Michael Thomas MahoneySpecialist Five
FOB 3 (KHE SANH), MACV-SOG, 5TH SF GROUP, 5TH SF GRP
Army of the United States
18 October 1945 - 29 January 1968
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The database page for Michael Thomas Mahoney
I was a Marine who served as a volunteer on the Special Forces team sent out from FOB 3 (at Khe Sanh combat base) to recover KIA and MIA personnel from MSG Bill Wood's team which was ambushed on Hill 471 on 29 January 1968. Tommy had been a volunteer on that team. He was wounded in the leg during the ambush, and the team was split. He was last seen alive on the hill trying to evade the enemy and get back to the FOB.
Our recovery team encountered a greatly superior force of NVA, and suffered several KIA and WIA, eventually being forced to retire from the hill without recovering the men we set out for, although we were able to bring off our own casualties. Tommy was listed as MIA.
In April 1968, after the siege was lifted, Marines found Tommy's remains on Hill 471. We remain uncertain of exactly how or when he died, but it is likely that he died from the wound(s) received earlier, and/or further enemy fire.
I regret that we were unable to recover or rescue Tommy and the other men on his team.
I have finally contacted his surviving family, and been able to inform them of what I knew, and convey my deepest respects and condolences to them for their loss. I did not know Tommy personally as we were in different units, but from all accounts, he was a fine, caring young man who left a safe assignment to volunteer for duty in Vietnam, and had volunteered for duty the day he was slain. Unfortunately, in the words of the ancient Greeks, "War is not sparing of the brave, but of cowards." Tommy was obviously no coward, and was trying to the last to carry on. I deeply regret the loss to his family and country.
F. J. Taylor
A Note from The Virtual WallThe three Americans who died on the east side of Hill 471, 3 kilometers south-southwest of Khe Sanh airfield, were
Long after the action on Hill 471 Mr. Taylor edited a
summary of the action on Hill 471.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 24 Nov 2007
Last updated 08/10/2009