|Name:||Jack Thomas Stewart|
5thSpecial Forces Group, 1st Special Forces
Bu Dop Special Forces Camp, South Vietnam
|Date of Birth:||30 March 1941 (Washington, DC)|
|Home of Record:||Washington, DC|
|Date of Loss:||24 March 1967|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing in Action|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||Roger C. Hallberg (missing)|
SYNOPSIS: Capt. Jack T. Stewart was the advisor to the ARVN commander of a Strike Force Company located at the Bu Dop Special Forces Camp, Phuoc Long Province, South Vietnam. Then SSgt. Roger C. Hallberg was an advisor/platoon leader to the III CTZ Mike Force that was assigned to that Strike Force Company.
On Good Friday, 24 March 1967, Capt. Jack Stewart and SSgt. Roger Hallberg accompanied the Mike Force on a routine reconnaissance operation to search out and report on enemy activity in a hotly contested sector along the South Vietnamese/Cambodian border. The Mike Force was inserted into the operational area approximately 7 miles east of Bu Dop in a heliborne assault. The landing zone (LZ) chosen for the insertion was in a clearing surrounded by dense jungle on the west edge of mountain foothills approximately 2 miles south of the South Vietnamese/Cambodian border, 25 miles northeast of Loc Ninh and 84 miles north-northeast of Saigon.
Shortly after landing, the company proceeded north approximately 800 meters through the lush jungle laced with rivers and streams before the lead element began receiving enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire from an enemy force of unknown size. SSgt. Hallberg, who accompanied the point element, assessed the developing firefight and the immediate need to apprise Capt. Stewart of the rapidly deteriorating conditions. Since the point element did not have a radio with it, Roger Hallberg backtracked to the command group to make his report.
Knowing they were outnumbered, Capt. Stewart immediately ordered the lead element fall back to the command group to take up a consolidated defensive position. Jack Stewart established radio contact with Bu Dop notifying them of the situation and requesting air support. Further, in an attempt to break the tightening grip the communists had on them, Capt. Stewart directed the recon platoon to flank the enemy force. Unfortunately, it also ran into heavy automatic weapons fire and was forced to withdraw to its original position. During the prolonged battle, SSgt. Hallberg was slightly wounded and Capt. Stewart was more seriously wounded.
Even with air strikes, the Mike Force was unable to force the communists to break contact. Capt. Stewart ordered the Mike Force to further consolidate their position around the landing zone while he radioed for additional air support. With casualties mounting and the air strikes having little affect on tipping the balance of power, both advisors knew their position could no longer be held. Capt. Stewart radioed for an emergency extraction of his troops and ordered the survivors to withdraw toward Bu Dop. When last seen, the American advisors were providing covering fire for the retreating Mike Force. Shortly thereafter several rescue helicopters picked up the ARVN soldiers as they moved away from the battle site.
After recovering the ARVN soldiers, a search and rescue (SAR) mission was implemented for Roger Hallberg and Jack Stewart. When they arrived at the ambush site, SAR personnel found no trace of either advisor or their equipment in or around the immediate area. At the time the formal search effort was terminated, Jack Stewart and Roger Hallberg were reported as Missing in Action. Later Military Intelligence developed information documenting the fact that the Mike Force had been ambushed by two heavily armed NVA battalions who had clandestinely infiltrated the region.
If Jack Stewart and Roger Hallberg died from wounds received during this battle, each man has the right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. However, if they survived, they most certainly would have been captured by the NVA and their fate, like that of other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different. Either way there is no doubt the communists could return them or their remains any time they had the desire to do so.
Since the end of the Vietnam War 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.
Military men in Vietnam were called upon to fight under 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 served.