David Ives Mixter
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Special Forces (5th Group)
Unit: Company A, Command & Control Central, MACV-SOG
Date of Birth: 22 January 1949 (New York NY)
Home City of Record: Darien CT
Date of Loss: 29 January 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 143726N 1072554E (YB619180)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
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 2020.
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
SYNOPSIS: Sgt. David I. Mixter was a rifleman assigned from 5th Special Forces Group through Special Operations Augmentation to Command & Control Central, MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group). MACV-SOG was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly 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 January 29, 1971, Sgt. Mixter was part of a long range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) on a mission in Attopeu Province, Laos. The unit was operating near what is known as the “Parrot’s Beak” area of Cambodia, where Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam borders meet. At 1400 hours that day, Mixter’s team made contact with an enemy force. B40 rocket propelled grenades were fired at the team, one of which exploded directly in front of Sgt. Mixter. When he was checked by the team leader, Sgt. Mixter’s chest was covered with blood, and he did not respond at all.
Sgt. Mixter was thought to be dead, and had to be left behind in the rush to break contact with enemy troops. The remainder of the team was ultimately extracted. Searches the next day produced some of Mixter’s possessions, but he had vanished.
For every insertion like Mixter’s that was 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.
The missions Mixter and others were assigned were exceedingly dangerous and of strategic importance. The men who were put into such situations knew the chances of their recovery if captured was slim to none.