Andrew Thomas Brassfield
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army Special Forces
Unit: CCN/MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 04 February 1937 (St. Louis MO)
Home City of Record: Sylvania OH
Date of Loss: 06 April 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161932N 1065123E (XD983057)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled 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 2017.
SYNOPSIS: SSgt. Andrew T. Brassfield was assigned to MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group). MACV-SOG was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged inhighly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (although it was not a Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their “cover” while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, “Shining Brass” or “Prairie Fire” missions.
On April 6, 1970, SSgt. Brassfield was operating in Laos with a team known as Reconnaissance Team Missouri on an intelligence gathering mission. The team was operating about 5 miles inside Laos east of Muong Nong in Savannakhet Province.
As the team stopped for a rest, it came under heavy enemy fire. In attempting to gain better cover, Brassfield was fatally wounded. The
remaining team members were unable to recover his body because they had all been injured and were unable to carry him while trying to break contact with the enemy. Brassfield was never found.
For every insertion like Brassfield’s that were detected and stopped, dozens of other commando teams safely slipped past NVA lines to strike a wide range of targets and collect vital information. The number of MACV-SOG missions conducted with Special Forces reconnaissance teams into Laos and Cambodia was 452 in 1969. It was the most sustained American campaign of raiding, sabotage and intelligence-gathering waged on foreign soil in U.S. military history. MACV-SOG’s teams earned a global reputation as one of the most
combat effective deep-penetration forces ever raised.