Name: Delmer Lee Laws
Rank/Branch: E7/US Army 5th Special Forces
Unit: Headquarters & Headquarters Company
Date of Birth: 07 August 1935
Home City of Record: Mineral Point MO
Date of Loss: 29 July 1966
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 163109N 1063606E (XD709269)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0409
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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 2020.


SYNOPSIS: SSgt. Delmer Laws was part of a Special Forces reconnaissance team
which consisted of three U.S. and seven ARVN military personnel conducting a
recon mission just inside Laos and southwest of Khe Sanh, South Vietnam. The
team was operating in Savannakhet Province at grid coordinates XD 709 269.

As the unit stopped by a small stream, they were ambushed by an enemy force
of unknown size. The team dispersed along a trail, and survivors state that
Laws was last seen in a crouched position. He communicated by hand signal
with the team leader that he had heard something in the rear of the patrol,
and at that time the unit was fired upon at the rear and flank positions by
automatic weapons. During the action, two ARVN and one of the three
Americans were killed immediately. The team leader rallied the remaining
team members, but was unable to locate Laws. The unit then moved north to
evade capture. Laws had not been seen hit and was not seen again.

On July 31, a recovery team recovered the remains of one U.S. and one ARVN
from the site of the ambush. Other remains were seen but could not be
recovered or identified because of the proximity of the enemy. Evidence
obtained by this particular patrol at the scene indicated that everyone
caught in the killing zone had been killed instantly.

In July 1987, one of the recovery team met quite by accident with Delmer
Laws' sister. Although his complete after-action report had never been
included in Laws' file, the team member was certain and was able to
substantiate to both Laws' sister and the Army that Laws had died the day
his unit was ambushed.

For many years, Delmer Laws' family wondered if he was dead or alive. Years
of senseless torment were caused by haphazard recordkeeping. Considering
that many files of the missing are still classified, one wonders how many
other families are being needlessly tormented.

Considering the thousands of reports received that indicate hundreds of
Americans are still held captive in Southeast Asia, one wonders how many
years we will torment them by abandoning them.


From: "Lisa Lipari" <>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2012 16:43:22 -0500
I am new to this so please forgive me if I have placed this in the wrong area.

I am actually looking for anyone who might have worn my uncle's Delmer Lee
Laws, MIA, Vietnam, bracelet.

Please contact me at Lisa Laws Lipari :


Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 3:48 PM
Subject: Looking for bracelet.
Dear Lisa,
We are probably cousins five or six times removed. I am the great, great
granddaughter of R L and Martha Laws.
I didn't wear Delmer's bracelet, but I do have a story for you. About twenty
years ago, the Traveling Vietnam Wall came to St Charles, not thinking we'd
ever get to Washington D C, my husband and I went to see it. In the center of
the clearing there were empty chairs for those who were not recovered and
brought home and there was Delmer's name and home town on one of the chairs.
A few years later, the Wall came to St Louis at the War Memorial and again
we went to pay our respects. The area was packed with people of all ages.
Eventually, we were able to get in front of the section that had Delmer's name.
I placed a lit candle and a red rose with a tag containing his name against the Wall.
A woman touched my arm and asked if I was Delmer's family. I said yes and she
broke into tears. She said she had been wearing a bracelet with his name for years
and she showed it to me. She said she would continue to wear it until he came home.

I didn't get her name. I thought it an amazing coincidence that she would be there at
the same time as I was and just happen to see his name on the candle.

We did get to D C and the Wall is truely breathtaking. Our family and friends will
be remembered as long as it stands, by generations yet unborn.
My daughter brought me your letter last week so I could relate the story to you.
Good luck in finding a bracelet. Just a thought, you might write to Dear Abby.
She used to print this sort of thing in her column years ago.
God's blessings,


Subject: Delmer L Laws
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2019 08:08:23 -0700
From: DL Bielicke <>



I have SFC Delmer Laws POW bracelet and am trying to return it to his niece Lisa Laws Lipari
can you please have her contact me?

I've searched and can't find her the cox net email address I found is no good.

My email address is attached.

Thank you in advance. 


Donna L Bielicke




Return to Service Member Profiles

On July 29, 1966, a reconnaissance patrol comprising three American and seven South Vietnamese troops was on a combat mission in Laos. During the afternoon, the patrol was at a halt by a small stream when they were ambushed by an enemy force of unknown size near (GC) XD 709 269. The team was dispersed along a trail through high elephant grass that limited visibility, and several members of the team lost sight of one another. The team leader eventually rallied the team and moved north, but one American and three South Vietnamese were killed during the action, and one American was discovered to be missing following the incident. A few days later, a recovery team located the body of the fallen American, but the one who had gone missing was not seen again.

Staff Sergeant Delmer Lee Laws entered the U.S. Army from Missouri and served in Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 5th Special Forces Group. He was the member of the patrol who went missing during the ambush, and further attempts to locate him or his remains were unsuccessful. Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of missing in action (MIA), the U.S. Army promoted Staff Sergeant Laws to the rank of Sergeant First Class (SFC). Today, Sergeant First Class Laws is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

Service member profile discrepancy? Please help us ensure the accuracy of each profile by submitting documentation about a service member profile.