David Arthur Davidson
SSG Davidson, team leader and SGT Gassman, assistant team leader, two members of RT Fer De Lance (CCN) who were KIA (BNR) on October 5, 1970. Their recon team was inserted into the extremely rugged and isolated jungle-covered mountains approximately 70 miles west-southwest of Da Nang, and 12 miles west of the Lao/South Vietnamese border, Salavan Province, Laos.
The patrol had established their night position on a ridge south of Route 922, west of Ta Bat and 10 miles west of the infamous A Shau Valley when they were attacked by an enemy force of unknown size. According to the two surviving indigenous team members, in the ensuing fire fight SSG Davidson was hit once in the head during a burst of enemy fire from an automatic weapon while the team was attempting to evacuate the area. He fell down the ridge, and lay motionless with what appeared to be a fatal head wound. David “Babysan” Davidson was on his third year with SOG.
At about 1300 hours, SGT Gassman radioed the onsite Forward Air Controller (FAC) that NVA were advancing toward their position from three sides. Further, he stated they were low on ammunition and requested an emergency extraction along with air strikes. Fred Gassman then attempted to retrieve the team’s homing device. During his last radio contact he stated, “I’ve been hit, and in the worst way,” followed by several groans before the radio went dead. The surviving indigenous patrol members, who were successfully extracted, reported they last saw Fred Gassman lying motionless with a large hole in his back. One search and recovery (SAR) attempt was made shortly after the incident, however, no trace of either missing American could be found. Further search attempts were curtailed due to enemy forces in the area and the difficult tactical situation. David Davidson and Fred Gassman were immediately listed as Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.