TUBBS, GLENN ERNEST

Name: Glenn Ernest Tubbs 
Rank/Branch: Staff Sergeant/US Army 
Unit: Command and Control South 
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam 
Studies and Observation Group 
5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces                   
Date of Birth: 24 January 1940 (Sulphur Springs, TX)
Home of Record: Amarillo, TX
Date of Loss: 13 January 1970 
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 135119N 1972833E (YA675330)
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Missing in Action 
Category: 4
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 high command 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 Augmentations (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 location and time frame, "Shining Brass," "Daniel Boone," "Salem House, " "Steel Tiger" or "Prairie Fire."

When North Vietnam began to increase its military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos and Cambodia for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. This border road, which was frequently no more than a path cut through the jungle covered mountains, was used by communist forces to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam. US forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and supplies from moving south into the war zone.

On 13 January 1970, then Sgt. Glenn Tubbs was a rifleman assigned to a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) along the Cambodian/South Vietnam border to search out and report on NVA activity infiltrating through this sector of Cambodia into the acknowledged war zone. The region in which the team was operating was covered in rolling hills with forested patches interspersed with elephant grass and groves of bamboo.

The patrol was attempting to cross the Tonle San River by means of a safety line. The river, which formed the international boundary between South Vietnam and Cambodia in this sector, was quite muddy with vegetation flourishing along both banks, which included tree limbs and vines that frequently overhung the winding river's edge. Further, there were numerous small islands scattered throughout the length of the river.

Sgt. Tubbs, who was at the time wearing shorts, jungle boots, and had a CAR 15 rifle slung over his shoulder, was the last man in the team's formation to cross the river. When Glenn Tubbs reached the middle of the fast flowing river, it appeared to others who were watching his progress that the force of the swift current was tugging at his shorts and he was struggling to keep them up.

As they continued to watch, he lost his grip on the safety line and was rapidly swept downstream. Sgt. Tubbs was seen to go under water 5 times, and each time reappear before being swept around a bend in the river and out of view. Other team members reported that as he struggled against the strong current, he seemed to be trying to swim against it instead of at an angle to it or with it.

The team leader immediately made radio contact with a nearby Forward Air Controller (FAC) reporting the situation and requesting an immediate search and rescue (SAR) operation. Shortly thereafter the FAC flew over the location of loss, followed the river down stream and passed the bend in the river for a distance of approximately 1 ½ to 2 miles. The pilot reported he observed "hundreds of alligators churning up the water," but found no sign of Sgt. Tubbs.

The location of loss was literally on the border between Cambodia and South Vietnam approximately 13 miles due east of Duc Co, Cambodia. The small village of Ph Ban Phinay was located southwest of the loss site on the Cambodian side of the Tonle San River and another smaller unnamed hamlet was located roughly ½ mile northwest of the team's crossing point.

An extensive search of the river was conducted for the next two days using shore patrols, boats and aircraft. The entire search effort was hampered when helicopters flying low over the area received sporadic enemy ground fire. When no trace of Glenn Tubbs was found, the formal SAR operation was terminated and he was reported as Missing in Action.

The grim reality is it appears Glenn Tubbs met a horrible death with virtually no possibility of there being any remains to recover. However, if he successfully reached the safety of either riverbank out of sight of the rest of his team, he most certainly could have been captured by enemy troops known to be operating in that sector. Likewise, if he survived, his fate, like that of other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different. Above all else, Glenn Tubbs has the right not to be forgotten by the nation for which fought and possibly died.

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 personnel in Vietnam and Laos were called upon to undertake many dangerous missions, 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 proudly served.