Borja, Domingo R. S.

Name:  Domingo R. S. Borja
Rank/Branch: Sergeant First Class/US Army Special Forces

Headquarter and Headquarters Company,
Command and Control Detachment
5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces

Date of Birth: 01 February 1931
Home of Record: San Francisco, CA
Date of Loss: 21 February 1967  
Country of Loss:  Laos
Loss Coordinates:  161656N 1070252E (XD188011)
Click coordinates to view (4) 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 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 that were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass," "Salem House," "Daniel Boone" or "Prairie Fire" missions.

On 21 February 1967, SFC Domingo R. S Borja was a member of a reconnaissance team operating in the very rugged , jungle-covered mountains approximately 1 mile west of the Lao/Vietnamese border, 9 miles east-northeast of Tavauac and 40 miles west-southwest of Hue, South Vietnam , Salavan Province, Laos. This area of eastern Laos was considered a major artery of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. When North Vietnam began to increase its military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. This border road was used by the Communists to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, and was frequently no more than a path cut through the jungle covered mountains. US forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and supplies from moving south into the war zone.

The team was engaged in a firefight with an enemy force and while trying to assist a wounded team member to safety , SFC Borja was confronted by an enemy soldier. The two adversaries drew down on each other firing at each other simultaneously and both were killed instantly. After the communists broke contact with the reconnaissance team, two team members checked the bodies of SFC Borja and the enemy soldier he killed. They could find no pulse, breath or any signs of life. Under threat of another attack from communist forces in the area, the remaining team members hid Domingo Borja's body under leaves next to a distinctive tree for later recovery before they were forced to depart the battle site. Later a search and recovery (SAR) force was inserted into the loss location. Over the next 5 days they searched the entire area for SFC Borja's remains, but could find no trace of him and was immediately listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered .

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.

Domingo Borja 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 SFC Borja is not in 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 occured to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.