QUAMO, GEORGE

Name: George Quamo
Branch/Rank: United States Army/O4
Unit: CCN MACV SOG
Date of Birth: 10 June 1940   Lynn MA
Home City of Record: AVERILL PARK NY
Date of Loss: 14-April-68
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 160845 North  1081033 East
Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: U17
Missions:
Other Personnel in Incident:
Refno: 1128

Source: Compiled by 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 and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File. Updated 2012.

REMARKS:  REMAINS RECOVERED 740628   ID'd 740815

Major Deputy Commander George Quamo was in charge of FOB#3, Command and
Control North, MACV SOG. He joined the service 23 October 1958 at
Averhill Park NY.

He was aboard a Vietnamese U-17 aircraft, tail number XT 14502, flown by
a Chinese contract pilot, as a courier enroute from Khe Sanh to Da Nang
when the chopper crashed in Quang Tri province. He was not married at
the time of his death.

CACCF/CRASH/NON AIRCREW/QUANG TRI

NOTE: The following incident occurred PRIOR to Maj. Quamo's helicopter
crash in April 1968.

SYNOPSIS: The Lang Vei Special Forces camp in the northwestern corner of
South Vietnam along Route 9, a mile and a half from the Laotian
border.had been established in late December 1966 as a result of the
Special Forces Detachment A101 having been moved out of its former Khe
Sanh location. It seemed ill fated from the beginning.

In March 1967, one of the worst tragedies to befall the Special Forces
CIDG program during the war occurred. U.S. Air Force released napalm
ordnance on the nearby village which spewed exploding fire over the
camp, landing zone, minefield and village. 135 CIDG and native civilians
were killed, and 213 were horribly wounded, burned or disfigured.

Only two months later, on May 4, a Viet Cong night attack on the camp
wiped out the Special Forces command group, all in one bunker, and
killed the detachment commander and his executive officer, as well as
seriously wounding the team sergeant. This attack was a prelude to the
larger siege of Khe Sanh, and was a grim reminder of the dangerous
neighborhood Special Forces had moved into.

By January 1968, several North Vietnamese Army divisions had encircled
the Marine combat base at Khe Sanh, placing the more westerly Lang Vei
Special Forces frontier surveillance camp in imminent danger. The camp
was occupied by Detachment A101 commanded by Capt. Frank C. Willoughby.
Willoughby was rebuilding and reinforcing the camp at the time, while
soldiers and dependants from the Kha tribal 33rd Laotian Volunteer
Battalion streamed into the camp after being overrun by NVA tanks across
the border.

On the evening of January 24, the camp was pounded by mortars in
conjunction with a heavy shelling of the Marine Khe Sanh base, which
prevented any effective artillery support for Lang Vei. 1Lt. Paul R.
Longgrear had only recently arrived with his Hre tribal 12th Mobile
Strike Force Company to help shore up defensive firepower.

The influx of the Laotians caused some problems. For example, the Lao
battalion commander refused to take orders from the American captain,
forcing the Company C commander, LtCol. Daniel F. Schungel, to come to
Lang Vei on his first Special Forces assignment on February 6 to provide
an officer of equal rank.

Camp strength on February 6 totalled 24 Special Forces, 14 LLDB, 161
mobile strike force, 282 CIDG (Bru and Vietnamese), 6 interpreters and
520 Laotian soldiers, plus a number of civilians.

Shortly after midnight on February 7, 1968, a combined NVA infantry-tank
assault drove into Lang Vei. Two PT-76 tanks threatened the outer
perimeter of the camp as infantry rushed behind them. SFC James W. Holt
destroyed both tanks with shots from his 106mm recoilless rifle. More
tanks came around the burning hulks of the first two tanks and began to
roll over the 104th CIDG Company's defensive positions. SSgt. Peter
Tiroch, the assistant intelligence sergeant, ran over to Holt's position
and helped load the weapon. Holt quickly lined up a third tank in his
sights and destroyed it with a direct hit. After a second shot at the
tank, Holt and Tiroch left the weapons pit just before it was demolished
by return cannon fire. Tiroch watched Holt run over to the ammunition
bunker to look for some hand-held Light Anti-tank Weapons (LAWs). It was
the last time Holt was ever seen.

LtCol. Schungel, 1Lt. Longgrear, SSgt. Arthur Brooks, Sgt. Nikolas
Fragos, SP4 William G. McMurry, Jr., and LLDB Lt. Quy desperately tried
to stop the tanks with LAWs and grenades. They even climbed on the
plated engine decks, trying to pry open hatches to blast out the crews.
NVA infantrymen followed the vehicles closely, dusting their sides with
automatic rifle fire. One tank was stopped by five direct hits, and the
crew killed as they tried to abandon the vehicle. 1Lt. Miles R. Wilkins,
the detachment executive officer, left the mortar pit with several LAWs
and fought a running engagement with one tank beside the team house
without much success.

