The Special Forces personnel in the first three rotations experienced a higher operational tempo and a greater threat from the Communist forces. Two Special Forces soldiers in the early cycles became casualties during operations in 1953. Infantry 2LT Joseph M. Castro with WOLFPACK 8 was killed on 17 May 1953 while crossing a rice paddy dike during a daylight operation on the mainland. Infantry CPT Douglas W. Payne died on 21 July 1953 when his base on Sui-do was attacked and overrun by North Korean forces. These were the first two Special Forces soldiers to die in combat and the only fatalities among the SF deployed from Fort Bragg. After their deaths, guerrilla command directed American advisors to “use judgment and caution” if accompanying their guerrilla elements during operations on the mainland.32
Those SF who came in the final two levies from Fort Bragg experienced the war’s drawdown. The guerrillas were not interested in being the last casualties of the war. In the months before the signing of the Armistice on 27 July 1953, the number of raids on the mainland declined dramatically. While working with the guerrilla units on the islands was the primary SF mission, not all the Special Forces soldiers ended up as advisors.