Name: Jerry Michael "Mad Dog" Shriver Rank/Branch: E7/US Army Special Forces
Unit: CCS - MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces
Date of Birth: 24 September 1941 (De Funiak Springs, FL)
Home City of Record: Sacramento CA Date of Loss: 24 April 1969
Country of Loss: Cambodia (some older records say Laos)
Loss Coordinates: 165048N 1063158E (XT441913)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
SFC Jerry M. "Mad Dog" Shriver was a legendary Green Beret. He was an exploitation platoon leader with Command and Control South, MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group).MACV-SOG was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th SpecialForces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (although it was not a Special Forcesgroup) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.
On the morning of April 24, 1969, Shriver's hatchet platoon was air assaulted into Cambodia by four helicopters. Upon departing the helicopter, the teamhad begun moving toward its initial target point when it came under heavy volumes of enemy fire from several machine gun bunkers and entrenched enemy positions estimated to be at least a company-sized element.
Shriver was last seen by the company commander, Capt. Paul D. Cahill, as Shriver was moving against the machine gun bunkers and entering a tree lineon the southwest edge of the LZ with a trusted Montagnard striker. Capt. Cahill and Sgt. Ernest C. Jamison, the platoon medical aidman, took cover in a bomb crater. Cahill continued radio contact with Shriver for four hours until his transmission was broken and Shriver was not heard from again. It was knownthat Shriver had been wounded 3 or 4 times. An enemy soldier was later seenpicking up a weapon which appeared to be the same type carried by Shriver.
Jamison left the crater to retrieve one of the wounded Montagnards who had fallen in the charge. The medic reached the soldier, but was almost tornapart by concentrated machine gun fire. At that moment Cahill was wounded in the right eye, which resulted in his total blindness for the next 30 minutes. The platoon radioman, Y-Sum Nie, desperately radioed for immediate extraction.
Maj. Benjamin T. Kapp, Jr. was in the command helicopter and could see the platoon pinned down across the broken ground and rims of bomb craters. North Vietnamese machine guns were firing into the bodies in front of theirpositions and covering the open ground with grazing fire. The assistant platoon leader, 1Lt. Gregory M. Harrigan, reported within minutes that half the platoon was killed or wounded. Harrigan himself was killed 45 minutes later.
Helicopter gunships and A1E aircraft bombed and rocketed the NVA defenses.The heavy ground fire peppered the aircraft in return, wounding one door gunner during low-level strafing. Several attempts to lift out survivors had to be aborted. Ten airstrikes and 1,500 rockets had been placed in the area in attempts to make a safe extraction possible. 1Lt. Walter L. Marcantel, the third in command, called for napalm only ten yards from his frontline, andboth he and his nine remaining commandos were burned by splashing napalm.
After seven hours of contact, three helicopters dashed in and pulled out 15 wounded troops. As the aircraft lifted off, several crewmen saw movement in a bomb crater. A fourth helicopter set down, and Lt. Daniel Hall twice racedover to the bomb crater. On the first trip he recovered the badly wounded radio operator, and on the second trip he dragged Harrigan's body back to the helicopter. The aircraft was being buffeted by shellfire and took off immediately afterwards. No further MACV-SOG insertions were made into the NVA stronghold. Jamison was declared dead and Shriver Missing in Action.
On June 12, 1970, a search and recovery element from a graves registrationunit recovered human remains that were later identified as Sgt. Jamison, but no trace was found of Shriver.
For every insertion like Shriver's that were detected and stopped, dozens of other commando teams safely slipped past NVA lines to strike a wide range of targets and collect vital information. The number of MACV-SOG missions conducted with Special Forces reconnaissance teams into Laos and Cambodia was 452 in 1969. It was the most sustained American campaign of raiding, sabotage and intelligence-gathering waged on foreign soil in U.S. military history. MACV-SOG's teams earned a global reputation as one of the most combateffective deep-penetration forces ever raised.
The missions Shriver and others were assigned were exceedingly dangerousand of strategic importance. The men who were put into such situations knew the chances of their recovery if captured was slim to none. They quite naturally assumed that their freedom would come by the end of the war. For 591Americans, freedom did come at the end of the war. For another 2500, however, freedomhas never come.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to missing Americans in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S., convincing many authoritiesthat hundreds remain alive in captivity. Jerry Shriver's friends claim theyheard on "Hanoi Hannah" that "Mad Dog" Shriver had been captured. They wonder if he is among the hundreds said to be alive today. If so, what must he think of us?
A letter from Senator Bob Smith, Vice-Chairman, Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, written December 1, 1992, and entitled U.S. POW/MIA's Who May Have Survived in Capitivity, had this to say about Jerry Michael Shriver:
Schriver, Jerry M. USA POW according to POW returnee Norris Charles. "charles seems positive this man is PW" (USAF 1973 comment.)
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