|Rank/Branch:||Sergeant First Class/US Army|
A-341, 5th Special Forces Group,
1st Special Forces
|Date of Birth:||17 December 1942 (Alhambra, CA)|
|Home of Record:||Marysville, CA|
|Date of Loss:||29 November 1967|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
|Loss Coordinates:|| 120201N
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing in Action|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||(none missing)|
SYNOPSIS: In the type of counter-insurgency operations the United States government sponsored during the Vietnam War, Special Forces A-teams trained and equipped the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) troops, known as a strike force when organized under the auspices of a Special Forces camp, and were established to fight the communist Viet Cong (VC) guerillas as anti-guerillas. This project was similar, yet different from the conventional US Army advisers in Vietnam who were assigned to the Army of Vietnam (ARVN) regular troops. The strikers, as the strike force personnel were called, sign a contract to fight in a Special Forces advised strike force battalion for periods ranging from six months to two years.
In direct command of a strike force was the Vietnamese Special Forces ranking officer. The American role was to advise the Vietnamese Special Forces - known by the Vietnamese name “Luc-Luong Dac-Biet,” or simply LLDB, in training and leading its CIDG strikers in combat. Because the strike force teams were structured along the same lines as US Special Forces teams, each US Special Forces adviser has his Vietnamese LLDB counterpart with whom he directly worked.
On 26 November 1967, Capt. Matthew J. Hasko, senior advisor; then SSgt. Michael Millner, light weapons leader, and Sgt. Paul Posse, were assigned as American advisors to accompany a provisional reconnaissance CIDG unit on a search and destroy operation that was under the control of the LLDB.
The CIDG strikers who comprised this strike force were undergoing training that would eventually provide them the training and experience needed to protect and defend their villages. The operation was being conducted in an area northeast of Loc Ninh and south of the South Vietnamese/Cambodian border, Phuoc Long Province, South Vietnam.
At approximately noon on 29 November 1967, the unit was moving through a generally flat sector covered in elephant grass with scattered forested areas throughout the region when the LLDB commander decided to take a lunch break. Capt. Hasko advised against stopping in this location because the unit would be unnecessarily exposed. The LLDB commander ignored his advice, and as they ate their noon meal, they were ambushed by a well-armed and entrenched Viet Cong (VC) company.
As the enemy rained havoc upon the unprepared CIDG troops with small arms, automatic and heavy weapons fire, the CIDG immediately became completely demoralized and ran from the field in a blind panic. The Special Forces advisors tried to regain control over the fleeing troops, cover their rear and carry the wounded with them as they moved toward an area where they could establish a defensive position. After the position was established, a headcount was taken. It revealed that Michael Millner was not present. At the same time, they radioed for emergency assistance including air cover.
Once contact was broken, the survivors were extracted and later debriefed. Sgt. Posse reported that as he moved away from the initial point of contact, he looked around and saw SSgt. Millner being captured by VC forces. Further, he noted that Michael Millner was not wounded at the time of capture.
The ambush site was located approximately 2 miles south of the South Vietnamese/Cambodian border, 6 miles east of Bu Dop, and 24 miles northeast of Loc Ninh. Highway 307, the primary northwest to southeast road passing through this region was located less then a mile south of the battle site.
Two days later a search and rescue/recovery (SAR) team was inserted into the ambush site. They searched in and around the entire area from the initial point of contact to the final defensive position, but found no trace of Michael Millner or his remains. At the time the formal search operation was terminated, and in spite of the fact that Paul Posse witnessed his capture, Michael Millner was listed Missing in Action.
No further information about the fate of Michael Millner was forthcoming until US intelligence received a report in October 1974 concerning the sighting of “a captured American circa October 1967 in the area SSgt. Millner was last seen.” Because the report did not provide sufficient descriptive details of the circumstances of loss or of the American POW, it could not be correlated specifically to SSgt. Millner. However, a copy of the sighting report was placed in Michael Millner’s records.
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 Michael Millner.
If Michael Millner died during or after capture, he has a right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. However, there is no doubt the Vietnamese captured him alive and uninjured and his fate, like that of other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different. Either way, there is no doubt the Vietnamese have the answers and could return him or his remains any time they had the desire to do so.
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 America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Military men in Vietnam and
Laos were called upon to fly and fight in many dangerous circumstances, 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