‘Rap’ Peavy of Venice Acres spent nearly 19-months in Vietnam War running a radio station in Laos

In 1967 “RapPeavy of Venice Acres was attending the University of South Florida in Tampa when he had to drop out of school because his stepfather suffered a heart attack and he had to get a job to help his family out financially. He lost his draft deferment and became 1-A for the draft. So he decided to enlist in the Army before he got drafted.

He took basic and advanced military training at Fort Benning, Ga. and then flew to Vietnam in 1968. “Rap’ landed at Cam Rahn Bay and wound up in the 5th Special Forces Group MACV SOG (Military Assistance Command Studies and Observation Group). They worked for the Department of Defense. SOG’s missions was to de-escalate the Vietnam War before it reached the border of South Vietnam.
“I was sent across the border into Laos to a communication station atop a 5,500-foot hill in jungle country 30 miles inside the border,” he said. “My job was to provide radio
communications for our troops who were trying to stop the North Vietnamese Army from coming into South Vietnam.
“One of my missions was to provide communications for small reco-teams who were sent into enemy territory for a week or so to spy on the NVA (North Vietnamese Army), “Rap” explained. “We were the only communications you had other than choppers when they were in the field on one of their missions.
“Probably the biggest mission I was involved in was ‘Operation Tailwind’ he said. “This was an operation run by the CIA. It took place in 1971 as a diversionary mission in Laos performed by Company-B, Command and Control Center. This was the outfit I worked for.
“‘Tailwind’ operated north in Laos from where our communication center was located,” he said. “The U.S. sent in Company-B to divert the NVA away from several CIA operations. The American unit was spotted by the enemy and they were shot up pretty good.
“Gary Rose, the medic serving with Company-B attacked by the NVA, received the ‘Medal of Honor’ in the last couple of years, years after the war.” ‘Rap’ said. “He was hit several times by
enemy fire, but still keep going out and patching up the wounded. He should have gotten the medal back then, but he didn’t.”
The other operation he can recall was an intelligence mission in Laos on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
“A good friend of mine , Curtis Green, was killed in that operation. I was on the radio with Green when he was shot in the chest and killed. He was in a six-man recon team they were trying to extract from enemy territory that was surrounded on the top of a hill in Laos by a much larger NVA force.
“By the time they made it to the hill the NVA had cut off their radio communications until they reached the top and reestablished communications again. Green and his unit was able to talk to a couple of rescue helicopters from our facility.
“We always had another American unit along the Vietnam-Laosan border ready to be sent into to rescue Americans in situations like this. But this time the situation on the ground was too hot.
“A 22-year-old captain on the ground who was running the operation called in during the height of the shootout and said, ‘This is ‘Fox.’ My face is gone. We are about out of ammo. Can you do anything to help us?”
His plea for help was picked up by a “Cobra,” attack helicopter circling over his landing zone. He told the wounded captain on the ground, “This is ‘Panther 1-2. I’m going to make one more round above you. What do you need?
“Can you give us some fire to the southwest as you’re coming up over the ridge?” the wounded captain radioed from the bush.
“The pilot of the ‘Cobra’ helicopter kept his mike opened. You could hear the mini-gatling gun firing as he flew over the NVA enemy below.”
Of the six who went into enemy territory, eventually two Green Berets got out and two
Montagnards were also rescued. Green and a Montagnard were left behind because the firefight was too heavy.
During the 19-months, eight-days “Rap” served in Vietnam, most of his time was spent running radio communication in the central highlands of Laos, 30-miles into enemy territory. They went into the bush with a few Americans and the rest were indigenous people who hated the Vietnamese and were happy to kill as many enemy troops as possible.
“I flew back to Fort Lewis, Wash. from Vietnam in August 1971,” ‘Rap’ said. “The reception we received from the civilians in the USA was lousy. They spit on us and called us ‘Baby Killers!’
“When we arrived at Fort Lewis we had to sign a waiver that prohibited us from talking about anything we did in Vietnam for 25 or 30 years.”
A short time later he was discharged from the service.
“Before I went in the Army I sold cars at my uncle’s car lot in Orlando. I got out of the Army and began selling cars with him again. Then I opened my own car operation in Atlanta. After that I relocated to Panama City Beach with a car dealership I called: ‘Big Boys Toys.’ I spent 45 years altogether selling cars.
“I shut my dealership down in Panama City Beach in December 2016. My wife, Mary, and
I moved down to Venice Acres in 2018.

