of the things that would go on to define Delta Force. Even the gear used was a hint to things to come. You can see in pictures the use of the early “red dot” optic mounted to CAR-15s in photos from the mission.
The result from the effort did cause Hanoi to consolidate the POWS from sevreal smaller camps together. Being among each other was a huge boost in morale for the POWS and helped with survival.