Name: Kenneth Wallingford
Rank/Branch: E8/US Army
Unit: Advisor, Advisory Team 70, MACV
Date of Birth: 1948
Home City of Record: Houston TX
Date of Loss: 07 April 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 114338N 1063502E (XU731081)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel In Incident: Howard B. Lull, Richard S. Schott (both
missing); Mark A. Smith; Albert E. Carlson; (POWs held in Cambodia and
released in 1973)
REMARKS: RELEASED BY PRG 730212
Source: Compiled by HOMECOMING II and the P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
SYNOPSIS: On April 5, 1972, the 5th North Vietnamese Division suddenly
smashed against the Loc Ninh district capitol before dawn, attacking as no
enemy had yet attacked in that war. The Communist troops had Russian T-54
and PT-76 tanks, artillery and a conventional battle plan.
American forces in the area battled for two days before being overrun. On
April 7, 1972, Maj. Albert E. Carlson; MSgt. Howard B. Lull; LtCol. Richard
Schott; Capt. Mark A. Smith; and SFC Kenneth Wallingford were five advisors
on Advisory Team 70, MACV, at Loc Ninh when the city was completely overrun.
Radio contact was maintained until approximately 0800 hours, when the
tactical operations center began burning. Later in the day, one of the
advisors radioed that they were going into hiding, taking their radios with
After the incident, South Vietnamese Army personnel reported intercepting an
enemy radio broadcast which stated that three United States advisors had
been captured. Subsequent information received through intelligence sources
reported that five Americans were taken prisoner. This report indicated that
four of the prisoners had been taken to a temporary PW camp and one to an
The Vietnamese captured Smith, Wallingford and Carlson whom they held in
Cambodia for the remaining 10 months. On June 28, 1972, the U.S. Casualty
division changed their status from missing to captured. The three were
released at Loc Ninh in the general POW release in 1973.
Although most details of this incident are still classified, Capt. Smith
indicated in his debriefing that he, Lull and Schott had been together in a
bunker shortly before he was captured. Lull left the bunker to evade
capture, while the severely wounded Schott knew he would not survive, and
lifted his own weapon to his head and shot himself to give the others a
chance to escape.
Lull, if captured, was not taken to the same prison camps as were Smith,
Carlson and Wallingford. Some reports say that he was killed by the North
Vietnamese, but the U.S. continued his status as Missing In Action pending
verification of death. Schott was carried as Missing until Capt. Smith's
debrief, at which time his status was changed to Killed in Action.
Since his return, Mark Smith has had a growing concern about Americans left
behind in Southeast Asia. Smith remained in the Army Special Forces, and
ultimately was promoted to the rank of major. In 1985, Smith and SFC Melvin
McIntyre brought suit against the U.S. Government for failing to comply with
U.S. law in securing the freedom of American POWs in Southeast Asia. The two
had been on a special assignment in Thailand, and had gathered substantial
evidence that American POWs were still being held. Further, Smith and
McIntyre claimed that this information, passed on to higher authority, had
been "deep-sixed" and there had been no attempt or intent to act upon it.
Mark Smith, like many close to the POW/MIA issue, feels that his government
has let the men down who proudly served their country. A patriot still,
Smith has spent the years since filing the lawsuit in Thailand, in further
attempts to secure the freedom of men who were left behind.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR
Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St.,
Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original
publication (including date and spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
Sergeant - United States Army
Captured: April 7, 1972
Released: February 12, 1973
My name is Ken Wallingford, Sergeant, United States Army. I was born in
Munich, Germany on April 19, 1948. Having been reared in the military
service I have traveled quite a bit during my twenty-five years of life. I
enlisted in the Army in September 1969 and received basic and advanced
training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Afterwards, I went to Fort Benning,
Georgia, where I received paratrooper training, and then on to Fort Bragg,
North Carolina for Special Forces training. I went to Vietnam in August 1970
and spent eight months with the 25th Infantry Division as a sniper. l then
transferred to a MACV (Military Assistant Command Vietnam) combat advisory
team. l was stationed at Loc Ninh with four other Americans and about 200
ARVN soldiers when the city came under attack by 30,000 enemy troops on
April 5, 1972. The city fell two days later; during this time I was wounded
seventeen times. We were able to hide from the enemy for one day before
being discovered and captured just six days before I was to be discharged
from the Army.
I spent ten months as a POW chained to a cage by a ten foot chain in the
deep jungles of Cambodia. I was part of the 27 man group that was released
in the South on February 12, 1973. I was fortunate to have been captured
late in the war and spent a very short time imprisoned in comparison to some
who were over there eight and nine years. I was able to withstand my ordeal
with the help of God and faith in you, the American people.
I wish to thank each and every one of you who stood behind us and never gave
up hope or ceased your prayers that some day we might return home to our
families and loved ones. I would also like to thank everyone who wore a POW
bracelet with my name engraved on it. This meant so much to me because it
told me you cared. I wish that the 56,000 plus men who gave their lives for
a cause could have the same opportunity that God has given me.
After my discharge in June 1973, I will become a bank officer in Austin,
Texas, which is my adopted state.
I hope that you will not forget about the MIAs who are still over there. God
bless you as He has me.
Ken and his wife Kay reside in Texas.
April 28, 2016
Austin veteran remembers time as POW in Vietnam War