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Profile: Mike Sheperd


Positions that Mike Sheperd has held:

  • US Special Forces SOG reconnaissance leader




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Mike Sheperd actively participated in the following events:


September 11, 1970-September 14, 1970      US Military

       In Laos, a 16-member US Special Forces “Studies and Observations Group” (SOG) and about 140 Montagnard tribesmen are dropped sixty miles from the South Vietnamese border and several miles away from its targeted village. They are told that the objective of the mission, code-named “Operation Tailwind,” is to eliminate a village where VietCong, Russians, and American defectors are believed to be moving freely. The troops are instructed to kill anyone they encounter, combatant or otherwise, including American defectors who pose a special threat to the US because of the sensitive knowledge they possess. [Sources: Unnamed SOG Recon team commando [1], Robert Van Buskirk, Thomas Moorer, Jay Graves, Mike Hagen, Jim Cathey] Another possible objective of the mission is to divert enemy attention from Operation Gauntlet, an offensive operation to regain control of territory in Laos. [Department of Defense, 7/21/1998] The SOG and Montagnards are all equipped with M-17 gas masks for the mission. [Sources: Robert Van Buskirk, Craig Schmidt, Unnamed SOG Recon team commando [2]] For three days, the team fights its way to the targeted village. On the third night, they camp on the outskirts of the village while it is “prepped” by Air Force A-1s. The next morning, the unit raids the village. The battle ends quickly, in about 10 minutes, because of the previous night's bombing and because most of the people are not combat personnel, but belong to a transportation unit. [Sources: Mike Hagen] When they enter the village, they find more than one hundred bodies. Some are combatants, but many are also women and children. [CNN, 7/2/1999 Sources: Jimmy Lucas, Mike Hagen, Eugene McCarley, Robert Van Buskirk] One member of the SOG sees Montagnard soldiers shove grenades down the throats of women and at least three children. [Sources: Robert Van Buskirk] The soldiers report seeing between 10 and 20 Caucasians among the dead and speculate that they were American defectors, though the Pentagon insists they were Russians. Platoon leader Robert Van Buskirk later tells CNN that he killed two American defectors during the attack when he dropped a white phosphorus grenade into a tunnel where the two had fled. [Sources: Mike Hagen, Jim Cathey, Robert Van Buskirk] Rescue helicopters are then called in and the troops head to a rice paddy and put on their gas masks. As the helicopters prepares to land, it drops gas canisters (CBU-14), probably sarin nerve gas, to incapacitate a swarm of enemy fighters who are coming down a hill towards the landing zone. The enemy fighters immediately drop and go into convulsions when the gas is deployed. [Sources: Robert Van Buskirk, Craig Schmidt, Mike Sheperd, Mike Hagen, John Snipes, Unnamed pilot [1], Unnamed pilot [2], Unnamed SOG Recon team commando [2], Unnamed pilot [3], Unnamed pilot [4]] As the rescue choppers are taking off, SOG members and Montagnards are vomiting and have mucous running uncontrollably from their noses. [CNN, 6/14/1998; CNN, 6/7/1998; Oliver and Smith, 1999; Time Magazine, 6/15/1998; CNN, 7/2/1999 Sources: Unnamed SOG Recon team commando [2], Mike Sheperd, John Snipes, Mike Hagen, Unnamed pilot [1], Unnamed pilot [3], Unnamed pilot [4], Unnamed pilot [2], Robert Van Buskirk]
People and organizations involved: Mike Hagen, Jim Cathey, Jim Cathey, Eugene McCarley, Craig Schmidt, Robert Van Buskirk, Jimmy Lucas, Mike Sheperd, John Snipes

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