Undocumented Immigrant to American Patriot: The Story of a Son Tay Volunteer

Noe Quezada


One of ten children, CSM(R) Noe Quezada was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, in September 1931. Looking for a better life, he set off for the United States at the age of 18, alone and unafraid. Sneaking across the border aboard a freight train, he arrived in Los Angeles, California, in 1949 and began working as an agricultural laborer. A local farmer sponsored him and he became a United States citizen. Watching Army trucks pass by in Reno, Nevada, in 1956, he was inspired to join the Army. Although he struggled with the English language at first, he quickly adapted to the Army lifestyle, being recognized as trainee of the cycle in his basic training company. His early duty assignments included Germany, Ft. Benning, Ft. Knox, and Ft. Campbell. In 1965, he deployed to Vietnam, serving with the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. He returned to the States in 1966 and decided to volunteer for Special Forces. He was initially assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, but returned to Vietnam in 1969 with 5th Group. While in Vietnam, he was assigned to ODA(B) 8246, working with Montagnard troops until redeploying to Ft. Bragg in December 1969. In the summer of 1970, he volunteered for a secret and dangerous mission, the raid to liberate over 70 Prisoners Of War at Son Tay Prison Camp. Between August and November 1970, the hand-selected unit trained at Eglin Air Force Base before deploying to Thailand on November 18, 1970. The raid was conducted on November 20, 1970, days after the North Vietnamese had moved the prisoners to another location. Despite the fact that no prisoners were liberated, CSM(R) Quezada expressed pride in having volunteered for the mission “for love of country and love of our fellow Soldiers.”


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Courage Patriotism P.O.W.s Camaraderie Character Diversity Leadership Military Techniques Military Families Morale Immigration
interviewer David Siry
date 18 June 2018


name Noe Quezada
service Infantry / Special Forces
unit 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, 5th Special Forces Group
specialty Son Tay Raid
service dates 1956 1986