'Rap' Peavy at his home in Venice Acres. Sun photo by Don Moore
D.O.B: 29 April 1948
Hometown: Brewton, AL
Currently: Venice, FL
Unit: 5th Special Forces Group MACV SOG
Entered Service: 6 Dec 1968
Discharged:  August 1971
Rank: Spec 5th Class
Commendations:  Vietnam Campaign Medal w/DVC 60, National Defense Service Medal, Expert M-16 Rifle

 

This story was first published in the Charlotte Sun newspaper, Port Charlotte, Fla. on Monday, June 24, 2019, and is republished with permission.

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Comments

  1. I wonder if Mr Peavy ever ran into an old friend of mine who was with the Special Forces while in those various countries during the VN war. Sgt Robert Barnes from NH?

  2. There was another mission into laos as well by 101st sent in by nixon to raid pow camps in laos under lom san 719 cover we all met at khe sahn airstrip and read his telegram. There it stated to find our pows at all costs no matter where they were found it ended on march 29th 71 there were troops surrounded in laos no ammo on 28th march i went back to camp evans in my deuce and a half and brought all ammo up to khe sahn on 28th march 71 i was hit by nva waiting for me coming back up they cut loose on me on t op of mountain above dongha artillery fire was very intense i ran overtop one at high speed it went off under my last axle as it bumped it on ground vlew out 3right rear tires. I went out xold from oxygen sucked out of my lungs drom explosion flames came through both windows i made it to khe sahn and a small choper was waiting there to haul ammo into our troops by dark tgey all wondered how it got to them they broke through the nva next am it ended by our jets off ocean coming in and wiping out the nva between two mountains alongside khe sahn on 28th by dark time i drew fire to find them all i was hand picked by special forces along with 17 others in HqHq3/187th inf. From S/4. 101stAirborne div. As we got there asvreplacements in august 70 at serts they put us all in bleachers there and had sappers show us how they crawled through our razor wire using S hooks in their mouths then week later they had us go. Out side camp evans to test us by finding live booby traps on trails we had to crawl on hands and knees using our fingers in front of us as w e crawled through i found a couple there and we went accross a rice paddy in the water we touched a trip wire neck high in water it was a b52 unexploded bomb brought there by bycycle after we went back they chose us and swore us all in as green berets i was one chosen they made us swear not to sue our govermnt. For anything we had to do from then on they left vietnam when we were up no r th in lom san 719 they took our records and paperwork back along with our green berets and uniforms which we were shown as we signed doccuments after swearing us in i h a ve never heard anything since they left vietnam and our mission was won and over with during lom san 719 the airfoece filmed me in my truck as i got hit on 28th march 71 i saw the pilot filmig me as he flew next to my right door hold a camera he followed me at ground level to find the nva i drew the fire they sent a hit list down to my firat seargeant e9 sargeant young from S/4 he always chose me to go on all our missions he knew i wouldnt quit and get it done right i got blown up 2 times by artllry shells once in my truck and once on a mission to cam rahn bay on 18th may 71 by sappers off ocean swam in to beach and set off sachell charges in stock piles of artillery on beach from navy i tried get the sapper at 4am insde of fence i was next to him he set it off as i heard it sizzling i knew i was close to him with an m16 i borrowed off an airforce mp at gate to fence. Its on film as i looked at it in the mps VHS camera the airforce had one to use as a test. He filmed it all i was inside the artillery shell stock pile i reviewed the film no sound on camera yet then in 71 all this is on f ilm and there was a hit list with my name on along with our snipers and dog handlers from HqHq3/187 inf. 101st airborne sargeant young told us he sent it to ft. Lee verginia national archives. Us army 101st airborne records from S/4 my name had a yellow dot next to it i read the liat it was on sarges desk at camp evans from nva i laughed at it as they warned me not to haul ammo up to khe sahn on 28th march 71 i went anyway those guys all made it back out on 29thmarch 71 i heard on our radio at khe sahn by first cav.

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