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Special Forces Sergeant

Lawrence Jesse Englander.

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Lawrence Jesse Englander was born April 19, 1943 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He joined the army in Van Nuys, California on August 4, 1964.

In 1968, Sgt. Englander was assigned to Detachment A-109 5th Special Forces Group, stationed at the Thuong Duc base camp, South Vietnam. The A-109 acted as advisor for the surrounding Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) camp. Sgt. Englander was a radio supervisor with the detachment.

The CIDG program was started in 1961 by the Central Intelligence Agency, utilizing both CIA agents and Special Forces personnel. The aim was to form a paramilitary force from the minority groups of South Vietnam. This was to broaden and strengthen the counterinsurgency efforts of the South Vietnamese government and to prevent minority groups from being influenced by communist propaganda and fighting with the Viet Cong.

Typically, the A detachment was assigned to a village. A fence was built around the village and underground shelters made for the children and women. Villagers received medical and military training. The strike force raised countered problems in the area of the village and patrolled to disrupt local Viet Cong in their bases. South Vietnamese Special Forces, Luc Long Dac Biet (LLDB), also worked with the A detachments.

Sgt. Lawrence Jesse Englander is listed on
54E, line 05 of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial
Wall in Washington D.C.
photo courtesy of
Operation Just Cause
and Sue Morin

What Happened May 2, 1968

Sgt. Lawrence Englander was an advisor on a CIDG heliborne assault operation conducted southwest of Thuong Duc Special Forces Camp. His unit came under intense automatic weapons fire from fortified North Vietnamese Army positions 8 miles from the camp. Sgt. Englander was last heard from on the radio by Sgt. John M. Vincent, stating that he was wounded in the foot and arm and pinned down in an open field behind a dead Vietnamese radio operator. He refused help because he claimed to be "zeroed in", that any movement would bring heavy fire, and that he would try to crawl back to friendly lines.

Sgt. Englander's plan was to move back to the reserve  to lead them to the forward element. While moving to the rear, Sgt. Englander was again hit by enemy fire. LLDB Lieutenant Ho Tang Dzu stated that he saw him hit by machine gun fire in the back and head, but attempts to reach him failed and the battlefield was abandoned. He felt that the hits Sgt. Englander took were probably fatal.

When sweeps of the area were conducted later, no trace of Sgt. Englander was found. No one else was missing in the incident. While it was common for the Vietnamese to bury American casualties and carefully conceal the graves, the possibility also exists that Sgt. Englander survived to be captured. He was classified Missing In Action.

Loss Coordinates: 1054559N 1075019E

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Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews, websites, from the P.O.W. NETWORK.
U.S. Army Special Forces in Southeast Asia, 1956-1975, Green Berets at War by Shelby L. Stanton

Please visit our links for additional background information on Sgt. Englander, Special Forces, and Detachment A-109 in South Vietnam.
~ glencat1969
(complete e-mail address below)


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