Name: James Leslie Moreland
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Company C, Detachment A-101, 12th Mobile 
Strike Force, 5th Special Forces
Date of Birth: 29 September 1945 (Bessemer AL)
Home City of Record: Anaheim CA,
        Joined Service October 1, 1965
        Started Vietnam tour Oct 1, 1967
Loss Date: 07 February 1968
        Parents notified of MIA status 13FEB68
        On 23 FEB 68 a recommendation was made 
that his status be changed to KIA.
        Parent's notified their Son is not on the 
list of POWs from Paris
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163602N 1064058E (XD795360)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 1
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 1040
Note: All County Running Back, class of 
1963, Western High School, Anaheim,
CA. Attended Fullerton Junior College, Fullerton 
CA for 2 years. (1964-1965 school years) 
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 
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 in
1998 with information from B. Jacobs.
Personnel In Incident: Dennis L. Thompson; 
William G. McMurry; Harvey G.
Brande; (all released 1973). Kenneth Hanna; 
Daniel R. Phillips; James W.
Holt; James Moreland; Charles Lindewald; (all 
missing); Eugene Ashley Jr.
Prior Military Assignments:
01 OCT 65 - 26 NOV 65, Co D, 4th Bn, 1st Tng 
Bde, Ft Polk, LA: Trainee
11 DEC 65 - 03 FEB 66, Co A, 2d Bn, 3rd Bde, Ft 
Jackson, SC; AIT
04 FEB 66 - 01 MAR 66, 45th Co, 4th Stu Bn, TSB, 
Ft Benning, GA; Basic Abn Tng
02 MAR 66 - 17 JUL 66, Co B, USA, SFTG (Abn), Ft 
Bragg, NC; Med Spec
18 JUL 66 - 09 SEP 66, Co I, USA, SFTG (Abn), Ft 
Bragg, NC; Med Spec
17 OCT 66 - 20 NOV 66, Hl MFSS (3410-02) BAMC, Ft 
Sam Houston, TX; Special
Forces Aidman
21 NOV 66 - 20 JAN 67, SF, USAFG, Ft Bragg, NC, 
atch USAH, Ft Rucker, AL;
Medical Corps Tng
22 JAN 67 - 19 MAY 67, Co D, USAF SFTG (Abn), Ft 
Bragg, NC; Med Spec (SF)
04 JUL 67 - 07 FEB 68, Co C, 5th SFG (Abn), 1st 
SF (atch); Med Spec
SYNOPSIS: The Lang Vei Special Forces camp 
in the northwestern corner of
South Vietnam along Route 9, a mile and a half 
from the Laotian border.had
been established in late December 1966 as a 
result of the Special Forces
Detachment A101 having been moved out of its 
former Khe Sanh location. It
seemed ill fated from the Gning.
In March 1967, one of the worst tragedies to 
befall the Special Forces CIDG
program during the war occurred. U.S. Air Force 
released napalm ordnance on
the nearby village which spewed exploding fire 
over the camp, landing zone,
minefield and village. 135 CIDG and native 
civilians were killed, and 213
were horribly wounded, burned or 
Only two months later, on May 4, a Viet Cong 
night attack on the camp wiped
out the Special Forces command group, all in one 
bunker, and killed the
detachment commander and his executive officer, 
as well as seriously
wounding the team sergeant. This attack was a 
prelude to the larger siege of
Khe Sanh, and was a grim reminder of the 
dangerous neighborhood Special
Forces had moved into.
By January 1968, several North Vietnamese 
Army divisions had encircled the
Marine combat base at Khe Sanh, placing the more 
westerly Lang Vei Special
Forces frontier surveillance camp in imminent 
danger. The camp was occupied
by Detachment A101 commanded by Capt. Frank C. 
Willoughby. Willoughby was
rebuilding and reinforcing the camp at the time, 
while soldiers and
dependants from the Kha tribal 33rd Laotian 
Volunteer Battalion streamed
into the camp after being overrun by NVA tanks 
across the border.
On the evening of January 24, the camp was 
pounded by mortars in conjunction
with a heavy shelling of the Marine Khe Sanh 
base, which prevented any
effective artillery support for Lang Vei. 1Lt. 
Paul R. Longgrear had only
recently arrived with his Hre tribal 12th Mobile 
Strike Force Company to
help shore up defensive firepower.
The influx of the Laotians caused some 
problems. For example, the Lao
battalion commander refused to take orders from 
the American captain,
forcing the Company C commander, LtCol. Daniel F. 
Schungel, to come to Lang
Vei on his first Special Forces assignment on 
February 6 to provide an
officer of equal rank.
Camp strength on February 6 totalled 24 
Special Forces, 14 LLDB, 161 mobile
strike force, 282 CIDG (Bru and Vietnamese), 6 
interpreters and 520 Laotian
soldiers, plus a number of civilians.
Shortly after midnight on February 7, 1968, 
a combined NVA infantry-tank
assault drove into Lang Vei. Two PT-76 tanks 
threatened the outer perimeter
of the camp as infantry rushed behind them. SFC 
James W. Holt destroyed both
tanks with shots from his 106mm recoilless rifle. 
