10. Major Mistake Dooms the Vietnam War’s Most Ambitious Raid
On the night of November 20th, 1970, a raiding force of 56 US Army Special Forces, or Green Berets, assembled at an American base in Thailand. They made their final checks to make sure that all was good to go for their upcoming mission. The equipment passed muster, and the men were fired up and ready for one of the Vietnam War’s most ambitious raids.
The Green Berets then clambered aboard HH-3E “Jolly Green Giant” and HH-53E “Super Jolly Green Giant” helicopters, that flew them from their Thai staging base to execute Operation Ivory, a daring rescue mission. Their goal: free an estimated 65 American prisoners of war, held at Son Tay prison camp, about 20 miles west of the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The plan was great, and its execution was impeccable. However, as seen below, it turned to be all for nothing, because of a basic mistake.