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Son Tay Raiders on mission to preserve Special Forces history
DUKE FIELD -- More than 40 years after their secret attempt to rescue American prisoners in Vietnam, members of the Son Tay Raiders are on another mission.
They're trying to preserve Special Forces history.
Laura Hussey "We're at the headquarters of the 7th Special Forces Group just south of Crestview. It was here that members of the Son Tay Raiders shared memories of their top secret training it took place right across the street at Duke Field"
For 90 days, they slept in these barracks and trained for a rescue mission in a gated compound.
At the very last minute, they learned they were headed to Son Tay Prison in North Vietnam, to save captured Americans.
Maj. Dan Turner/US Army Ret "These POWS, these great Americans, suffered torture that was broken bones, maimed for life, death kind of torture"
A new generation of soldiers is hearing the story now how the team arrived without a casualty, only to find the prisoners had been moved months earlier.
Dan Turner "It was the worst feeling of my life, and it carried on from that night, for three more years til the POWS were released"
But then the raiders learned their mission had made a difference, improving conditions for hundreds of American prisoners in Vietnam.
Dan "They got an opportunity to talk to each other, they got to hold prayer services, they got better treatment"
The barracks where the Raiders stayed are slated for demolition.
They're trying to raise awareness and money to save one building and move it to the 7th Group Compound.
It would become a Special Forces Heritage Center.
CSM Edgar Britt/US Army, Ret "Think of the next generation beyond these folks coming in, they're going to know that they have a history"
Laura Hussey "One of the Son Tay Raiders shared this wisdom with 7th Group members. He said never pass up an opportunity to volunteer, you never know what you'll do."