STRIDE, JAMES DANIEL JR. Name: James Daniel Stride, Jr. Rank/Branch: E6/US Army Special Forces Unit: Command & Control North, MACV-SOG Date of Birth: 27 February 1933 Home City of Record: Denison TX Date of Loss: 05 October 1968 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 155935N 1072346E (YC564695) Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 1299 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 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 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group) was a joint-service 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 into Laos and Cambodia which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions. SSGT James D. Stride was assigned to Command and Control North, MACV-SOG in Vietnam. On October 5, 1968, Stride was the team leader, SP4 Steven D. Engelke, assistant platoon leader, SP4 Lynn M. Black, Jr., radio operator on a reconnaissance patrol in Saravane Province, Laos near the border of South Vietnam, and just about 10 miles south of A Shau. The platoon, in addition to its Special Forces members, consisted of an unspecified number of indigenous personnel. Upon the team's insertion into Laos, the team made contact with enemy forces. SSGT Stride ordered the team off the landing zone in order to break contact and to continue the mission. A hundred yards from the LZ, the team was ambushed. In the initial burst of fire, Stride was mortally wounded. The team recovered the body and formed a perimeter. Two hours later, the team was forced to exfiltrate, but Stride's body was left behind. Because the area was hostile, it was not possible to return for Stride. For every insertion like Stride's that was detected and stopped, dozens of other commando teams safely slipped past enemy lines to strike a wide range of targets and collect vital information. The number of MACV-SOG missions conducted with Special Forces 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 among the most combat-effective, forces ever raised. The missions Stride and others were assigned were exceedingly dangerous. The men who were put into such situations knew the chance 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. What must they think of us?