Along the outer perimeters, the mobile strike force outpost was
receiving fire. Both Kenneth Hanna, a heavy weapons specialist, and
Charles W. Lindewald, 12th Mobile Strike Force platoon leader, were
wounded. Hanna, wounded in the scalp, left shoulder and arm tried to
administer first aid to Lindewald. The two were last seen just before
their position was overrun. Harvey Brande spoke with them by radio and
Hanna indicated that Lindewald was then dead, and that he himself was
badly wounded. Daniel R. Phillips, a demolitions specialist, was wounded
in the face and was last seen trying to evade North Vietnamese armor by
going through the northern perimeter wire. . NVA sappers armed with
satchel charges, tear gas grenades and flamethrowers fought through the
101st, 102nd and 103rd CIDG perimeter trenches and captured both ends of
the compound by 2:30 a.m. Spearheaded by tanks, they stormed the inner
compound. LtCol. Schungel and his tank-killer personnel moved back to
the command bunker for more LAWs. They were pinned behind a row of dirt
and rock filled drums by a tank that had just destroyed one of the
mortar pits. A LAW was fired against the tank with no effect. The cannon
swung around and blasted the barrels in front of the bunker entrance.
The explosion temporarily blinded McMurry and mangled his hands, pitched
a heavy drum on top of Lt. Wilkins and knocked Schungel flat. Lt. Quy
managed to escape to another section of the camp, but the approach of
yet another tank prevented Schungel and Wilkins from following. At some
point during this period, McMurry, a radioman, disappeared.

The tank, which was shooting at the camp observation post, was destroyed
with a LAW. Schungel helped Wilkins over to the team house, where he
left both doors ajar and watched for approaching NVA soldiers. Wilkins
was incapacitated and weaponless, and Schungel had only two grenades and
two magazines of ammunition left. He used one magazine to kill a closely
huddled five-man sapper squad coming toward the building. He fed his
last magazine into his rifle as the team house was rocked with
explosions and bullets. The two limped over to the dispensary, which was
occupied by NVA soldiers, and hid underneath it, behind a wall of
sandbags.

At some point, Brande, Thompson and at least one Vietnamese interpreter
were captured by the North Vietnamese. Thompson was uninjured, but
Brande had taken shrapnel in his leg. Brande and Thompson were held
separately for a week, then rejoined in Laos. Joined with them was
McMurry, who had also been captured from the camp. The three were moved
up the Ho Chi Minh trail to North Vietnam and held until 1973. The U.S.
did not immediately realize they had been captured, and carried them in
Missing in Action status thoughout the rest of the war, although
Brande's photo was positively identified by a defector in April 1969 as
being a Prisoner of War. A Vietnamese interpreter captured from the camp
told Brande later that he had seen both Lindewald and Hanna, and that
they both were dead.

Several personnel, including Capt. Willoughby, SP4 James L. Moreland,
the medic for the mobile strike force, and Lt. Quan, the LLDB camp
commander, were trapped in the underground level of the command bunker.
Lt. Longgrear had also retreated to the command bunker. Satchel charges,
thermite grenades and gas grenades were shoved down the bunker air
vents, and breathing was very difficult. Some soldiers had gas masks,
but others had only handkerchiefs or gauze from their first aid packets.

The NVA announced they were going to blow up the bunker, and the LLDB
personnel walked up the stairs to surrender, and were summarily
executed. At dawn, two large charges were put down the vent shaft and
detonated, partially demolishing the north wall and creating a large
hole through which grenades were pitched. The bunker defenders used
upturned furniture and debris to shield themselves. Willoughby was badly
wounded by grenade fragments and passed out at 8:30 a.m. Moreland had
been wounded and became delirious after receiving a head injury in the
final bunker explosion. Incredibly, the battle was still going on in
other parts of the camp.

Aircraft had been strafing the ravines and roads since 1:00 a.m.
Throughout the battle, the Laotians refused to participate, saying they
would attack at first light. Sfc. Eugene Ashley, Jr., the intelligence
sergeant, led two assistant medical specialists, Sgt. Richard H. Allen
and SP4 Joel Johnson as they mustered 60 of the Laotian soldiers and
counterattacked into Lang Vei. The Laotians bolted when a NVA machine
gun crew opened fire on them, forcing the three Americans to withdraw.

Team Sfc. William T. Craig and SSgt. Tiroch had chased tanks throughout
the night with everything from M-79 grenade launchers to a .50 caliber
machine gun. After it had become apparent that the camp had been
overrun, they escaped outside the wire and took temporary refuge in a
creek bed. After daylight, they saw Ashley's counterattack force and
joined him. The Special Forces sergeants persuaded more defenders
fleeing down Route 9 to assist them and tried second, third and fourth
assaults. Between each assault, Ashley directed airstrikes on the NVA
defensive line, while the other Special Forces soldiers gathered tribal
warriors for yet another attempt. On the fifth counterattack, Ashley was
mortally wounded only thirty yards from the command bunker.

Capt. Willoughby had regained consciousness in the bunker about 10:00
a.m. and established radio contact with the counterattacking Americans.
The continual American airstrikes had forced the North Vietnamese to
begin withdrawing from the camp. Col. Schungel and Lt. Wilkins emerged
from under the dispensary after it was vacated by the North Vietnamese
and hobbled out of the camp.

