MURPHY, BARRY DANIEL
Name: Barry Daniel Murphy
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Command & Control South, MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 07 January 1947 (New York NY)
Home City of Record: Cutler Ridge FL
Date of Loss: 18 March 1969
Country of Loss: Cambodia
Loss Coordinates: 124059N 108329E (XT441912)
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: In Vietnam, SP4 Barry D. Murphy was assigned through Special
Operations Augmentation from his regular unit in 5th Special Forces to
Command & Control South, MACV-SOG.
MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation
Group), 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 March 18, SP4 Murphy was serving as the assistant team leader of a 10 man
team which had been inserted by helicopter on a reconnaissance mission in
Kampong Cham Province, located in south central Cambodia. Soon after leaving
the helicopter and moving on to the objective, the team was ambushed by an
unknown size enemy force.
During the ensuing fire fight, Murphy was hit several times from small arms
fire and died. Three other team members were killed before the helicopter
could extract the survivors. Because of enemy fire, all remains were left
behind. Subsequent air search for the remains failed to locate them.
There are several discrepancies in the case of Barry D. Murphy. First of
all, even though the U.S. Army indicates that four team members' remains
were lost in the fire fight and not recovered, only Murphy is missing from
the action. Further, Defense Department lists indicate that the coordinates
of loss for Murphy are located at Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam, some 110
miles from the closest province border point of Kampong Cham Province,
Cambodia, and about 35 miles from the closest border point of Cambodia
It is not surprising, because of the nature of the missions conducted by
MACV-SOG, that some earlier records were distorted to conceal the location
of Murphy's loss. It is also quite possible that the Murphy's Army casualty
file does not contain all the after action reports and could be missing one
which indicates the recovery of the three other personnel lost the same day.
After all, Murphy was said to be dead, and there would be no pressing need
to track each report as diligently as if he were thought to have survived.
In 1988, the communist government of Cambodia announced that it had several
sets of U.S. remains it would like to return to the U.S. (In fact, the
number of remains exceeds the number officially listed as missing in that
country.) Because the United States has no diplomatic relations with
Cambodia, no formal reply was given.
Despite the efforts of several concerned U.S. Congressmen, diplomatic
pandering has prevented the remains of those said to be U.S. servicemen from
being returned home. SP4 Murphy could be one of them. The only fitting
tribute he can be paid is to be buried in the soil of his homeland.
More tragic still is the horror that hundreds of Americans may be still
alive in captivity. After examination of thousands of classified documents
relating to the missing in Southeast Asia, many Congressmen and other
government officials were forced to conclude that Americans had been left
behind, and that they were still alive today. There can be no honorable end
to the Vietnam war until all our men are home.