CARLSON, ALBERT EDWIN
RIP 08/07/1999

Name: Albert Edwin Carlson
Rank/Branch: O4/US Army
Unit: Advisor, Advisory Team 70, MACV
Date of Birth: 16 May 1930
Home City of Record: San Lorenzo CA
Date of Loss: 07 April 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 114338N 1063502E (XU731081)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Category:
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground

Other Personnel In Incident: Howard B. Lull, Richard S. Schott (both
missing); Mark A. Smith; Kenneth Wallingford; (POWs held in Cambodia and
released in 1973)

REMARKS: RELEASED BY PRG 730212

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



SYNOPSIS: On April 5, 1972, the 5th North Vietnamese Division suddenly
smashed against the Loc Ninh district capitol before dawn, attacking as no
enemy had yet attacked in that war. The Communist troops had Russian T-54
and PT-76 tanks, artillery and a conventional battle plan.

American forces in the area battled for two days before being overrun. On
April 7, 1972, Maj. Albert E. Carlson; MSgt. Howard B. Lull; LtCol. Richard
Schott; Capt. Mark A. Smith; and SFC Kenneth Wallingford were five advisors
on Advisory Team 70, MACV, at Loc Ninh when the city was completely overrun.
Radio contact was maintained until approximately 0800 hours, when the
tactical operations center began burning. Later in the day, one of the
advisors radioed that they were going into hiding, taking their radios with
them.

After the incident, South Vietnamese Army personnel reported intercepting an
enemy radio broadcast which stated that three United States advisors had
been captured. Subsequent information received through intelligence sources
reported that five Americans were taken prisoner. This report indicated that
four of the prisoners had been taken to a temporary PW camp and one to an
enemy hospital.

The Vietnamese captured Smith, Wallingford and Carlson whom they held in
Cambodia for the remaining 10 months. On June 28, 1972, the U.S. Casualty
division changed their status from missing to captured. The three were
released at Loc Ninh in the general POW release in 1973.

Although most details of this incident are still classified, Capt. Smith
indicated in his debriefing that he, Lull and Schott had been together in a
bunker shortly before he was captured. Lull left the bunker to evade
capture, while the severely wounded Schott knew he would not survive, and
lifted his own weapon to his head and shot himself to give the others a
chance to escape.

Lull, if captured, was not taken to the same prison camps as were Smith,
Carlson and Wallingford. Some reports say that he was killed by the North
Vietnamese, but the U.S. continued his status as Missing In Action pending
verification of death. Schott was carried as Missing until Capt. Smith's
debrief, at which time his status was changed to Killed in Action.

Since his return, Mark Smith has had a growing concern about Americans left
behind in Southeast Asia. Smith remained in the Army Special Forces, and
ultimately was promoted to the rank of major. In 1985, Smith and SFC Melvin
McIntyre brought suit against the U.S. Government for failing to comply with
U.S. law in securing the freedom of American POWs in Southeast Asia. The two
had been on a special assignment in Thailand, and had gathered substantial
evidence that American POWs were still being held. Further, Smith and
McIntyre claimed that this information, passed on to higher authority, had
been "deep-sixed" and there had been no attempt or intent to act upon it.

Mark Smith, like many close to the POW/MIA issue, feels that his government
has let the men down who proudly served their country. A patriot still,
Smith has spent the years since filing the lawsuit in Thailand, in further
attempts to secure the freedom of men who were left behind.


SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR
Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St.,
Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original
publication (including date and spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

ALBERT E. CARLSON United States Army
Captured: April 7, 1972
Released: February 12, 1973

Personal:   Married   6'1"   180 pounds     32  years old

Education: Bachelor of Science Degree, 1963 San Jose State College.
           Major: Business and Industrial Management. Master in Business
           Administration Degree, 1971,  San Jose State College, California
         
Professional: Commissioned on  active duty in the U.S. Army

Experience: Principal assignments include  that of commanding officer of a
            175 mm gun battery in Germany and a 155 mm howitzer battery in
            Vietnam. Assigned as a battalion operations officer of a target
            acquisition battalion consisting of 850 men and 310 vehicles.
            During last tour in Vietnam served as Deputy Senior Advisor to
            an ARVN Regiment of over 1000 men.
         
Background: Brought up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Graduated as a
            Distinguished Military Graduate, SJSC ROTC program with a
            Regular Army Commission Met his wife Nancy in high school Dated
            constantly until married during senior year of college in 1962.
            Proud parents of a vigorous and  healthy boy age 5 named Eric
            Allen. Recipient of Silver Star, Bronze Star (1st Oak Leaf
            Cluster)  Air Medal Army Commendation Medal Purple Heart (2nd
            OLC),Combat Infantryman's  Badge, and Parachutist's Badge.

Interests:  Primarily interested in outdoor activities: jogging, hunting,
            fishing, hiking,  and camping.

 Currently: Serving at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as a Project Officer and
            Gamer in war games computer simulation. Has recovered from
            wounds and the effects of captivity and plans on making the Army
            a career. Family is actively working at getting settled, makings
            new Friends, and reestablishing the close and bountiful family
            relationships.

POW Experience:
During the battle for Loc Ninh, South Vietnam, in which I was captured, a
massive North Vietnamese army tank and infantry force invaded from Cambodia
and attacked the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) unit that I advised.
         
Under the cover of what seemed to be an unending and well coordinated
mortar, recoilless rifle, and artillery barrage by the enemy, the battle
raged. Initially, death seemed inevitable, and I feared it. Then, after 2
1/2 days of bombardment and having survived a serious lung wound, it became
apparent to me that I was in God's hands. I was alive. I now felt that if my
time had come, I would die; if it had not, I must continue to try to survive
and God would help me.
         
I carried this belief with me into captivity. After Loc Ninh fell I was
taken into the triple-canopied jungles of Cambodia with the remaining
members of our advisory team. There we lived in small, wooden cages with 10
foot lengths of chain fastened about our ankles, a hammock to sleep on, and
were fed primarily a rice diet. As time passed I found that by itself, my
belief was not enough. I became sick with malaria and beri-beri. I lost
weight and became depressed. I felt sorry for myself. My condition
deteriorated. I questioned God and asked if He was not failing me.
         
When one of my fellow POW's broke the mandatory camp silence rule to say a
prayer for me, I discovered it was not God who was letting me down. I was
failing Him, myself, and my fellow Americans working for our release. Once I
realized and understood this fact, I began believing even more than before
that God was with me and that together - faith in God coupled with faith in
myself - that I was going to make it. Knowing this, my deteriorated health
and morale greatly improved while conditions in camp had not changed
significantly.

============
Albert Carlson retired from the United States Army as a Captain. He and
Nancy resided in Washington until his death 08/07/1999.

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