Known as the worst day in Army Special Forces history, was a night attack by a PAVN sapper unit on a SOG headquarters.
On this day in U.S. Army SF history…….23 August 1968: Worst Day in Special Forces history. A large force hit a MAC-V SOG FOB and mission launch site on Marble Mountain in Da Nang. The attacking NVA numbered at least 100 and were armed with AKs, grenades, satchel charges, and RPG-2 launchers (or B-40s as they were called in Vietnam).
Most of the attacking NVA died in the three-hour attack, but they killed over two dozen Americans and over 40 Montagnards who manned the Recon Teams or the Hatchet Force alongside Americans.
The best accounting of the attack to date is in the book On The Ground: The Secret War in Vietnam by John S. “Tilt” Meyer, himself a SOG veteran. The fact of August 23rd is that SF was small in 1968. Some of the killed were first-term troops; others had been around a very long time, like Secor and Norris. But almost every man in SF personally knew someone who’d bought it beneath Marble Mountain.
The SF Soldiers’ casualties included:
1. Talmadge H. Alpin, Jr, SSG E-6, FOB4
2. William H. Bric, III, PFC E-3
3. Tadeusz M Kepczyk, SFC E-7
4. Donald R Kerns, SFC E-7
5. James T Kickliter, SGT E-5
6. Charles R. Norris, MSG E-8
7. Richard E. Pegram, Jr SGM, E-9
8. Paul D Potter, 1LT, from FOB2 (Kham Duc) at CCN for a conference
9. Rolf E. Rickmeyers, SFC E-7
10. Anthony J Santana, SP/4
11. Gilbert_A Secor, MSG E8
12. Robert J. Uyesaka, SGT E-5
13. Howard S Varni, SSG E-6
14. Harold R. Voorheis, SFC, E-7
15. Albert M. Walter, SFC E-7
16. Donald W. Welch, SFC E-7
You can hear more about it on the SOGCAST found wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.