DEERE, DONALD THORPE

Name: Donald Thorpe Deere 
Rank/Branch: Specialist 5/US Army 
Unit: Detachment A-331, 
5th Special Forces Group, 
1st Special Forces 
Date of Birth: 06 September 1944 
Home of Record: Snyder TX
Date of Loss: 17 May 1966 
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 114716N 1062714E (XU584034)
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Killed/Body Not Recovered 
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) 

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS:   On 17 May 1966, then SP4 Donald T. Deere was a Special Forces Advisor attached to Detachment A-331. The Mobile Strike Force that he was advising was conducting a search and destroy mission to locate and engage communist forces who were operating in the region. The area of contact was located less than a mile east of the South Vietnamese/Cambodian border, and was laced with numerous trails and footpaths that connected the small villages and hamlets that were scattered throughout the sector. It was also located approximately 10 miles southwest of Loc Ninh, 37 miles north-northeast of Tay Ninh and 66 miles north-northwest of Saigon, Binh Long Province, South Vietnam.

As the Mobile Strike Force moved through the dense double and triple canopy jungle, it made contact with an estimated battalion-size enemy force. During the ensuing firefight, SP4 Deere was struck by enemy fire and fell to the ground in a slightly open area. Other members of the patrol attempted to reach his position. As they neared his position, they thought they saw Donald Deere's body hit a second time by enemy ground fire.

The intense enemy presence made the situation untenable forcing the remainder of the Strike Force to pull back without SP4 Deere. Air strikes were called in to suppress the communists before they overran the Strike Force. The close air support was directed onto known enemy positions including the location where Donald Deere was last seen.

After the air strike was lifted, the patrol reentered the area to search for SP4 Deere, but could find no trace of him in or around the area of the battle site. At the time the initial search was terminated, Donald Deere was listed Missing in Action. Because of the heavy and continuous enemy presence throughout the region, no additional search and rescue/recovery (SAR) operation was possible.

Shortly thereafter, the US Army convened a Board of Inquiry to evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding this case. The Board determined that Donald Deere was probably killed either by enemy ground fire or by the subsequent air strikes. Further, the Board determined that his remains were not recoverable and directed that his status be changed from Missing in Action to Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

While the fate of SP4 Deere is in little doubt, he has a right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country if at all humanly possible. Above all else, he has the right not to be forgotten by the nation for which he gave his life.

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.