James Martin Luttrell
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Task Force 1 Advisory Element (assigned to Support Headquarters, USARV)
Date of Birth: 14 December 1935 (Milwaukee WI)
Home City of Record: Fayetteville NC
Date of Loss: 10 May 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 155240N 1073440E (YC756573)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
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: Lewis C. Walton; Klaus Y. Bingham (both missing)
SYNOPSIS: James Luttrell, Lewis Walton and Klaus Bingham were members of a long-range reconnaissance (LRRP) team “Asp” which was inserted into western Quang Nam Province 12 miles from Laos on May 3, 1971.
The Asp team was inserted without ground fire or radio transmission. On May 4, the area was searched by Forward Air Controllers (FAC) who neither saw nor heard anything from the team.
On May 5, two pilots flying in the area reported seeing a mirror and a panel signal 50 meters west of the LZ for about 15 minutes. The area was searched again for about 3 hours, and the FAC attempted to raise the team on radio. At 1404 hours on May 5, the FAC saw two people wearing dark green fatigues locating panel signals. Helicopters were launched at 1500 hours that day with a rescue team, but could not be inserted because of bad weather. The FAC stayed on station until 1700 hours that day, but no communication was ever established with the team.
On May 6, weather again prohibited search attempts.
On May 7, hostile fire in the area prevented the insertion of a rescue team. Poor weather prevented the insertion of a search team until May 14. The team was extracted the same day, without ever having heard or seen the patrol.
Luttrell, Walton and Bingham disappeared. The three were classified Missing In Action. They are among nearly 2400 Americans who are still missing from the Vietnam war. Experts now believe that hundreds of these men are still alive.