During the Vietnam War, the Que Son Valley region was a very bad place with a very bad reputation. More U.S. Army infantrymen and Marines died there than at any other location in Vietnam. More Medals of Honor were awarded in this region than in any other single combat zone, ever.
On 5 May 1968, the downing of two U.S. helicopters in the Que Son Valley marked the beginning of the North Vietnamese Army's second Tet offensive, with the goal of destroying all U.S. forces. At 1728 hours, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry conducted a combat air assault to join Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry at the helicopters' fatally downed location.
Their experiences during the next six days set the stage for a three-month long battle that lasted only hours for some. In the end, there would be more than 2,300 dead and wounded, and one American Soldier missing in action. It will take over 44 years to find his location; UNACCOUNTED is his story.
Michael McDonald-Low graduated from Officers Candidate School in 1966, at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant at 19 years of age. He served in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968 as a 1st Lieutenant infantry platoon leader and later as company commander after being promoted to Captain. He has one soldier from his platoon still there, Specialist 4 Clifford Van Artsdalen - MIA #1165. In 2012, he led an American Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command team to search for his location.
Among McDonald-Low's military awards and decorations are the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star with "V" Device for Heroism, Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster (2), Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Award, Meritorious Service Medal (2x), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Army Valorous Unit Award, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Tet Counter-Offensive Medal.
In September 2014, McDonald-Low joined the newly reorganized Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) as the its first-ever Southeast Asia Veteran Liaison. McDonald-Low participates in MIA case analysis and review of existing DPAA background information and investigative reporting related to unresolved ground loss cases in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Keywords: Missing in Action, MIA, Infantryman, Vietnam, POW, Mission, Unaccounted, War
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite Unaccounted by Michael McDonald-Low is set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and is the true story of an American infantryman gone missing and the mission to find him forty-four years later. The author gives a first-hand account of the soldiers in the Que Se Son Valley during combat operations that took place in 1968. The author's account of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) mission makes this book a compelling read, detailing the dilemma of soldiers on a battlefield away from their country. The book is honest and the author's depiction of the experiences of these soldiers will leave a lasting impression in the minds of readers. The book is well written and the author's words will take readers to the era of the Vietnam War and will make them feel as if they are there with the soldiers. The author's determination and dedication are impressive and the vivid descriptions of the jungle and being on the battlefield will haunt readers for a long time. The difficult circumstances faced by the soldiers, the true emotions and realities of war, the acceptance of death on the battlefield, and the effort to locate the missing infantryman decades later will keep readers glued to the book till the very end. The story is thrilling and it will make readers appreciate soldiers and the sacrifices they make for their country. It's definitely a book worth reading for all those enjoy war stories.
You might need to get your “Big Boy Pants” on to read this riveting true story. I spent my tour in Vietnam in the air and found the time spent there to be hell. Unaccounted gives you a totally different viewpoint of a place worse than hell; this book is about what it was like to be on the ground, and in the jungle with a rifle in your hand. The author’s descriptions of combat and the men of his platoon were unexpectedly gritty, chilling, and realistic. I also liked that the author used multiple viewpoints and times to tell the story. The writing by MIA 1165 gave the story and eerie, haunting feel. I couldn't put it down. I flew into some of the LZs mentioned in this book including Ross, Leslie, and LZ Center, in particular. His descriptions were accurate. These were not rear echelon areas, they were the front lines. PTSD is an ugly thing to have to deal with day by day, and especially night by night. This book gives a blow by blow account of how and why lifelong nightmares persist for combat vets. I can only imagine what McDonald Low had to go through to bring this book to fruition. His journey back to Vietnam in 2012, to find 1165, was impressive. His views and thoughts about the socialist government of Vietnam I thought were revealing. It should be mandatory that all VA Mental Health Specialists read this book. Unaccounted would give them a much better understanding of what the warriors on the ground in Vietnam and other wars had to go through. VA Health Care Professionals, who do not read this book, should find another job. This book might be a hard read for some of you Vietnam Vets, but I guarantee it is worth the read. It is most excellent! Woodpecker 45 1st Air Cav 68 - 69