BUCKLEY, LOUIS JR.

Name: Louis Buckley, Jr.
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: Mortar Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 12th Cavalry
Date of Birth: 20 May 1943
Home City of Record: Detroit MI
Loss Date: 21 May 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 141048N 1083002E (BR664628)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0344
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families,
published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1998.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: Sgt. Louis Buckley was attached to a mortar platoon based at An
Khe, South Vietnam. The day after his 33rd birthday, Buckley's 22 man
platoon was inserted by helicopter to LZ Hereford, located northeast of An
Khe near the Song Ba River. The platoon was to provide continuous fire
support for C Company's sweep of the area lying between LZ Hereford and LZ
Milton to the south.
 
Everything went without a hitch, and around 1200 hours, the platoon prepared
to be picked up to rejoin the rest of the Company at the bottom of the
valley. Helicopters were inbound when mortar platoon members saw a number of
enemy soldiers five meters away, and opened fire with their M16s. As if by
signal, other enemy located on a hill about 300 meters away poured a hail of
machinegun, mortar and rocket launcher fire onto the platoon's position. The
platoon's 81mm mortar was knocked out almost immediately, and the platoon,
taking heavy casualties, called for help.

The company commander immediately ordered his 1st Platoon to get up the
hill, and led the rest of the company, scrambling, sliding and falling in a
desperate effort to reach the mortar platoon. The commander did not realize
until later the scope of the attack and that his entire company might have
been in a classic ambush. The enemy had watched patiently until the
Americans felt confident that the LZ was secure, and they launched their
attack. The mortar company had 6 wounded, 15 dead and one missing.

The Viet Cong on top of the hill divided into two groups to search for the
remaining Americans, loot the dead and grab what arms and munitions they
could. Just 35 minutes after the first call for help, the enemy was gone,
and so was Sgt. Louis Buckley. His pack was found with blood on it. He was
declared Missing In Action. Survivors reported seeing Sgt. Buckley
withdrawing at a southwesterly direction by himself. He is reported to have
had blood on his shirt and arm, although it is not known for certain if he
was wounded.

Buckley is one of nearly 2500 Americans who are still missing from the
Vietnam war. Unlike MIAs from other wars, where many men were lost at sea
and could not be recovered, most of the missing in Vietnam can be accounted
for. Tragically, "several million documents" and over "250,000 interviews"
(State Department report, November 1988) are testimony that in our haste to
end the war, we abandoned hundreds of our men to enemy hands.

Were it not for the thousands of still-classified reports, Buckley's family
might be able to assume Louis was killed that day. But as long as men are
alive, and one of them could be Louis Buckley, they cannot forget. Can we?