Thomas Dale CulpCaptain
DET A-401 (4TH MSFC), D CO, 5TH SFG, USARV
Army of the United States
11 March 1939 - 11 September 1967
Canal Fulton, Ohio
Panel 26E Line 055
At West Point
The database page for Thomas Dale Culp
There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you. I'd like you to know that you have made us proud.
Love from your son,
I want you to know on the anniversary of your death in the year 2001 the Country has renewed its interest in the same principles you fought for in 1967: Duty, Honor, Country.
I am proud of your service and commitment to our country.
God bless America!
With love, your son,
A Note from The Virtual WallThe general terrain and considerable flooding during the monsoon seasons encouraged the use of small craft in patrolling the Mekong Delta areas all the way up to the Cambodian border. Army Special Forces units, working with the Navy, developed an ability to use "air boats" for this purpose, and by early 1967 the 4th Mobile Strike Force Company at Detachment 401 (Don Phuc) was able to deploy the boats and troops in sections of 6 boats.
In early September 1967 two sections of boats, and the necessary 4th MSFC troops (indigents trained and led by the Special Forces soldiers), deployed from Don Phuc to a forward operating base with Detachment A-426 at Thuong Thoi.
At 0830, 11 Sep 1967, six airboats departed Thuong Thoi on a reconnaissance mission up-river with each boat carrying four Mike Force soldiers. The recon force was commanded by Captain Thomas A. Culp in Boat 3, with MSgt Robert A. Anspach in Boat 1 and MSgt James W. Lewis bringing up the rear in Boat 6. As the boats entered the Mekong River at the Cambodian border they were taken under heavy fire from fortified positions on both river banks. MSgt Anspach was killed at once and the other two Americans wounded shortly thereafter. Rather than run the gauntlet, the boats attempted to circle back - an act that kept them in the killing zone. In less than two minutes, Boat 2 had been sunk, Boats 1 and 5 were captured, Boats 4 and 6 immobilized - only Boat 3 was still in operation, and by this time Captain Culp had been hit again and killed. MSgt Lewis, in the immobilized Boat 6, maintained radio contact with base until he passed out.
The second boat section was underway immediately, was able to link up with Boat 3, and under cover of air support was able to re-enter the killing zone. Boat 5 and the bunkers on the Vietnam side were destroyed by air strikes; Boats 2, 4, and 6 were recovered; and the surviving members of the first section retrieved. When the dust settled, only Boat 1 and MSgt Anspach's body were unaccounted for.
MSgt Anspach was classed as Killed in Action/Body not Recovered. His remains have not been repatriated.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
Bob and Tom Culp
30 Mar 2001
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 06/18/2004