On August 09, 1968, Colonel Wayne B. Wolfkeil of the 6the Special Operations Sqdn, 633rd Special Ops Wing, 7th AF was shot down and killed. Wayne and his wingman were providing air support defending a (MACV-SOG) team on the ground that was in real trouble and faced pending annihilation.
The following Interview is with George (Wilson) Hunt and David Wolfkeil, son of Col. Wayne B. Wolfkeil. The video is a discussion of the Brighlight Mission that Wilson performed more than 40 years earlier.
Bright Light Missions ” They were the deadliest of all.”
In the eight-year secret war fought by Green Berets during the Vietnam War across the fence in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam from 1964-1972 under the aegis of the (MACV-SOG), Military Assistance Command Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group.
No mission was more dangerous than a Bright Light mission. Heavily-armed (MACV-SOG) recon teams were sent in to find downed pilots, relieve recon teams surrounded by enemy troops, or to recover the dead and wounded.
“Did I bring back enough?”
In August of 1968, RT Maine (One-Zero) Green Beret George (Wilson) Hunt led a Bright Light mission to recover the remains of an A-1 Skyraider pilot who had been shot down and died defending a (MACV-SOG) team on the ground that was in real trouble and faced pending annihilation.
Two previous (MACV-SOG) teams tried in vain to perform Bright Light missions to recover the downed A-1 Skyraider pilot's remains. Both teams had met with such fierce enemy resistance they had to call in emergency extractions to prevent being overrun by communist enemy soldiers.
Wilson and his team were the third (MACV-SOG) team ordered to do the Bright Light mission. Wilson's mission was to locate the crashed aircraft and to determine if the pilot were alive or not and to retrieve his remains if possible.
This mission would haunt Wilson’s mind for years to come, as he and his team were unable to recover the pilot's remains. After only locating the pilot's charred flight helmet, one question remained on Wilson’s mind for decades to come. “Did I bring back enough so the military could tell the pilot’s family what happened on the mountain?” In a strange twist of fate, it would take 40 years for Wilson to learn the name of the pilot, Col. Wayne B. Wolfkeil.
40 years later, Wilson got his answer. A charred flight helmet, an old newspaper article, a Skyraider pilot, and the author of Uncommon Valor would all converge to help George (Wilson) Hunt not only complete this Bright Light mission. Wilson would meet the family of the pilot and deliver the news himself, providing comfort and closure for all.
This is his story.