Name:  David Ives Mixter
Rank/Branch: Sergeant/US Army
Unit:  Military Assistance Command Vietnam
Studies and Observation Group
Special Operations Augmentation Command and Control Central, 
Date of Birth: 22 January 1949 (New York, NY)
Home of Record: Darien, CT
Date of Loss: 29 January 1971
Country of Loss:  Laos
Loss Coordinates:  143726N 1072554E (YB619180)
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground:  Ground
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)


SYNOPSIS:   MACV-SOG, or 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 channeled 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. These teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.

On 29 January 1971 Sgt. David I. Mixter was a rifleman assigned to a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) inserted into the very rugged and isolated jungle covered mountains to seek out and report on enemy forces operating in this region. The team's location was roughly 18 miles west-soutwest of Dak To, South Vietnam; and approximately 2 miles west of the Lao/South Vietnamese border, Attopeu Province, Laos. This is near an area frequently referred to as the "Parrot's Beak" in the tri-border region where the borders of South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia meet.

At 1400 hours, Sgt. Mixter's patrol made contact with an enemy force of unknown size.Immediately B40 rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) were fired at the team, one of which exploded directly in front of Sgt. Mixter. Shortly thereafter he was checked by the team leader who reported that Sgt. Mixter's chest was covered with blood and he did not respond at all.

Because David Mixter was thought to be dead, his body was left behind when the rest of the team broke contact with the communists. The remainder of the team managed to successfully evade during the ensuing running gun battle and was ultimately safely extracted.

A search and recovery (SAR) team was inserted into the ambush site the next day. They found and recovered some of Sgt. Mixter's possessions, but they found no trace of him. Further, they found no signs of a freshly dug grave in the immediate area. No additional search attempts were made due to continuing enemy activity in the area. David Mixter was listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered in spite of the fact that the enemy troops were not known for removing the bodies of American dead.

For every insertion like this one that was detected and stopped, dozens of others safely slipped past NVA lines to strike a wide range of targets and collect vital information. The number of MACV-SOG missions conducted with Special Forces reconnaissance teams into Laos and Cambodia was 452 in 1969. It was the most sustained American campaign of raiding, sabotage and intelligence-gathering waged on foreign soil in US military history. MACV-SOG's teams earned a global reputation as one of the most combat effective deep-penetration forces ever raised.

David Mixter is among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known to be alive on the ground. The Laotians admitted holding "tens of tens" of American Prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiation between our countries or through the Paris Peace Accords which ended the War in Vietnam since Laos was not a party to that agreement.

While the fate of Sgt. Mixter is in little doubt, he has a right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. For other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fate could be quite different.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE American Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

American servicemen in Vietnam were called upon to operate in many dangerous circumstances both on and off duty, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.