ENTRICAN, DANNY DAY

Name: Danny Day Entrican
Rank/Branch: Captain/US Army 
Unit: Task Force 1, Advisory Element, USARV Advisory Group            ,
5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces 
Date of Birth: 12 August 1946 (Fort Devens, MA)
Home of Record: Brookhaven, MS 
Date of Loss: 18 May 1971 
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162800N 1065426E (YD036214) 
Click coordinates to view (4) maps
Status in 1973: Missing in Action
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) 

REMARKS:

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" or "Prairie Fire" missions.

After Lam Son, the ARVN all but abandoned western I Corps and the demilitarized zone (DMZ), thereby yielding immense areas to the communists. It became MACV-SOG's job to find new redoubts and document what the enemy was doing in them. Ominously, in April Command and Control North (CCN) teams discovered a new road coming out of Laos just north of the A Shau Valley, pointed dangerously toward the populated coastal plain north of Hue. They uncovered the NVA making massive improvements to an existing road pointed directly at the DaNang area. Heavy NVA forces made penetrations all but impossible, and it was as if a curtain were being lowered to conceal their activities.

While Danny Entrican was assigned to 5th Special Forces Group, he was under orders of Command & Control, MACV-SOG. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG) was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces Group channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (although it was not a Special Forces unit) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction that were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.

On 18 May 1971, then 1st Lt. Danny D. Entrican was assigned as the team leader, Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), Command and Control - North (CCN). His Special Forces Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) alert team, code name "Alaska," was inserted into the small jungle covered Da Krong Valley located approximately 2 miles east of the South Vietnamese/Lao boarder, 7 miles northwest of Tou Rout and 13 miles southeast of Khe Sanh, Thua Thin Province, South Vietnam.

The team was ambushed and overwhelmed by NVA forces three days later as it moved westward. In the ensuing firefight, the team members separated in an attempt to escape and evade. Surviving team members Truong Minh Long and interpreter Truong To Ha stated in their debriefing that during the fire fight they rolled downhill after a hostile search party detected them hiding in the bushes. 1st Lt. Entrican yelled at them to move out. At that time he was wounded, but still attempting to evade the enemy himself. After the firefight, a search of the area was immediately conducted, but no sign of 1st Lt. Entrican was found. At the time search efforts were terminated, Danny Entrican was listed Missing In Action.

Three months later, a friend of 1st Lt. Entrican who was intensely interested in learning the missing team leader's fate, was monitoring enemy radio transmissions when he heard Danny Entrican's code name mentioned in an intercepted message. The message described the captive American's movement from South Vietnam toward North Vietnam. This type of message traffic was usually very specific as to what unit(s) were in control of the prisoner(s), where they were located, how and when they were being moved, etc. Further, such code names were highly classified and were used only by personnel involved in these highly sensitive missions to verify each member's identity. Danny Entrican's friend reasoned that the enemy had extracted the code name from him. The fact that there was no other way for the enemy to obtain it other than directly from him was clear proof that the team leader was alive and a Prisoner of War.

Later NVA documents captured after 1st Lt. Entrican was declared missing stated a unit based in Savannakhet Province, Laos had captured an American in May 1971. Due to several losses in this general area during the month of May, this report could not be specifically correlated to Danny Entrican. In June 1973, an NVA soldier reported observing an American 1st Lt. captured in May 1971 at a radio station in South Vietnam. This report was correlated to him by US intelligence personnel and later placed in 1st Lt. Entrican's casualty file supporting the position that he had in fact been captured.

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.

In April 1991 the US government released a list of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action who were known to be alive in enemy hands and for whom there is no evidence that he or she died in captivity. This list, commonly referred to today as the USG's "Last Known Alive" list, included Danny Day Entrican.

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 military men in Vietnam were called upon to fight in many dangerous circumstances, and each was prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country so proudly served.