Burt Chauncy Small, Jr

Staff Sergeant
Army of the United States
02 September 1946 - 31 October 1977
Savannah, Georgia
Panel 16E Line 031

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Burt Chauncy Small, Jr

03 Apr 2008

I would like to set up a memorial for Burt C. Small.

I received a memorial bracelet with his name on it, and I would like to get more information about him as a soldier and a person, and about the events surrounding his fate.

Anyone with any information about Burt C. Small, please let me know.

Terry E Rabideau Jr

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Minh Long is located in the Phuoc Giang River valley about 23 kilometers south-southwest of Quang Ngai City. On the morning of 06 March 1967 a patrol from the Special Forces camp, led by SSG Jacob G. Roth and SP4 Burt C. Small, operating in the valley about 8 7 kilometers north of the Minh Long airfield was ambushed by a much larger VC force. The South Vietnamese irregulars broke under the attack and scattered. A reaction force was promptly dispatched under command of Master Sergeant Joseph Sanchez with Staff Sergeant Michael Stearns as his second-in-command. On arrival in the area they rounded up about 30 members of the original patrol and set them to securing a landing zone in preparation for reinforcements. When MSg Sanchez thought he had enough troops - about 60 men all told - the force set off area of engagement.

They had moved only about 500 meters when it too came under heavy attack. These troops held but were forced to withdraw from the killing zone. After they had pulled back a short distance, MSG Sanchez realized SSG Stearns and two Vietnamese sergeants were missing - and he went back after them. He was killed while trying to reach them.

At this point there were four missing Americans, two from the original patrol and two from the reaction force:

  • MSG Thomas J. Sanchez, Pasadena, CA (Dist Svc Cross)
  • SSG Jacob G. Roth
  • SSG Michael F. Stearns, San Francisco, CA (Silver Star)
  • SP4 Burt C. Small, Savannah, GA
C Company's Commanding Officer's recollection of events is attached to a C Co, 5th SF Group letter dated 09 Apr 1967:

SSG Roth was rescued on 06 March. On 07 March a CIDG patrol captured a Montagnard soldier who, when interrogated, acknowledged being a part of the ambush force and said that one American had been captured. When the bodies of MSG Sanchez and SSG Stearns were recovered on 09 March it was clear that SP4 Small had been captured.

Searches of the area were not successful - the VC had withdrawn into the mountains, taking SP4 Small with them - and he was never seen again. Small was carried as Missing in Action until 31 Oct 1977, when the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death. His remains have not been repatriated.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 03 Apr 2008
Last updated 08/10/2009