My Phuoc Tay

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53 years ago, December 1967, I was a staff sergeant assigned to an A-Team in the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as its Intelligence Sergeant, having recently returned from 19 months in Vietnam.
When our team (A-422) turned Vinh Gia over to the Vietnamese, and the team was split up and sent to various camps, my teammate, SFC Art Kownslar, was sent to Camp My Phuoc Tay (Detachment A-411), as the detachment intelligence sergeant until 4 September, when he returned to the States. Three months after his departure, on 11 December, a company-sized operation ventured west, out of My Phuoc Tay. A large ammunition cache was discovered.
The following day, the same operation uncovered another cache, as well as encountering an estimated battalion of VC. A fierce firefight lasted into the following day, 13 December, finally ending twelve hours later. The team CO, CPT George O’Toole, Jr., was killed on the 12th, while SFC John Fitzgerald, Jr., SFC Luis Marquez-Lopez, and SSG Clifford Carter were killed on the 13th. Nine CIDG were also KIA. Although enemy casualties were unknown, it was estimated that they were heavy.
Hearing about his four teammates’ loss devastated Art. He blamed himself for their death, feeling certain that their death was caused by his lack of identifying, as intelligence and operations sergeant of the team, the presence of such a large unit of enemy troops in the camp vicinity.
As soon as Art learned of the death of the four men at My Phuoc Tay, he volunteered to return to Vietnam. He blamed himself up to the day he died, even though their deaths were three months after he had departed. Art was diagnosed in later years as having PTSD, probably due to that incident.
My Phuoc Tay was not the place to be during that time, if you were in Special Forces. Just a little more than a month later, on 16 January, four more men (CPT John Young, SFC Earl Biggs, SP4 Herbert Anderson, and SFC Frank Parrish) were killed at My Phuoc Tay.
I spent a lot of time visiting Art at his home in Bastrop TX, after he was diagnosed as suffering from cancer. We spent a lot of time reminiscing about the “good old days” in Vinh Gia, and I tried my best to bolster Art’s attitude.
On 8 June 2012, I suffered a stroke (blood clot) to my left eye, resulting in me becoming totally blind in that eye. That day, after learning of my misfortune, the first person I called was Art. His wife answered the phone, sobbing. I immediately knew what had happened. Sure enough, Art had passed away from his cancer, the same morning that I had gone blind in my left eye. I will never forget that morning.
PHOTO: Art (left) and I (right), prepared to depart Vinh Gia (A-422) on an overnight ambush in early 1967. (my photo)
SLURP SENDS!

6 COMMENTS

  1. Cool, so you participated in a war that killed millions of civilians, led to countless birth defects due to chemical agent experiments, pollution, environmental and resource devastation, etc. all over a known and proven false pretense.
    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, just following orders is a legitimate excuse – but NOT for anyone who opposed global Jewish rule.

  2. I rebuilt a half dozen M240s that had been palletized and left out on a rainy flightline. Rusty and nasty when we finally got them back. I wanted to condemn them and request new but the boss wanted me to try and get them back up and running. Rebuilt them all down to smallest detent and spring. Test fired, zeroed and re-gaged. A couple months later I got sent a note about that unit getting into a scrape in Baghdad. First call I made was to my old boss. They ran like sewing machines thankfully. Now that unit’s guns had been used to re-qual their gunners and had been gaged again for pre-embark but I still considered them mine since I had rebuilt them. I ain’t saying that is anywhere to the same level as Art in the article but I sure do get it. Lord grant him peace.

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