More tanks came around the
burning hulks of the first two tanks and began to 
roll over the 104th CIDG
Company's defensive positions. SSgt. Peter 
Tiroch, the assistant
intelligence sergeant, ran over to Holt's 
position and helped load the
weapon. Holt quickly lined up a third tank in his 
sights and destroyed it
with a direct hit. After a second shot at the 
tank, Holt and Tiroch left the
weapons pit just before it was demolished by 
return cannon fire. Tiroch
watched Holt run over to the ammunition bunker to 
look for some hand-held
Light Anti-tank Weapons (LAWs). It was the last 
time Holt was ever seen.
LtCol. Schungel, 1Lt. Longgrear, SSgt. 
Arthur Brooks, Sgt. Nikolas Fragos,
SP4 William G. McMurry, Jr., and LLDB Lt. Quy 
desperately tried to stop the
tanks with LAWs and grenades. They even climbed 
on the plated engine decks,
trying to pry open hatches to blast out the 
crews. NVA infantrymen followed
the vehicles closely, dusting their sides with 
automatic rifle fire. One
tank was stopped by five direct hits, and the 
crew killed as they tried to
abandon the vehicle. 1Lt. Miles R. Wilkins, the 
detachment executive
officer, left the mortar pit with several LAWs 
and fought a running
engagement with one tank beside the team house 
without much success.
Along the outer perimeters, the mobile 
strike force outpost was receiving
fire. Both Kenneth Hanna, a heavy weapons 
specialist, and Charles W.
Lindewald, 12th Mobile Strike Force platoon 
leader, were wounded. Hanna,
wounded in the scalp, left shoulder and arm tried 
to administer first aid to
Lindewald. The two were last seen just before 
their position was overrun.
Harvey Brande spoke with them by radio and Hanna 
indicated that Lindewald
was then dead, and that he himself was badly 
wounded. Daniel R. Phillips, a
demolitions specialist, was wounded in the face 
and was last seen trying to
evade North Vietnamese armor by going through the 
northern perimeter wire. .
NVA sappers armed with satchel charges, tear gas 
grenades and flamethrowers
fought through the 101st, 102nd and 103rd CIDG 
perimeter trenches and
captured both ends of the compound by 2:30 a.m. 
Spearheaded by tanks, they
stormed the inner compound. LtCol. Schungel and 
his tank-killer personnel
moved back to the command bunker for more LAWs. 
They were pinned behind a
row of dirt and rock filled drums by a tank that 
had just destroyed one of
the mortar pits. A LAW was fired against the tank 
with no effect. The cannon
swung around and blasted the barrels in front of 
the bunker entrance. The
explosion temporarily blinded McMurry and mangled 
his hands, pitched a heavy
drum on top of Lt. Wilkins and knocked Schungel 
flat. Lt. Quy managed to
escape to another section of the camp, but the 
approach of yet another tank
prevented Schungel and Wilkins from following. At 
some point during this
period, McMurry, a radioman, disappeared.
The tank, which was shooting at the camp 
observation post, was destroyed
with a LAW. Schungel helped Wilkins over to the 
team house, where he left
both doors ajar and watched for approaching NVA 
soldiers. Wilkins was
incapacitated and weaponless, and Schungel had 
only two grenades and two
magazines of ammunition left. He used one 
magazine to kill a closely huddled
five-man sapper squad coming toward the building. 
He fed his last magazine
into his rifle as the team house was rocked with 
explosions and bullets. The
two limped over to the dispensary, which was 
occupied by NVA soldiers, and
hid underneath it, behind a wall of 
At some point, Brande, Thompson and at least 
one Vietnamese interpreter were
captured by the North Vietnamese. Thompson was 
uninjured, but Brande had
taken shrapnel in his leg. Brande and Thompson 
were held separately for a
week, then rejoined in Laos. Joined with them was 
McMurry, who had also been
captured from the camp. The three were moved up 
the Ho Chi Minh trail to
North Vietnam and held until 1973. The U.S. did 
not immediately realize they
had been captured, and carried them in Missing in 
Action status thoughout
the rest of the war, although Brande's photo was 
positively identified by a
defector in April 1969 as being a Prisoner of 
War. A Vietnamese interpreter
captured from the camp told Brande later that he 
had seen both Lindewald and
Hanna, and that they both were dead.
Several personnel, including Capt. 
Willoughby, SP4 James L. Moreland, the
medic for the mobile strike force, and Lt. Quan, 
the LLDB camp commander,
were trapped in the underground level of the 
command bunker. Lt. Longgrear
had also retreated to the command bunker. Satchel 
charges, thermite grenades
and gas grenades were shoved down the bunker air 
vents, and breathing was
very difficult. Some soldiers had gas masks, but 
others had only
handkerchiefs or gauze from their first aid 
The NVA announced they were going to blow up 
the bunker, and the LLDB
personnel walked up the stairs to surrender, and 
were summarily executed. At
dawn, two large charges were put down the vent 
shaft and detonated,
partially demolishing the north wall and creating 
a large hole through which
grenades were pitched. The bunker defenders used 
upturned furniture and
debris to shield themselves. Willoughby was badly 
wounded by grenade
fragments and passed out at 8:30 a.m. Moreland 
had been wounded and became
delirious after receiving a head injury in the 
final bunker explosion.
