Son Tay Raid – November 20-21, 1970

Son Tay Raid 21-22 November 1970 - Image from USSOCOM Facebook 21 Nov 2016)

On the night of 20-21 November 1970 U.S. Special Forces Soldiers and aviation crews conducted the Son Tay Raid into North Vietnam to rescue American prisoners of war held in the Son Tay prison camp. The unit that conducted the raid was the Joint Contingency Task Group Ivory Coast commanded by Air Force General Leroy Manor. The ground force commander was Green Beret Colonel “Bull” Simons.

The task force consisted of 28 U.S. Air Force aircraft. There were 58 Green Berets that were inserted to rescue over 60 American POWs. The raiders were selected from among the 6th and 7th Special Forces Groups at Fort Bragg, NC. The name of the raid was Operation Ivory Coast. It was rehearsed for months at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The raid party was inserted by helicopter and completed its mission in under 30 minutes – however the POWs had been relocated to another prison prior to the raid. The Son Tay Raid is credited with prompting the North Vietnamese to improve treatment of the U.S. POWs. In addition, once the U.S. POWs learned of the raid morale improved significantly.

(Image from USSOCOM Facebook 21 Nov 2016)


About John Friberg 197 Articles
John Friberg is the Editor and Publisher of SOF News. He is a retired Command Chief Warrant Officer (CW5 180A) with 40 years service in the U.S. Army Special Forces with active duty and reserve components.