CECIL, ALAN BRUCE Name: Alan Bruce Cecil Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Special Forces Unit: CCN - MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces Group Date of Birth: 05 September 1946 Home City of Record: Holdenville OK Date of Loss: 21 September 1969 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 165104N 1061939E (XD414634) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Refno: 1491 REMARKS: 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. SYNOPSIS: SP5 Alan B. Cecil was a rifleman assigned from 5th Special Forces to Command and Control North (CCN), 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 September 21, 1969, Cecil's team had been inserted into Laos about 20 miles west of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on a reconnaissance mission. The region was heavily travelled by the enemy, moving troops and equipment along the famed "Ho Chi Minh Trail". Cecil's team engaged a numerically superior force, and in the initial burst of fire, the team leader was wounded and SP5 Cecil and one indigenous team member were killed. Cecil was hit in the head, and the remaining team later reported that SP5 Cecil was no longer breathing. The team leader and one remaining indigenous team member were able to escape and evade and were eventually extracted safely that night, leaving Cecil's body behind. Because of the enemy concentration in the area, no search or later extraction was possible. For every insertion like Cecil'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 Cecil 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. While Cecil may not be among them, one can imagine he would gladly serve in an effort to bring them home.