BURNET — They were the men who took on the most challenging and dangerous operations: the U.S. Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets.
During the Vietnam War, they often operated deep in the landscape and well away from support. As warriors and instructors, they worked alongside local soldiers.
But they always had their fellow Green Beret’s back.
Staff Sgt. Ronald E. Fike of Burnet embodied the Green Beret attitude and professionalism. And he died because he wouldn’t leave the side of a wounded man.
In the summer of 1967, Fike was a member of Special Forces Unit A-423 (later changed to A-433). They were hand-picked operators chosen for a “floating fighting camp” in the My An area of the Kien Toung province in South Vietnam near Cambodia.
During patrols of the area, the Special Forces men often found themselves in firefights with local Viet Cong fighters. On June 28, 1967, Fike and Specialist Mike Brown were on patrol with a few local soldiers when a Viet Cong company initiated a well-planned ambush.
In the battle, Brown sustained serious wounds. Instead of leaving Brown, Fike stayed by his side, and the two Green Berets continued to carry on the fight.
Both men died after what the team lieutenant described as a “valiant fight” by Fike and Brown.