William Wentworth Stubbs
|Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Special Forces
Unit: CCC, MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 06 August 1949 (Oak Harbor WA)
Home City of Record: Newport WA
Date of Loss: 20 October 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 180524N 1050000E (YB705987)
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 2002 with information from Robert Mohs. 2020
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
SYNOPSIS: SSgt. William W. Stubbs was a rifleman and a team member of a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) 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 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 October 20, 1969, Stubbs’ team was inserted into Laos just east of the Thai city of Nakhon Phanom. During the patrol, Stubbs’ team stopped for a break, and as they were starting up again, with Stubbs in the point element, they were attacked by an enemy force. In the initial sustained fire, Stubbs was seen to be hit several times in the head from close range by enemy automatic weapons fire. Three hand grenades were then thrown into his position. Because of enemy fire, other team members were unable to move up the steep slope to reach him and were forced to withdraw 5 minutes later, leaving Stubbs behind.
The following day, a recovery team was inserted at the point of contact and searched thoroughly, but no trace of Stubbs or any grave site could be found. Stubbs was listed Missing In Action.
For every insertion like Stubbs’ 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.