LAWSON, KARL WADE Name: Karl Wade Lawson Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Special Forces Unit: Detachment B-36, Company A, 5th Special Forces Group Date of Birth: 21 May 1947 Home City of Record: Terre Haute IN Date of Loss: 09 April 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 115641N 1070545E Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 1123 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. Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: On April 9, 1968, SP4 Lawson, a member of Detachment B36, Company A, 5th Special Forces Group was participating in a 2 phase operation in Phuoc Long Province, South Vietnam. While guarding a portion of the perimeter, Lawson was struck and killed by shrapnel from an American 175mm artillery shell which fell short of its intended target. A helicopter was called in to extract his body and the bodies of 1 indigenous soldiers. Following the extraction, his body was dropped to the ground in the general vicinity. Three ground search parties were unable to relocate the body due to the density of the vegetation, foliage and hilly terrain. Aerial searches were conducted for 2 days without success. A sniffer mission was also flown, but there were no positive findings. Lawson is one of nearly 2500 Americans still prisoner, missing or otherwise unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. He is listed with honor among the missing because his remains were never found. His case seems quite clear. For others who are listed missing, resolution is not as simple. Many were known to have survived their loss incident. Quite a few were in radio contact with search teams and describing an advancing enemy. Some were photographed or recorded in captivity. Others simply vanished without a trace. When the war ended, and 591 Americans were released in Operation Homecoming in 1973, military experts expressed their dismay that "some hundreds" of POWs did not come home with them. Since that time, thousands of reports have been received, indicating that many Americans are still being held against their will in Southeast Asia. Whether Lawson is among them seems unlikely. What is certain, however, is that if only one American remains alive in enemy hands, we owe him our best effort to bring him home.