Michael Fredric May

Specialist Five
Army of the United States
07 June 1947 - 02 March 1969
Vassar, Michigan
Panel 30W Line 014

Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

Michael F. May

The database page for Michael Fredric May

07 Oct 1998


Oh, where lie your bones, oh, flesh of my flesh,
Oh, first-born pride of a mother's travail?
Do they lie exposed in green jungle mesh
Where greedy growth hides all hint of a trail?

Oh, where lie your bones, oh, blood of my blood,
Oh, sweet-bitter promise born of my womb;
Relentlessly washed by tropical flood;
Sun-bleached, abandoned without any tomb?

No clue found to mark where you bled
Nor a survivor that carnage to tell.
No body to mourn, no stone for your head,
No remains shipped from Cambodian hell.

Posthumous medals awarded your strife.
Oh, sad recompense, oh, life of my life.

Written by Doris Kennard
Mother of Michael May

Michael was an outstanding athlete in high school He excelled in basketball, football, and track. Breaking many school records and state records. He pole vaulted 13'3" and maintained the school record until it was broken in the early 80's. He won the state championship in class B twice, once as a sophomore in 1963 and again during his senior year. He placed third in the state his junior year. He was also an all-conference end on the football team his senior year. He lettered in basketball, football, and track. Upon his graduation in 1965, he attended college at Michigan Western University, for two years before entering into the Army September 14, 1967. He received a scholarship from ROTC and some others that I cannot remember.

Michael also loved the game of golf, which was brought to my attention by another veteran, Nick Katzenstein, just one of Michael's SF Friends. He received basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and went on to Green Beret training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Michael arrived in Vietnam in Jan. 1969. He was assigned to Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam. On his first recon mission, his team had captured a prisoner, which gave Michael some R&R time to do what he pleased with. He traveled to Qui Nhon to visit Jim Atwood (my husband now). They had three fun-filled days together, recalling old times of back home. Michael was reported missing soon after.

He volunteered to go on another recon mission with Sgt Evans. The area that they were into was a Rest and Relaxation Center for the NVA. It was an early Sunday evening when they were infiltrated into the area. I have been in contact with the doorgunner on that mission and Major Head, who was Michael's first recon leader. Our family has remained in contact with the medic, John "BUFF" Costello that was there. You can find the doorgunner's picture and the medic's picture on my second page called Memories of Michael. Both of these individuals are like family to my family. Without them ... we would be lost in our own fears. Michael always said that when he came back home, he would continue his college education. His dream was to become a lawyer. I know deep in my heart that he would of made a damn good one. Michael has touched so many people in his life and still today he is not forgotten.

His hometown has a 5k Race named after him and all the monies go the High School athletic association. The Special Forces Association of Michigan has honored him by naming their chapter after him - Michigan Michael May Memorial Chapter LV. Mike was a gentle, caring person, he had many friends and loved this country. He excelled in everything that he set out to accomplish. He was my hero, my best friend, and my guardian. With the help of the internet, I can now tell the world about my brother and I know he will never be forgotten We must make sure this fate never happens again to any soldier fighting for our country. The truth will someday be known about Michael and all his comrades that are still missing. The POW/MIA families need America's support to find out the truth about their loved ones, that the US Government still keeps classified. We, the POW/MIA families, need your support by writing and calling our government to make this issue "NATIONAL PRIORITY" like they have vowed to do so many, many times and have failed to do so many, many times.

Veterans of the Vietnam War should contact the families of the missing, even if it's just to say what a great soldier they were.

I have had many vets contact me about Michael and it has made a big difference in my life. Just knowing someone who knew him and to be able to talk with them about him has made me understand and accept many unanswered questions The government will never tell us anything, the veterans have the knowledge and the answers to our questions. I pray that many families will be as fortunate as I have been. Thank you for visiting my brother's page and never forget the Veteran for his faithful, honorable duty to keep us free.

Part of the
complete memorial for Michael Frederic May

placed by his sister,
Cindi Atwood

Notes from The Virtual Wall

MACV's Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG) ran a variety of special operations, including the formation of fairly large forces using ethnic Montagnard, Cham, Cambodian, Laotian, and Chinese troops. Detachments B-50 (Project Omega) and B-56 (Project Sigma) were formed by the 5th Special Forces Group in 1966 and then transferred to MACV-SOG control - Project Omega in September 1966 and Project Sigma in November 1967. Both Omega and Sigma were heavily involved in close-to-border and cross-border ground reconnaissance missions.

A Det B-50 recon team (RT PLUMB) was inserted into the SVN/Cambodian border area north of Tonle Cham, SVN, on 02 March 1969. As the team, which reportedly included 11 US and an unspecified number of ethic troops from Project Omega, moved through the area they were ambushed by a much larger NVA force. The team withdrew to a hillock and called in air support which discouraged the NVA temporarily - but two Americans (Sergeants William Evans and Michael May) and three ethnic troops were killed and others wounded. After the air support ended at nightfall the NVA renewed their attack, forcing the recon team to withdraw further, but they were unable to bring their dead with them. The team was recovered on the following day, but it was not possible to attempt to recover the dead. Although the American government offered an apology to the Cambodian government for the cross-border incident and requested their assistance in recovering the missing team members, nothing came of the request ... the Cambodian government didn't control the area; it was occupied by the North Vietnamese Army.

The remains of Sergeants Evans and May have not been repatriated.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009