Name: Anastacio Montez
Rank/Branch: E7/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Detachment B-20, 5th Special Forces
Date of Birth: 24 November 1929 (Leon Valley TX)
Home City of Record: Presidio TX
Date of Loss: 24 May 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 143302N 1074119E (YB897102)
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: SFC Anastacio Montez commanded a company of civilian irregulars in
a strike force (MSFC) and was assigned to Detachment B-20, 5th Special
Forces Group. The 2nd Mobile Strike Force Command, assigned to Detachment
B-20 at Pleiku had during 1968 contained 3 battalions and also satellited
separate battalions under Detachment B-22 at Qui Nhon, B-23 at Ban Me Thuot,
and B-24 at Kontum. On April 1, 1969, the mobile strike force companies in
II CTZ (Montez' area of operations) were reconsolidated at Pleiku and
trimmed down to a total of six companies.
On May 24, 1969, Montez's company encountered a numerically superior group
in a fire fight in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. The American members of
the team tried to defend a small hill. During this time, Montez was badly
wounded and, according to survivors, later died.
As the enemy pressed the attack, surviving members of the team had to
abandon the position, leaving Montez behind. Because of heavy enemy
concentration in the area, it was never possible to reenter the area of loss
to recover Montez.
Montez is one of nearly 2500 Americans who remain prisoner, missing or
unaccounted for from American involvement in Vietnam. For his family, there
can be little doubt what happened that day in May, 1969. For other families,
however, doubts remain. Many of the missing were known to be alive and well
when they were last seen. Some were known to be prisoners and simply were
not released at the end of the war. Others were injured and left behind.
Some, like Montez, tragically were killed and left behind.
Even more tragic is the continual flow of reports indicating that many, many
Americans are still alive, held captive in Southeast Asia. Although Montez
is almost certainly not among them, one can imagine his willingness to lead
one more team to help them to freedom.
My name is Jim Bourke, Melbourne Australia. In 1968 I served with 212
Company, 1st Battalion, 2 Corps Mobile Strike Force. I was attached to the
5th Special Forces Group while a member of the Australian Regular Army.
Two years ago I started out to collect the history of 212 Company. While
researching the operation in the BEN HET area, KONTUM Province during the
period 16th to 26th May 1969, I became interested in why the body of SFC
Anastacio Montez (US Special Forces) was not recovered. He was killed on 24
May 69. I have done a fair amount of research on the operation and have
managed to contact most of the troops involved. I am in the process of
putting together a report for your Defence POW / Missing Persons Office
regarding what I have ascertained about the possible location of the remains
of Montez. His case is still open.
The Daily Staff Journal of 24th Special Tactical Zone, the controlling HQ
for the ground operation, was located at KONTUM. The 24 STZ log indicates
that on the morning of 25 May 69 (the day after the battle) there were US
outside the perimeter. However, based on the records we have along with the
anecdotal inputs, I have accounted for all the US and Australian persons who
deployed to the field. It would be very informative if we could ascertain
exactly who these US were by name, and, most importantly, exactly where they
were located. Extract from 24 STZ Log of 25 May 69.
I believe that HEADHUNTER 32 would have been from 219th Aviation Company.
(Understand there was a platoon at KONTUM and also an element, maybe the HQ,
at Camp Holloway.)
I am trying to locate HEADHUNTER 32.
Any help or guidance that you can provide me would be most appreciated.
JAMES R. BOURKE
Phone: 61 3 9262 1477 (Business)
Phone: 61 3 9887 0408 (Private)
Mobile: 0412 826 744
Fax: 61 3 9262 1430