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 Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 1449
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 2001.
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 PreferredE-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org AlternateE-mail: Jim.Bourke@nec.com.au