CARLSON, ALBERT EDWIN RIP 08/07/1999 Name: Albert Edwin Carlson Rank/Branch: O4/US Army Unit: Advisor, Advisory Team 70, MACV Date of Birth: 16 May 1930 Home City of Record: San Lorenzo 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); Mark A. Smith; 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.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO ALBERT E. CARLSON United States Army Captured: April 7, 1972 Released: February 12, 1973 Personal: Married 6'1" 180 pounds 32 years old Education: Bachelor of Science Degree, 1963 San Jose State College. Major: Business and Industrial Management. Master in Business Administration Degree, 1971, San Jose State College, California Professional: Commissioned on active duty in the U.S. Army Experience: Principal assignments include that of commanding officer of a 175 mm gun battery in Germany and a 155 mm howitzer battery in Vietnam. Assigned as a battalion operations officer of a target acquisition battalion consisting of 850 men and 310 vehicles. During last tour in Vietnam served as Deputy Senior Advisor to an ARVN Regiment of over 1000 men. Background: Brought up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate, SJSC ROTC program with a Regular Army Commission Met his wife Nancy in high school Dated constantly until married during senior year of college in 1962. Proud parents of a vigorous and healthy boy age 5 named Eric Allen. Recipient of Silver Star, Bronze Star (1st Oak Leaf Cluster) Air Medal Army Commendation Medal Purple Heart (2nd OLC),Combat Infantryman's Badge, and Parachutist's Badge. Interests: Primarily interested in outdoor activities: jogging, hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping. Currently: Serving at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as a Project Officer and Gamer in war games computer simulation. Has recovered from wounds and the effects of captivity and plans on making the Army a career. Family is actively working at getting settled, makings new Friends, and reestablishing the close and bountiful family relationships. POW Experience: During the battle for Loc Ninh, South Vietnam, in which I was captured, a massive North Vietnamese army tank and infantry force invaded from Cambodia and attacked the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) unit that I advised. Under the cover of what seemed to be an unending and well coordinated mortar, recoilless rifle, and artillery barrage by the enemy, the battle raged. Initially, death seemed inevitable, and I feared it. Then, after 2 1/2 days of bombardment and having survived a serious lung wound, it became apparent to me that I was in God's hands. I was alive. I now felt that if my time had come, I would die; if it had not, I must continue to try to survive and God would help me. I carried this belief with me into captivity. After Loc Ninh fell I was taken into the triple-canopied jungles of Cambodia with the remaining members of our advisory team. There we lived in small, wooden cages with 10 foot lengths of chain fastened about our ankles, a hammock to sleep on, and were fed primarily a rice diet. As time passed I found that by itself, my belief was not enough. I became sick with malaria and beri-beri. I lost weight and became depressed. I felt sorry for myself. My condition deteriorated. I questioned God and asked if He was not failing me. When one of my fellow POW's broke the mandatory camp silence rule to say a prayer for me, I discovered it was not God who was letting me down. I was failing Him, myself, and my fellow Americans working for our release. Once I realized and understood this fact, I began believing even more than before that God was with me and that together - faith in God coupled with faith in myself - that I was going to make it. Knowing this, my deteriorated health and morale greatly improved while conditions in camp had not changed significantly. ============ Albert Carlson retired from the United States Army as a Captain. He and Nancy resided in Washington until his death 08/07/1999.