SMITH, MARK ALLYN

s189.jpg (20242 bytes) 
1998

                         


2013  


Name: Mark Allyn Smith
Rank/Branch: O3/US Army
Unit: Advisor, Advisory Team 70, MACV
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Lima OH (family in 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); Albert E. Carlson; 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.
--------------------

Mark Smith retired from the United States Army as a Major. When not overseas
with his humanitarian aid missions and live POW advocacy, he lives in
Florida.

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They were required by the new doctor (Army) at Pensacola who wants to display the lives of some Army POW
among the masses of pilots at the Naval Operational Medical institute (NOMI).
 
That second painting is of a double exposure picture created when the film got wet in the jungle in Laos.
 

Painting Of Me During Thai/Lao/Vietnamese Border War 1987-88
 
 


Painting Of Me In Laos 1989

 
 


Painting Of Me During Release 12 February 1973

 
 


Painting (Left To Right) of Ed Carlson, John Ray, Ray Scrump and I during release

 
 


Painting Of Me During Operation In Laos On Horseback 1988

 
 


Painting Of Me Done By Royal Thai Artist In 1987

 
 

A PROMISE MADE ON CHRISTMAS DAY

By: Mark A. Smith

Major, USA, Retired

( Composed In My Head And Memorized On Christmas Night 1972 With End Rewritten During Fall Of Vietnam In 1975)

 

The twenty third Psalm of David

The words came to my mind,

While starving in a prison camp

No food or love to find,

The sneering cadre came again

Only rice and salt,

He said I was a criminal

The war my own fault.

Kept in a stinking hole

A chain around my leg,

Like the Pilgrim I could have more

But the Devil I won't beg.

Wounded, sick and weary,

The words came so clear

As if read from the Bible,

By my own Mother Dear,

Peace on earth, good will to men,

For it was Christmas Day,

Just happy to still be here Lord,

I was heard to pray.

Then the big BUFF bombers came

the earth began to shake

I saw the fear in my enemy's eyes,

And they began to quake.

I looked up to the heavens

For that silver, mighty bird,

But it was the voice of David

The wounded prisoner heard,

Thou preparest a table before me,

in the presence of mine enemies,

The plates began to arrive,

with food for you and me.

They said the Party gave it,

But I knew the real source

My prayers had been answered,

An angel served each course.

John and David on cane's hobbled,

George thin as a rail,

Ken, Ed and Jim so ashen,

Like the wise men down the trail,

We bowed our heads in humble thanks,

To God and not the NVA,

They shouted for some smiles of thanks,

But I began to pray.

Just seven skinny warriors,

By now believers all,

We looked at our enemy

Knowing he would fall.

In Paris they gave away

All that blood had bought,

But I remember an Angel

And all that he brought.

We survived with a purpose

Ordered from on high,

Now when I need courage

I find it in the sky.

So all of you smart people

Who think we cannot win,

Commit an act against your Maker,

He won't forgive again,

Not my freedom for another man's freedom,

I prayed that Christmas Day,

That was a promise to my God

I haven't lost my way,

You think I am full of wrath,

That I spoil for the fight,

But it has to do with a promise

Made on Christmas night.

 

 


Painting Recon Platoon Sergeant Mark Smith Vietnam 1967.

 
 

 

Newspaper clipping 1973(L.A. Times).


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Subject:   THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I HAD NO REASONABLE EXPECTATION TO BE HERE FOR THIS DAY
Date:   Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:20:35 +0700
From:   Mark Smith

 
   Today I turned seventy one and I have been thankful for every day I have been given since 8 April 1972. During the period of 4-8 April 1972 death did not appear merely eminent but absolutely assured. No person on the battlefield was more surprised that I was actually still alive on that morning in April south of Loc Ninh Vietnam than I was. To this day and wherever or whenever the battle has been joined I always fight with what has been described by others as 'total abandon' though I have never been sure exactly what that means. Whatever, it probably started in my youth with my inability to walk away from a fight regardless whom the opponent or opponents were. I don't say this in bragging but merely to point out I never knew another way to approach life in general or fighting in particular and have the scars to prove I certainly did not win them all. 
 
