MIXTER, DAVID IVES
Name: David Ives Mixter
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Special Forces (5th Group)
Unit: Company A, Command & Control Central, MACV-SOG
Date of Birth: 22 January 1949 (New York NY)
Home City of Record: Darien CT
Date of Loss: 29 January 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 143726N 1072554E (YB619180)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
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.
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
SYNOPSIS: Sgt. David I. Mixter was a rifleman assigned from 5th Special
Forces Group through Special Operations Augmentation to Command & Control
Central, 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 January 29, 1971, Sgt. Mixter was part of a long range reconnaissance
patrol (LRRP) on a mission in Attopeu Province, Laos. The unit was operating
near what is known as the "Parrot's Beak" area of Cambodia, where Laos,
Cambodia and Vietnam borders meet. At 1400 hours that day, Mixter's team
made contact with an enemy force. B40 rocket propelled grenades were fired
at the team, one of which exploded directly in front of Sgt. Mixter. When he
was checked by the team leader, Sgt. Mixter's chest was covered with blood,
and he did not respond at all.
Sgt. Mixter was thought to be dead, and had to be left behind in the rush to
break contact with enemy troops. The remainder of the team was ultimately
extracted. Searches the next day produced some of Mixter's possessions, but
he had vanished.
For every insertion like Mixter'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 Mixter 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. While Sgt. David I. Mixter may not
be among those who are live, what would he think of us?