Washington County, MO Serviceman Killed in Action - Vietnam
On Eternal Patrol -
29 Jul 1966. Delmar Lee Laws, SFC E-7, Mineral Point, Missouri and Don Rue Sain SP/4, USASF, FOB 1, Phu Bai, MACSOG Op 35 and Two Army of Vietnam (ARVN) soldiers, name and ranks unknown were on a recon mission. SFC Laws was listed as MIA and SP4 Sain and the two Vietnamese KIA-RR. A team of 3 Americans and 7 ARVN, conducting a recon in the area Southwest of Khe Shan in Laos. The team had stopped at a small stream as they were climbing down the back slope of Co Roc Mountain, where SFC Laws was last seen crouched, signaling to the team leader, reporting he had heard something to his rear. Immediately the team came under fire from the rear and flank positions by automatic weapons by an estimated company size NVA unit. Two Vietnamese and SP/4 Sain were immediately KIA. As the team rallied, SFC Laws was unaccounted for. The team then moved to evade the enemy. SFC Laws was not seen hit nor was he seen again. Upon a recovery mission, the remains of the two Vietnamese and SP/4 Sain along with a leg which was later identified as belong to SFC Laws were recovered (Sain's body had been crudely booby-trapped with a hand grenade). The recovery team reports, anyone caught in the killing zone died instantly. Laws is presumed to have died due to the massive bleeding produced from the severed femoral artery would have produced death within minutes without the immediate services of a medically trained surgeon.
On 8 November 1944 a submarine wolfpack, headed by USS GROWLER (SS 215) (CDR Thomas Benjamin Oakley, Jr.) closed a Japanese convoy for attack, with GROWLER on the opposite side of the enemy from USS HAKE (SS 256) and USS HARDHEAD (SS 365). The order to commence attacking was the last communication ever received from GROWLER. After the attack was underway, HAKE and HARDHEAD heard what sounded like a torpedo explosion and then a series of depth charges on GROWLER's side of the convoy, and then nothing. All efforts to contact GROWLER for the next 3 days proved futile and the gallant submarine, veteran of seven successful war patrols, was listed as lost in action against the enemy, cause unknown.
GROWLER is possibly sunk by the Japanese destroyer SHIGURE, the Japanese frigate CHIBURI and the Japanese corvette KAIBOKAN No. 19 off Mindoro, Philippines.
GROWLER's crew included Fireman First Class Charles Fredrick Nixon of Hopewell, Missouri. A marker in his honor is in Hopewell Cemetery.
Back to main page
For comments or suggestions regarding the page, e-mail Larry G. Flesher.