The personnel in the bunker also left in response to orders to
immediately evacuate the camp. They carried Sgt. John D. Early, who had
been badly wounded by shrapnel while manning the tower, but were forced
to leave SP4 Moreland inside the bunker. 1Lt. Thomas D. Todd, an
engineer officer in charge of upgrading Lang Vei's airstrip, held out in
the medical bunker throughout the battle. That afternoon, he was the
last American to pass through the ruined command bunker. He saw
Moreland, who appeared to be dead, covered with debris.

Maj. George Quamo gathered a few dozen Special Forces commando
volunteers from the MACV-SOG base at Khe Sanh (FOB #3) and led a heroic
reinforcing mission into Lang Vei. His arrival enabled the Lang Vei
defenders to evacuate the area, many by Marine helicopters in the late
afternoon.

Sgt. Richard H. Allen - Survivor
Sfc Eugene Ashley, Jr. - Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for
Lang Vei   --- see citation below
Harvey Gordon Brande - Captured - released POW in 1973
SSgt. Arthur Brooks - Survivor
Sfc. William T. Craig - Survivor
Sgt. John D. Early - Survivor
Sgt. Nikolas Fragos - Survivor
Kenneth Hanna - Missing In Action
James William Holt - Missing In Action
SP4 Joel Johnson - Survivor
Charles Wesley Lindewald, Jr. - Missing In Action
1Lt. Paul R. Longgrear - Survivor
SP4 William G. McMurry - Captured - released POW in 1973
James Leslie Moreland - Missing In Action
Daniel Raymond Phillips - Missing In Action
Maj. George Quamo - Killed in Action April 14, 1968
Lt. Quy - Survivor
LtCol. Daniel F. Schungel - appointed deputy commander of the 5th
Special Forces
Dennis L. Thompson - Captured - released POW in 1973
SSgt. Peter Tiroch - Survivor
1Lt. Thomas D. Todd - Survivor
1Lt. Miles R. Wilkins - Survivor
Capt. Frank C. Willoughby - Survivor


                        MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION

ASHLEY, EUGENE, JR.

Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army,
Company C, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces

Place and date: Near Lang Vei, Republic of Vietnam, 6th and 7th February 1968

Entered service at: New York, New York

Born: 12 October 1931, Wilmington, North Carolina

Sfc. Ashley, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity while serving with Detachment A-101, Company C. Sfc. Ashley
was the senior Special Forces adviser of a hastily organized assault
force whose mission was to rescue entrapped U.S. Special Forces advisers
at Camp Lang Vei. During the initial attack on the Special Forces camp
by North Vietnamese army forces, Sfc. Ashley supported the camp
with high explosive and illumination mortar rounds. When
communications were lost with the main camp, he assumed the
additional responsibility of directing air strikes and artillery
support. Sfc. Ashley organized and equipped a small assault force composed
of local friendly personnel. During the ensuing battle. Sfc.
Ashley led a total of 5 vigorous assaults against the enemy,
continuously exposing himself to a voluminous hail of enemy grenades,
machine gun and automatic weapons fire. Throughout these assaults, he
was plagued by numerous boobytrapped satchel charges in all bunkers on
his avenue of approach. During his fifth and final assault, he adjusted
air strikes nearly on top of his assault element, forcing the enemy to
withdraw and resulting in friendly control of the summit of the hill.
While exposing himself to intense enemy fire, he was seriously wounded
by machine gun fire but continued his mission without regard for
his personal safety. After the fifth Assault he lost consciousness
and was carried from the summit by his comrades only to suffer a
fatal wound when an enemy artillery round landed in the area. Sfc.
Ashley displayed extraordinary heroism in risking his life in an attempt
to save the lives of his entrapped comrades and commanding officer. His
total disregard for is personal safety while exposed to
enemy observation and automatic weapons fire was an inspiration to all
men committed to the assault. The resolute valor with which he led
5 gallant charges placed critical diversionary pressure on the attacking
enemy and his valiant efforts carved a channel in the overpowering enemy
forces and weapons positions through which the survivors of Camp Lang
Vei eventually escaped to freedom. Sfc. Ashley's bravery, at the cost of
his life was in the highest traditions of the miitary service, and
reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S.
Army.

First name: EUGENE JR
Home of Record (official): WILMINGTON
State (official):NC
Date of Birth: Tuesday, October 20, 1931
Race: Negro
Marital Status: Married
Military  Branch: Army
Rank: SFC
Serial Number: 12392673
Component: Regular
Pay grade: E7
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 11F4S
Action Start of Tour: Friday, January 12, 1968
Date of Casualty: Wednesday, February 7, 1968
Age at time of loss: 36
Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died
Reason: Artillery, rocket, mortar (Ground casualty)
Country: South VietNam
Province: Quang Tri
The Wall: Panel 37E -Row 077
 

Military Times has a photo at http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=5121 


 
They named a Post Office in his home town in honor of him in 2006. See http://www.macvsog.cc/maj_quamo_post_office.htm#MAJOR QUAMO POST OFFICE