Thursday, June 25, 2020

Major James Capers: Marine Recon Legend...Mr. President get this man a well deserved Medal Of Honor!

In 1966, Capers’s team, which called themselves “Team Broadminded” conducted more than 50 classified missions in Vietnam. Some of them sound like a Hollywood action film; among them, a Top Secret recovery operation. Its purpose was to recover the contents and pilot remains from a USAF B-57 Bomber that had crashed in enemy territory. The plane is rumored to have highly sensitive materials that included a nuclear bomb. The five-day mission was successful and the Top Secret materials were recovered. 
Another mission was “Operation Doubletalk.” Capers and a 12-man team was tasked to go deep into Viet Cong territory and rescue four Americans, two Australians, and 26 South Vietnamese allies that were being held prisoner in a jungle POW camp. The CIA provided intelligence and the mission was personally approved by President Johnson.

But what transpired was much like what would happen to U.S. Green Berets in Son Tay about 10 miles outside of Hanoi four years later. The captors had moved the prisoners before the raid. “Our intelligence was bad back in those days,” Capers said sadly.

“I thought we had a good shot at it,” Capers added. “We had a pretty good battle at the camp, we had to fight our way out. We destroyed the prison, killed all the guards, and they were pursued by popular forces all the way to the LZ.”

“It was a difficult time for us,” he said. “Psychologically, we worked so hard to prepare for the mission and we had a Chieu Hoi, (a South Vietnamese VC) who came over to the South Vietnamese government and personally knew where the camp was and led us there.”

The problem for the team was getting back to the LZ. Capers held off the enemy while his men were boarding the choppers and finally, he too was picked up. “It wasn’t about heroism,” he pointed out. “It was just doing your job and making sure we didn’t leave anybody behind.”

“I was the last man on the chopper and got my first Purple Heart and my first Bronze Star on that mission. I was being lifted up by the hoist, about 70 feet off the ground, and I got hit just before they were able to pull me into the chopper.”

Capers’ team, the small 3rd Force Recon detachment, was soon assigned another mission. This one would take them to Phu Loc. Their mission was to locate a large Viet Cong base camp. Capers’ 10-man team had a dog named King with them on the mission.

After some sporadic fighting on the first day, the unit ran into large concentrations of enemy forces. On the second day, his team accounted for 22 kills. While trying to call in artillery fire and F-4 Phantom airstrikes on a hill, the Viet Cong sprang an ambush.

His men were getting wounded and the team set out Claymore mines to keep the enemy at bay. The enemy had been reinforced by NVA (North Vietnamese regular forces), but Capers’ team managed to drive him back. All of his men were wounded. King was killed. Capers was wounded 13 times; his leg was broken.  
Story here. 

I knew about Major Capers but alot of it I DIDN'T know.  Definitely need to read up on the guy.  He did some wild and wooly stuff.

Medal of Honor?  Yeah.  Get it done Mr. President!

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