CSM Whitmore, I would be interested in talking to you about Alan Bruce Cecil - a Holdenville (OK) native ...just like I am a Holdenville native.
The annual POW-MIA Recognition Day will be observed across the nation on Friday, September 21, 2012. Americans should pause to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA).
According to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, there were 73,692 U.S. servicemen still unaccounted for from World War II. There are 7,989 U.S. servicemen still unaccounted for from the Korean War. More recently, there are 1,681 U.S. servicemen still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
One of the MIAs from Vietnam is Holdenville native Alan Bruce Cecil. The date - September 21 - also happens to be exactly the same date Holdenville native was killed in military action in 1969. Because his body was never recovered, he is officially considered missing in action.
Spc. 5 Cecil was born on April 9, 1946. He was known as Bruce by family and friends. He was single and was a Protestant. He was 23 years old when he died in Laos, about 30 miles northwest of Khe Sanh.
The solder has a monument in his honor located in the Sunset Memorial Park at Norman. His Plot is in the Cenotaph SouthWest Section.
His name is included on the Vietnam War Memorial Monument Wall in Washington,D.C. His name can be found on panel 18 West, Line 119.
Specialist 5 Cecil was a member of the United States Army Special Forces and Commando Scout SOA Command and Control, Ops 35, Recon mission in Laos. His recon team MOCASSIN was inserted into Laos on 21 Sep 1969 in order to conduct surveillance operations against North Vietnamese forces moving down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Specialist 5 Cecil’s team include two US and two ARVN soldiers. They were attacked by an NVA security force. In the initial burst, two team members were killed, including Cecil. The Holdenville native was shot in the head above the right eye. The other team members reported that he was not breathing.
The remaining team was able to evade the enemy; however, they had to leave his dead behind due to the heavy enemy presence in the area.
Continued enemy activity in the area precluded infiltration into the area later to conduct a search. Official records were filed that indicated Spec. 4 Cecil was ‘killed in action” due to enemy fire. Because the US forces were unable to return and recover his boyd, he was listed as MIA.
Missing in action is a casualty category assigned under the Status of Missing to armed services personnel who are reported missing during active service. They may have been killed, wounded, become a prisoner of war, or deserted. If deceased, neither their remains nor grave can be positively identified.
The Holdenville native is honored on the Vietnam War Monument. His service has also be recognized by others.
“I have worn Alan's MIA bracelet for 10 years,” said a note from The VietnamVirtual Wall. “It always reminds me how lucky we all are to live in this great country. Men like Alan are heros and will never be forgotten.”
On Friday, the national will pause to salute the POWs and the MIA. As stated earlier, September 21 is the same date the Holdenville resident died in battle - and officially went missing.