The remains of a U.S. Green Beret who went missing in action during the Vietnam War nearly 47 years ago have been recovered.
The remains of Army Maj. Donald G. “Butch” Carr of San Antonio, Texas, who has was missing in action since 1971, were recently recovered and identified.
The remains of Carr of were returned to his family after DNA analysis helped identify the fallen hero, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday.
Records show Carr was assigned to Mobile Launch Team 3 with the 5th Special Forces Group when he went on a reconnaissance mission from which he failed to return. On July 6, 1971, Carr’s flight crashed during bad weather and a ground team failed to immediately locate the spot where the plane went down. Carr was declared missing in action.
SYNOPSIS: In 1971, MACV-SOG’s Command and Control North, Central and South were re-designated as Task Force Advisory Elements 1, 2 and 3, respectively. These titular changes had little initial impact on actual activities. Their missions
were still quite sensitive and highly classified. Each task force was composed of 244 Special Forces and 780 indigenous commandos, and their reconnaissance
teams remained actively engaged in cross-border intelligence collection and interdiction operations. The USARV TAG (Training Advisory Group) supported the
USARV Special Missions Advisory Group and was composed of U.S. Army Special Forces and MACV advisors. SMAG formed at Nha Trang from former personnel from B-53, the MACV Rcondo School cadre, CCN and CCS to train the South Vietnamese
Special Missions Force teams drawn from LLDB and Ranger units.
On July 6, 1971, U.S. Army Capt. Donald G. “Butch” Carr was aboard an Air Force OV10A Bronco aircraft flown by U.S. Air Force Lt. Daniel W. Thomas when the aircraft disappeared 15 miles inside Laos west of Ben Het. The aircraft had been on a visual reconnaissance mission over central Laos when it was lost. Thomas’ plane was detailed out of the 23rd Tactical Aerial Surveillance Squadron and bore the tail number of 67-14634.
The Bronco was among the aircraft most feared by the Viet Cong and NVA forces, because whenever the Bronco appeared overhead, an air strike seemed certain to follow. Although the glassed-in cabin could become uncomfortably warm, it provided splendid visibility. The two-man crew had armor protection and could use machine guns and bombs to attack, as well as rockets to mark targets for fighter bombers. This versatility enabled the plane to fly armed reconnaissance missions, in addition to serving as vehicle for forward air controllers.
At 1530 hours, Thomas radioed to the Army support facility that he was in his target area, but that he was unable to observe because of weather conditions.
This was his last known radio contact. Thomas and Carr were due to depart the area at 1700 hours, and should have radioed then. Search efforts were conducted through July 10, with no results.
A ground reconnaissance team later reported hearing an impact or explosion at 1600 hours on July 6 in their vicinity, but they did not report seeing the aircraft.
A source reported that in early July 1971, he had seen an American POW in that area. The source learned from a guard that the POW was a pilot of an OV10 that
had been downed a week prior. This information was thought to possibly correlate to either Carr or Thomas.
Carr and Thomas became two of nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos during the Vietnam War. Although Pathet Lao leaders stressed that they held
“tens of tens” of American prisoners, no American held in Laos was ever released. In America’s haste to leave Southeast Asia, it abandoned some of its
finest men. Since the end of the war, thousands of reports have been received indicating that hundreds of Americans are still held captive.
The Giant Killer book & Facebook page honors these incredible heroes trying to make sure their stories are never forgotten. God Bless our Vets!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
Story by Lucia I. Suarez