BOOKOUT, CHARLES FRANKLIN
Name: Charles Franklin Bookout Rank/Branch: E7/US Army Special Forces Unit: CCN/MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces Group Date of Birth: 01 December 1934 (Sayre OK) Home City of Record: Oklahoma City OK Date of Loss: 04 July 1970 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 154852N 1071220E (YC362495) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 1647 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 2000.
SYNOPSIS: SFC Charles F. Bookout was a squad leader assigned to MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group). MACV-SOG 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 (although it was not a Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.
On the Fourth of July in 1970, SFC Bookout was conducting a reconnaissance mission when his unit was ambushed in Laos. The team's position was near the border of Laos and South Vietnam, south of the South Vietnam city of A Shau, in Saravane Province, Laos.
On the first burst of fire, SFC Bookout was wounded. He was examined by one of the squad members, and a single bullet hole was found in the left side of his back. About 10 minutes later he stopped breathing, and no pulse could be found. Due to the tactical situation and the intense enemy fire, the team was instructed to move to a clearing for extraction.
SFC Bookout was left behind, because it would have slowed the progress and endangered the lives of the rest of the team to try and carry him to safety. It was believed that he was dead. The rest of the team was extracted safely at about 1900 hours that day. No search teams were inserted to recover Bookout because of impending darkness and the enemy situation.
For every insertion like SFC Charles Bookout's that was detected and stopped, dozens of other commando teams safely slipped past NVA lines to strike a wide range of targets and collect vital information. The number of MACV-SOG missions conducted with Special Forces reconnaissance teams into Laos and Cambodia was 452 in 1969. It was the most sustained American campaign of raiding, sabotage and intelligence gathering waged on foreign soil in U.S. military history. MACV-SOG's teams earned a global reputation as one of the most combat effective deep-penetration forces ever raised.
The missions Bookout and others were assigned were exceedingly dangerous and of strategic importance. The men who were put into such situations knew the chances of their recovery if captured was slim to none. They quite naturally assumed that their freedom would come by the end of the war. For 591 Americans, freedom did come at the end of the war. For another 2500, however, freedom has never come.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to missing Americans in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S., convincing many authorities that hundreds remain alive in captivity. It seems unlikely that Charles Bookout is among them, but one can be sure he would risk one more dangerous mission to help bring those who are alive to freedom if he could. What are we doing to bring our men home?
=============================== July 10, 2000
P.O.W. Network Skidmore, MO. USA
I am writing in reference to Charles Franklin Bookout. I am married to his eldest son, Greg. I just happened to pull some very interesting information up on the Internet about him and it sparked some curiosity. It was such a great bio of him and we felt like it might have been written by someone who either knew him or knew of him. We are very interested in finding out more about about him, such as what kind of a man he was and what he did. He has 2 great sons, one is 38 years old with 2 sons ages 17 and 16, and the other is 32 years old with 2 sons ages 5 and 3, all of whom know very little about their Dad and grandfather. They were, of course, so young when this happened that they never really knew anything and their mother, not being the same since, never really told them much. We all would really like for our kids to know who their grandfather was, so we thought we would start somewhere and see if we could get in contact with someone who might have some information.
Thank you so much, in advance, for any assistance you can give us.
Greg and Jami Bookout 10609 S. Blackwelder Oklahoma City, OK 73170