Two SF Recon Teams operating 10 miles apart in Laos call out “Prairie Fire” as they are ambushed and outnumbered. One of them is holding their own. The other is running for their lives. If you dare, listen to a recording of the actual communications during this event.
35 minutes of actual communications during the ambush and withdrawal from the battlefield – all provided by William from his YouTube page. Parts are difficult to understand and listeners may have to adjust / tweek your controls to hear more clearly. WARNING: These videos may not be appropriate for veterans who might suffer flashbacks or become upset by listening to the sounds and commentary of actual combat. If so, STOP HERE.
This is a three-part recording of two Recon Teams (RT’s) who are in dire straits. Both RT’s are losing a battle whereby death is imminent. Those RT’s are:
- RT Colorado with Pat Mitchel being the 1-0, Lyn St. Laurent as the 1-1, and David “Lurch” Mixter as the 1-3. RT Colorado is an eight-man team including the five Indigenous troops.
- RT Hawaii with Les Dover as the 1-0, Regis Gmitter the 1-1, and John Justice the 1-2 (I believe this to be the case with this recon team as far as who was what on the team through natural progression of skills learned in combat.) May not be accurate though, reader and listener take note. Also, it is unknown to me how many Indigenous Troops made up RT Hawaii at that time.
RT Colorado is the team that is running for its life.
RT Hawaii is holding their own.
Both RT’s have called out a “Prairie Fire” in Laos near the Ho Chi Minh Trail and are approximately 10 miles apart as the crow flies. Prairie Fire was an operation which sent MACVSOG units (Green Beret) into Laos. It was conducted in conjunction with the Marine Operation known as Dewey Canyon in the A Shau Valley south of Fire Base Vandergrift and south of the Rock Pile and Camp Carroll. An emergency call of Prairie Fire made from this area authorized all available air, sea and ground units to respond. All air units were authorized and expected to respond.
Colorado has just been hit by a North Vietnamese platoon of 40 men who desire no more than to wipe out this team completely off the face of the Earth. During this Prairie Fire, David Mixter is killed when he saves Mitchel’s life by shoving him to one side and exchanging fire with an NVA armed with an RPG. Mixter and the NVA exchange fire immediately. The NVA fires his RPG as Mixter fires his weapon. The RPG hits Mixter in the knee area and kills him instantly as the NVA drops dead by Mixter’s return Fire. Here’s a list of call signs for those included in the tape:
- Plasticman John Plaster’s personal call sign while on RT 2
- White Lead Huey in charge of flying the rescue mission
- Delta Papa Three John Plaster’s call sign while flying as Covey Rider in Bronco
- Tango Papa Pat Mitchels call sign as 1-0
- Panthers AH-1G Cobras. Also known as “Cobra”
- Kingbees H-34 Helicopters usually flown by Vietnamese pilots
- Bravo Hotel Ben Het SF camp
- Delta Tango FOB at Dak To
- Foxtrot Mike FM radio frequency
- Victor VHF radio frequency
- Uniform UHF radio frequency
- Straw Hat/Type Code name for American personnel on a RT
- Kilo November Known North. Position is “Kilo November”
- Lurch David Mixter’s personnel call sign
- Winchester Air assets that are out of ordnance.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Should you have a question or comment about this article, then scroll down to the comment section below to leave your response.
If you want to learn more about the Vietnam War and its Warriors, then subscribe to this blog and get notified by email or your feed reader every time a new story, picture, video or changes occur on this website – the button is located at the top right of this page.
I‘ve also created a poll to help identify my website audience – before leaving, can you please click HERE and choose the one item best describing you. Thank you in advance!
John, thanks for the warning. Yes, even after all these years, this was hard to listen too. I was a helicopter pilot in Nam. I didn’t have to go through what you guys on the ground experienced, but many was the time you would call for assistance and for any number of reasons, no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn’t get in or didn’t get there in time. It hurt. It hurt a lot – it still does. Welcome home everyone. Welcome home.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for being there and trying…!
I can’t believe that I can still remember our call sign from operation junction city from Black Virgin Mtn , it was bogey stress.