LEDBETTER, THOMAS ISAAC Name: Thomas Isaac Ledbetter Rank/Branch: O3/US Army Special Forces Unit: Detachment A-133, 5th Special Forces Group Date of Birth: 26 May 1936 (Bainbridge GA) Home City of Record: Tampa FL Loss Date: 19 June 1964 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 112447N 1061041E (XT325635) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 0032 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 1998. Other Personnel In Incident: Sgt. James L. Talley (Missing); Sgt. Harry A. Walling (killed); 103-man Montagnard company REMARKS: MIA IN GRND FIGHT ON PATROL - J SYNOPSIS: On June 17, 1964, Capt. Thomas L. Ledbetter, Sgt. James L. Talley and Sgt. Harry Walling left the Special Forces camp at Polei Krong on a two-day patrol with a 103-man Montagnard company. The patrol proceeded through Tay Ninh Province to about 5 miles southeast of the provincial capitol. Two days later, at the camp at Soui Da, a radio message was received from Talley reporting that the team had walked into a Viet Cong battallion of 300-400 and that Captain Ledbetter had been wounded. He requested air support and evacuation. He was unable to give an exact location. Immediate help was sent, but was unable to locate the area of the battle. Later that day, a company and a half were ready to leave on a search when 26 survivors, mostly wounded, began to come in, giving a grim description of what had occurred. Captain Ledbetter, although shot in the leg, stabbed and hit in the head, was last seen crawling away after the company was entirely overrun. Some of the survivors reported that they had hidden in the brush pretending to be dead and observed the Viet Cong burying bodies and lying in wait for the search parties they knew would come. Some said that they had seen Talley and Ledbetter being carried away by the Viet Cong. The search for clues of the fate of Thomas Ledbetter, James Talley and Harry Walling went on for over a week. Each day, the searchers encountered enemy fire and engaged in battle, both on the ground and in the air. The search was complicated by the fact that the Montagnards were unfamiliar with the area and frequently became confused about the locations of the battles. Eighty-six new graves were found, and several of them were opened. The grave of Harry Walling was found and his body evacuated. Ledbetter and Talley were not found. The team felt at the time that Ledbetter and Talley had been captured. Talley had medical experience and would have made a valuable prisoner to the Viet Cong who were unable to adequately treat their wounded. U.S. Government has received thousands of sighting reports of living Americans in captivity in Southeast Asia. Because many of these reports cannot be disproven, families of men like Tommy Ledbetter and Jim Talley wonder if their loved one could still be waiting to be rescued by the country they loved and served.