CALHOUN, JOHNNY C.
|Name: Johnny C. Calhoun
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Command & Control, MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 14 July 1945 (Roanoke AL)
Home City of Record: Newman GA
Date of Loss: 27 March 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 161130N 1071600E (YC422918)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 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.
SYNOPSIS: 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.
Corporal Johnny C. Calhoun was assigned to Command and Control, MACV-SOG in
Vietnam. On March 27, 1968, he was the team leader of a strategic
reconnaissance team that was operating one and one-half miles south of Ta
Bat in the A Shau Valley in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam. The team was
awaiting exfiltration when it was attacked by a numerically superior enemy
force. CPL Calhoun provided covering fire for the rest of the patrol while
ordering the other five members to withdraw.
The second in command stated in the board of inquiry that he saw CPL Calhoun
hit by at least 3 rounds in the chest and stomach, fall to the ground and
not move. The interpreter, Ho-Thong, stated that when Calhoun slumped to the
ground, he pulled the pin from a grenade, and clutched it to explode among
advancing enemy. Calhoun's ultimate fate is unknown because of the rapid
retreat of the survivors. It was not known if the grenade exploded on
The survivors of the team were extracted about 20 hours after the initial
contact. Because of hostile threat in the area, a further search was not
made. CPL Calhoun was classified as Missing In Action until September 3,
1974, at which time he was legally declared dead for lack of positive
information that he was alive.
The MACV-SOG teams performed exceedingly dangerous and strategic missions.
Johnny Calhoun probably knew that because of the nature of these missions,
he would be a valuable capture, and accordingly, determined that he would
not be captured. If he did not die, and was ultimately captured by the
advancing enemy, he knew the chances were slim that he would ever be
Tragically, evidence mounts that hundreds of the nearly 2500 Americans still
missing in Southeast Asia are still alive, awaiting their freedom. One of
them could be Johnny Calhoun. He jeopardized his own safety for that of his
team. What have we done for him?
Johnny C. Calhoun was promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class during
the period he was maintained missing.
I'll try and be brief. Along with some other researchers, we are finalizing
a compiled list of all Distinguished Service Cross awards made by the Army
during VN. This was the second highest award given next to the MOH. We are
also working on the Navy Cross awards for the same period.
The intent was not only for historical purposes (as the Army never kept a
database of these awards), but to also support Associations and
Organizations to have a central file to stop the claims from the 'wannabes'.
Since the MOH is now so widely documented, many of these jerks are now
trying to claim the DSC award to get attention.
While working on this list, I ran across a Johnny C Calhoun, that you have
listed. His award was for action on 27 Mar 68 (the date he was listed
missing). It was officially documented under the Army General Order # 18,
which also acts as a citation of his bravery.