Samuel Kamu Toomey, III

Army of the United States
30 December 1935 - 24 January 1974
Independence, Missouri
Panel 37W Line 015



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Samuel Kamu Toomey, III

10 Feb 2001


A memorial from one who wore his MIA bracelet,
Margie Olds

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Major Samuel Toomey entered the Army in April 1956 after service in the Marines. In Vietnam, Toomey was assigned to Headquarters, MACV-SOG - the "Studies and Observation Group" (MACV-SOG). Despite its innoculous name, MACV-SOG was engaged in a variety of unconventional warfare tasks, to include ground reconnaissance and surveillance missions in Laos and Cambodia. Relatively few people were actually assigned to the Studies and Observation Group; most personnel were formally assigned to the Special Forces and were informally sent to work at MACV-SOG. This approach was very similar to that used with other clandestine organizations, such as the "Raven FACs" who worked in Laos and the Air Force personnel who operated close-hold radar stations situated within Laos itself. It served several purposes, not least being the low profile usually associated with any unit which has only a handful of people.

MACV-SOG's subordinate structure consisted of three area commands - Command and Control North, C&C Central, and C&C South - each with several operating bases located within their assigned areas. On November 30, 1968, Major Toomey - by one report, the C&C North Operations Officer - accompanied a team into Laos. The team consisted of six Americans (seven counting Toomey) and the Vietnamese crewmen who flew the helicopter, a UH-34 (BuNo 144653) belonging to the 219th VNAF Squadron - 11 men in all. The Americans were

  • MAJ Samuel K. Toomey
  • 1LT Raymond C. Stacks
  • SSG Klaus D. Scholz
  • SGT Arthur E. Bader
  • SGT Richard A. Fitts
  • CPL Gary R. LaBohn
  • CPL Michael H. Mein
The team's mission still is unknown, and there is conflicting information on whether the hel went down enroute to or during its return from the target area. One source says the purpose of the mission was to "salt" an enemy arms cache with defective and booby-trapped munitions, while another says "returning from a visual recon of target areas based on a Spot Report by RT Sidewinder of a NVA cache". In any case, the UH-34 was hit by 37mm antiaircraft fire, crashed, and exploded, killing all eleven men on board. Although the crash was witnessed by escorting aircraft, which made a number of low passes to examine the wreckage, the enemy presence precluded a ground examination of the crash site. Since there was a remote possibility that one or more of the men might have survived an apparently unsurvivable crash they all were classed as Missing in Action and retained in that status until the Secretary of the Army eventually approved Presumptive Findings of Death.

In March 1989 the crash site, located about 35 kilometers west of Khe Sanh, was excavated and fragmentary remains recovered. Although the only individually identifiable remains came from SGT Fitts, the Armed Services Identification Review Board concluded that all available evidence indicated the 11 men aboard the aircraft had died in the crash and that the recovered remains, although individually unidentifable, comprised what could be recovered of them. The comingled remains were buried in Arlinton National Cemetery.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 10 Feb 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009