In Memory

56th Security Police Squadron K-9 Section Killed In Action

SS Mayaguez Rescue Mission May 13, 1975

SSgt. Faleagafulu Ilaoa, San Francisco, CA
Sgt. Gilbert W Fritz, Junction, TX
Sgt. Dennis W. London, Sparks, NV

In May 1975, the merchant marine container ship, the “SS Mayaguez” was seized by the Cambodians and held at a Koh Tang Island with the crew taken ashore and imprisoned.

 

Eighteen hand-picked volunteers from the 56th Security Police Squadron at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB were assembled for a rescue attempt. Three members of this team were from the K-9 section, but deployed without their dogs. While enroute their CH-53 helicopter carrying them, the flight crew of five, a linguist, and 15 fellow security policemen crashed into the heavy jungle killing all aboard.

A second rescue mission, launched a couple days later, was successful in freeing the ship's crew returning them to the United States.