PADGETT, SAMUEL JOSEPH Name: Samuel Joseph Padgett Rank/Branch: E7/US Army Special Forces Unit: C & C Detachment, MACV-SOG Date of Birth: 10 April 1937 Home City of Record: Tulsa OK Date of Loss: 10 April 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 152636N 1074835E (ZC015092) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH34 Refno: 1125 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 1990 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 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: 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. SFC Samuel J. Padgett was assigned to Command and Control Detachment, MACV-SOG in Vietnam. On his thirty-first birthday, Padgett, SFC Aubrey A. Bryant, SFC Crecencio Cardosa, and SFC Charles E. Wilcox Jr. were passengers aboard a CH34 helicopter with an indigenous crew flying from Da Nang to Kham Duc, South Vietnam. During the flight, the helicopter lost power, crashed and burned. A rescue team was dispatched to the crash site immediately, and the rescue team saw bodies in the burning aircraft, but the bodies could not be extracted at that time because of the extreme heat of the fire. When the wreckage had cooled so that the remains could be removed, they were taken to Da Nang mortuary for positive identification. At Da Nang, three American remains were identified by matching dental records. SFC Padgett's remains had not been recovered. A thorough search of the area around the crash site was conducted on the day of the crash and again on April 12. The second search, unsuccessful, was conducted by two platoons. Although the chances that Padgett escaped the aircraft seem slim, no remains were returned that can be attributed to him. Therefore, a possible escape must be considered. However, since the helicopter did not fall to enemy fire, but to malfunction of some sort, Padgett would probably have been detected in the area by searchers, even if he had been wounded or disoriented. Witnesses to the crash did not believe anyone survived the intense fire following the crash of the helicopter. Therefore, Samuel J. Padgett was listed as killed, body not recovered. He is among nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. The cases of some, like Padgett's, seem clear - that they perished and cannot be recovered. Unfortunately, mounting evidence indicates that hundreds of Americans are still captive, waiting for the country they proudly served to secure their freedom. In our haste to leave an unpopular war, it now appears we abandoned some of our best men. In our haste to heal the wounds of this same war, will we sign their death warrants? Or will we do what we can to bring them home?