Incredibly, the battle was still going on in 
other parts of the camp.
        Even in her grief, Les Moreland's 
mother wanted to thank a soldier
        who had aided him.
        THE ARMY TO The Moreland 
        "I regret that I cannot provide 
you the name and address of the
        individual who aided your son at Lang 
Vei.  It is Department of the
        Army policy not to release the names of 
other personnel involved in
        military actions.  I have, however, 
forwarded a copy of your letter
        to the individual so that he will know of 
your appreciation of his
        efforts to help your son."  -- 
Kenneth G. Wickham, Major General,
        "According to the statements of 
those who were with your son, he was
        critically wounded....James was given 
medication to help ease the
        pain... Kenneth G. Wickham, Major 
General, USA.
Aircraft had been strafing the ravines and 
roads since 1:00 a.m. Throughout
the battle, the Laotians refused to participate, 
saying they would attack at
first light. Sfc. Eugene Ashley, Jr., the 
intelligence sergeant, led two
assistant medical specialists, Sgt. Richard H. 
Allen and SP4 Joel Johnson as
they mustered 60 of the Laotian soldiers and 
counterattacked into Lang Vei.
The Laotians bolted when a NVA machine gun crew 
opened fire on them, forcing
the three Americans to withdraw.
Team Sfc. William T. Craig and SSgt. Tiroch 
had chased tanks throughout the
night with everything from M-79 grenade launchers 
to a .50 caliber machine
gun. After it had become apparent that the camp 
had been overrun, they
escaped outside the wire and took temporary 
refuge in a creek bed. After
daylight, they saw Ashley's counterattack force 
and joined him. The Special
Forces sergeants persuaded more defenders fleeing 
down Route 9 to assist
them and tried second, third and fourth assaults. 
Between each assault,
Ashley directed airstrikes on the NVA defensive 
line, while the other
Special Forces soldiers gathered tribal warriors 
for yet another attempt. On
the fifth counterattack, Ashley was mortally 
wounded only thirty yards from
the command bunker.
Capt. Willoughby had regained consciousness 
in the bunker about 10:00 a.m.
and established radio contact with the 
counterattacking Americans. The
continual American airstrikes had forced the 
North Vietnamese to begin
withdrawing from the camp. Col. Schungel and Lt. 
Wilkins emerged from under
the dispensary after it was vacated by the North 
Vietnamese and hobbled out
of the camp.
The personnel in the bunker also left in 
response to orders to immediately
evacuate the camp. They carried Sgt. John D. 
Early, who had been badly
wounded by shrapnel while manning the tower, but 
were forced to leave SP4
Moreland inside the bunker. 1Lt. Thomas D. Todd, 
an engineer officer in
charge of upgrading Lang Vei's airstrip, held out 
in the medical bunker
throughout the battle. That afternoon, he was the 
last American to pass
through the ruined command bunker. He saw 
Moreland, who appeared to be dead,
covered with debris.
Maj. George Quamo gathered a few dozen 
Special Forces commando volunteers
from the MACV-SOG base at Khe Sanh (FOB #3) and 
led a heroic reinforcing
mission into Lang Vei. His arrival enabled the 
Lang Vei defenders to
evacuate the area, many by Marine helicopters in 
the late afternoon.
        "Enemy troops occupied the Lang 
Vei area for several days
        afterwards. However, the base camp was 
later retaken by our forces
        A complete search has been made of the 
ruins of the area, but no
        evidence of your son's fate or 
whereabouts has been found....
        Kenneth G. Wickham, Major General, USA.
Sgt. Richard H. Allen - Survivor
Sfc Eugene Ashley, Jr. - Awarded the 
Congressional Medal of Honor for Lang
Harvey Gordon Brande - Captured - released POW in 
SSgt. Arthur Brooks - Survivor
Sfc. William T. Craig - Survivor
Sgt. John D. Early - Survivor
Sgt. Nikolas Fragos - Survivor
Kenneth Hanna - Missing In Action
James William Holt - Missing In Action
SP4 Joel Johnson - Survivor
Charles Wesley Lindewald, Jr. - Missing In Action
1Lt. Paul R. Longgrear - Survivor
SP4 William G. McMurry - Captured - released POW 
in 1973
James Leslie Moreland - Missing In Action
Daniel Raymond Phillips - Missing In Action
Maj. George Quamo - Killed in Action April 14, 
Lt. Quy - Survivor
LtCol. Daniel F. Schungel - appointed deputy 
commander of the 5th Special
Dennis L. Thompson - Captured - released POW in 
SSgt. Peter Tiroch - Survivor
1Lt. Thomas D. Todd - Survivor
1Lt. Miles R. Wilkins - Survivor
Capt. Frank C. Willoughby - Survivor

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