Name: Robert Duval Owen
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Command & Control North, MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 21 December 1938 (Lynchburg VA)
Home City of Record: Chatham VA
Date of Loss: 23 May 1968
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161730N 1070600E (YD258028)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: ground
Refno: 1191

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 2015.

Other Personnel In Incident: Glen O. Lane (missing)


SYNOPSIS: Robert D. Owen would have been called "gung-ho" by many. At age
14, he lied about his age and was in the Army, until the Army learned his
true age. Owen later joined the Special Forces and was subsequently sent to
Vietnam, where he was under orders MACV-SOG in Command & Control North as a
reconnaissance patrol member.

MACV-SOG, or 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 (though it was not a
Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which
provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. These 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 May 20, 1968, SFC Glen Lane and SSgt. Robert D. Owens were the only two
U.S. members of the 6-man spike team "Idaho" assigned to infiltrate a denied
area across the Lao border west of A Loui.

The team was inserted into the area by helicopter, and was heard from only
once thereafter by a Forward Air Controller (FAC) about 1024 hours the same
day. All further contact with the patrol was lost. The spike team "Oregon"
was inserted into the same landing zone, and after finding a trail, searched
about 50 meters from the area and noticed signs of a fire fight.

At that time, "Oregon" was attacked by an estimated company-sized enemy
force and was extracted after suffering one killed and seven wounded. There
was no further ground search for Owen or Lane. The 12 man team believed that
the two had been either captured or killed.

When American POWs were released in 1973, Lane and Owen were not among them.
Indeed, the agreements which ended the war in Southeast Asia did not include
provision for the men held prisoner in Laos. No treaty has been struck since
that time for them. Nearly 600 remain missing in Laos.

Since the end of the war, thousands of reports have been received that
indicate Americans were left behind in Southeast Asia and remain there,
captive, today. Lane and Owen could be among them. It's time we brought our
men home.

Eighteen years after her father was lost, Owen's young daughter Robin,
attracted by the growing numbers of reports of Americans still alive in
captivity, made the decision to find out what happened to her father. Says
Robin, "to date no one's returned from Laos, and that's where my father
disappeared. I don't want to be quiet anymore."


ST Idaho:   Vietnam Recon Team Still MIA After 47 Years

Glen Oliver Lane and the fate of his small reconnaissance team still haunt me to this day. We never met. Our paths crossed only momentarily 47 years ago.
On May 20, 1968, me and two two other young, green Green Berets entered year four of the top-secret war that was fought during the Vietnam War. It was fought for eight years under the aegis of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam–Studies and Observations Group, or simply SOG....