STRIDE, JAMES DANIEL JR.
Name: James Daniel Stride, Jr.
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Command & Control North, MACV-SOG
Date of Birth: 27 February 1933
Home City of Record: Denison TX
Date of Loss: 05 October 1968
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 155935N 1072346E (YC564695)
Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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 2020.
SYNOPSIS: MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and
Observation Group) was a joint-service 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 into Laos and Cambodia which were called, depending on the time
frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.
SSGT James D. Stride was assigned to Command and Control North, MACV-SOG in
Vietnam. On October 5, 1968, Stride was the team leader, SP4 Steven D.
Engelke, assistant platoon leader, SP4 Lynn M. Black, Jr., radio operator on
a reconnaissance patrol in Saravane Province, Laos near the border of South
Vietnam, and just about 10 miles south of A Shau. The platoon, in addition
to its Special Forces members, consisted of an unspecified number of
Upon the team's insertion into Laos, the team made contact with enemy
forces. SSGT Stride ordered the team off the landing zone in order to break
contact and to continue the mission. A hundred yards from the LZ, the team
was ambushed. In the initial burst of fire, Stride was mortally wounded. The
team recovered the body and formed a perimeter. Two hours later, the team
was forced to exfiltrate, but Stride's body was left behind. Because the
area was hostile, it was not possible to return for Stride.
For every insertion like Stride's that was detected and stopped, dozens of
other commando teams safely slipped past enemy lines to strike a wide range
of targets and collect vital information. The number of MACV-SOG missions
conducted with Special Forces teams into Laos and Cambodia was 452 in 1969.
It was the most sustained American campaign of raiding, sabotage and
intelligence gathering waged on foreign soil in U.S. military history.
MACV-SOG's teams earned a global reputation as among the most
combat-effective, forces ever raised.
The missions Stride and others were assigned were exceedingly dangerous. The
men who were put into such situations knew the chance of their recovery if
captured was slim to none. They quite naturally assumed that their freedom
would come by the end of the war. For 591 Americans, freedom did come at the
end of the war. For another 2500, however, freedom has never come.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to missing Americans in
Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S., convincing many authorities
that hundreds remain alive in captivity. What must they think of us?