    I have spent my life viewing myself as a fortunate son simply by being born in the United States of America. I have seen the rest of the world up close and personal and know that I have truly been blessed to be born and raised in freedom. Somehow I got into my head that our Maker did not intend less for anyone in this world than what I have, free of charge to me, enjoyed since birth. Thus, especially since my time in a communist prison, I came to believe I have some responsibility to try and shine that light of freedom on others. I see in too many other Americans a compartmentalized version of this thought where they select groups who should be free while disregarding all others as not worth the price in blood or somehow predesignated as not really able to handle freedom. This is the argument that allows us to make exceptions based on everything from a need for allies to a need for something the dictator may have or to simply quit and walk away from the fight. It makes no difference if the dictator is an individual on the right or the asinine communist theory of dictatorship by the proletariat on the left it is without freedom and thus wrong, no matter how convenient to our foreign policy of the moment. In other words, when I awoke that morning alive in enemy hands a monster was created, intent on not merely surviving but prevailing against the political and religious minions of slavery worldwide. 
 
     You see when I attended all that good training in Christian churches/schools and in the United States Army I believed when the leadership said such thoughts about the freedom of mankind were sacrosanct and not to be violated. Today I hear my former comrades in arms, who go to work in enslaved nations, mouth those excuses that we will at least give these folks a better life. My studied opinion is rather easily explained and that is that half-a-loaf in the freedom department is never acceptable. As I look back over my seventy one years I can say I never made that compromise on any subject from people who looked nothing like me to POW left in enemy hands from our own nation. I am sorry to report that when you accept the imprisonment and slavery of even one as better for the majority of us you give away part of what our forefathers envisioned for us. They wanted the grand idea of freedom to be a beacon and gleaming house on the hill for others to wish to emulate.
 
      When we saw that there were those among us denied freedom we marched forth to fight and die to fix it even if it meant killing our very own in our most costly war. The sons of America fought and died for freedom for the enslaved and paid, in full, in blood, for the fact it was initially tolerated. Perhaps we have made errors in the processing of our freedoms especially when we have been afraid but our soldiers have fought and died paying in blood any reparations the aggrieved felt they were owed. America your sons paid in blood for any mistakes you might have made and any person or group demanding more are simply UNGRATEFUL.
After all the value of the freedom we enjoy, as fools march damning our system of government, is incalculable so quit claiming you are owed.
 
    To my fellow fighting men I say just standing next to you in battle was the greatest honor of my life and getting shot and blown up a lot was a very small price to pay for the privilege. I have no regrets whatsoever in that regard. I am sorry I did not spend more time with my family but that is the price of soldiering and it was my choice. There were entire years when I set aside all thought of my own children safely in America to tend to the needs of other American sons beside me in battle whom had been entrusted to me and any military leader who cannot do that should go sell shoes in his home town. Ladies this may not be politically correct but no you do not pay an equal price at home as your spouse pays on the battlefield and never have. 
 
   I believe the price of freedom is too high to have it made even more expensive in blood so our military can be turned into a darned social experiment. It ain't about you girls and boys it is about the darned mission and nothing else. You wish to stand among the elite then you stand there every day and you carry exactly the same load for exactly the same distance and be ready to fight when you get there. If you cannot put up with what you face in your own unit how in God's name are you going to put up with what the enemy has planned for you? If your presence in the unit requires a separate staff in the military and at the VA after discharge I suspect you are in the wrong line of work rather than the work itself and those that can do it being wrong. Oh, at the very least, try to figure out prior to even heading down to the recruiter if you are a girl or a boy because the mission is too important and the danger too great for the war to stop while you make up your mind.
 
    America, God Bless You always and I shall always be grateful for the simple privilege of being born on your beautiful shores. I swear to fight to protect you not only in a physical sense but to fight to protect those ideals which brought your very being into existence until I die.. May all peoples of the world someday enjoy those freedoms you so freely give us. With that being said I shall demand that all interlopers whom seem to believe they are entitled to you, without being your loyal legal citizens, be expelled forthwith. Yet, I and many like me are willing to support them and even fight beside them to enjoy freedom and liberty in their own lands. This we do not owe them but we freely give them our sacrifices but we do not give them you America because the cost paid for you by our forebears was too great.

 
    So on my 71st birthday, I once never thought I would see, I say a simple prayer of thanks;

 
JUST HAPPY TO STILL BE HERE LORD!!

 
God Bless America!!

 
Major Mark A. Smith,USA,Retired
 

 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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