Unaccounted by Michael McDonald-Low
During the Vietnam War, the Que Son Valley region was a very bad place with a very bad reputation. More U.S. Army infantrymen and Marines died there than at any other location in Vietnam. More Medals of Honor were awarded in this region than in any other single combat zone, ever.
On 5 May 1968, the downing of two U.S. helicopters in the Que Son Valley marked the beginning of the North Vietnamese Army’s second Tet offensive, with the goal of destroying all U.S. forces. At 1728 hours, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry conducted a combat air assault to join Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry at the helicopters’ fatally downed location.
Their experiences during the next six days set the stage for a three-month long battle that lasted only hours for some. In the end, there would be more than 2,300 dead and wounded, and one American Soldier missing in action. It will take over 44 years to find his location; UNACCOUNTED is his story.
“Accurate, gripping, and haunting; should become a classic.”
Five Star Review on Amazon By John Hart
I can vouch for the accuracy of the events in the Que Son Valley and surrounding area beginning 5May1968, the day that Michael’s “D” Company 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade linked up with the remnants of my company, “B” Co., 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade to secure a helicopter crash site and recover the bodies of the crew and passengers, thought to be LRRP Team “Rosie”.
Michael’s company and mine continued to operate closely until just hours before the ambush on 10May68 which resulted in roughly half his platoon either killed or wounded. Several days later my platoon was able to recover one of the fallen Delta 1/20 soldiers who was initially not able to be reached, but as the title of his book indicates, Spec. 4 Clifford Van Artsdalen remained unaccounted for.
McDonald – Low does a remarkable job of reporting the events of those six days and conveying the feeling and violence of close combat in the mountains and valleys of I Corps Tactical Zone during mid-1968.
This book is a compelling read. If you served in Vietnam, or have a friend or relative who did, or want to have a better understanding of how that war shaped the men who served there, read it.
Thank you Michael, for your service to our country, for telling this story, and for your lasting commitment to Sp/4 Clifford Van Artsdalen.
About the Author
Michael McDonald-Low graduated from Officers Candidate School in 1966, at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant at 19 years of age. He served in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968 as a 1st Lieutenant infantry platoon leader and later as company commander after being promoted to Captain. He has one soldier from his platoon still there, Specialist 4 Clifford Van Artsdalen – MIA #1165. In 2012, he led an American Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command team to search for his location.
Among McDonald-Low’s military awards and decorations are the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star with “V” Device for Heroism, Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster (2), Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Award, Meritorious Service Medal (2x), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Army Valorous Unit Award, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Tet Counter-Offensive Medal.
In September 2014, McDonald-Low joined the newly reorganized Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) as the its first-ever Southeast Asia Veteran Liaison. McDonald-Low participates in MIA case analysis and review of existing DPAA background information and investigative reporting related to unresolved ground loss cases in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Keywords: Missing in Action, MIA, Infantryman, Vietnam, POW, Mission, Unaccounted, War