BOOKOUT, CHARLES FRANKLIN
Name: Charles Franklin Bookout
Rank/Branch: E7/US Army Special Forces
Unit: CCN/MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 01 December 1934 (Sayre OK)
Home City of Record: Oklahoma City OK
Date of Loss: 04 July 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 154852N 1071220E (YC362495)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
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 2020.
SYNOPSIS: SFC Charles F. Bookout was a squad leader assigned to 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 the Fourth of July in 1970, SFC Bookout was conducting a reconnaissance
mission when his unit was ambushed in Laos. The team's position was near the
border of Laos and South Vietnam, south of the South Vietnam city of A Shau,
in Saravane Province, Laos.
On the first burst of fire, SFC Bookout was wounded. He was examined by one
of the squad members, and a single bullet hole was found in the left side of
his back. About 10 minutes later he stopped breathing, and no pulse could be
found. Due to the tactical situation and the intense enemy fire, the team
was instructed to move to a clearing for extraction.
SFC Bookout was left behind, because it would have slowed the progress and
endangered the lives of the rest of the team to try and carry him to safety.
It was believed that he was dead. The rest of the team was extracted safely
at about 1900 hours that day. No search teams were inserted to recover
Bookout because of impending darkness and the enemy situation.
For every insertion like SFC Charles Bookout'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 Bookout 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. It seems unlikely that Charles
Bookout is among them, but one can be sure he would risk one more dangerous
mission to help bring those who are alive to freedom if he could. What are
we doing to bring our men home?
July 10, 2000
Skidmore, MO. USA
I am writing in reference to Charles Franklin Bookout. I am
married to his eldest son, Greg. I just happened to pull some very
interesting information up on the Internet about him and it sparked some
curiosity. It was such a great bio of him and we felt like it might have
been written by someone who either knew him or knew of him. We are very
interested in finding out more about about him, such as what kind of a man
he was and what he did. He has 2 great sons, one is 38 years old with 2
sons ages 17 and 16, and the other is 32 years old with 2 sons ages 5 and 3,
all of whom know very little about their Dad and grandfather. They were, of
course, so young when this happened that they never really knew anything and
their mother, not being the same since, never really told them much. We all
would really like for our kids to know who their grandfather was, so we
thought we would start somewhere and see if we could get in contact with
someone who might have some information.
Thank you so much, in advance, for any assistance you can give us.
Greg and Jami Bookout
10609 S. Blackwelder
Oklahoma City, OK 73170