On this date in 1989, the US Army Special Forces lost a legend in its ranks. Communist guerrillas assassinated COL. Nick Rowe while on his way to work as a military advisor to the Philippine Army. Rowe had escaped a Viet Cong prisoner of war camp on New Year’s Eve 1968 while being taken to his execution.

After returning to the United States, Rowe developed the Army’s SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) School and training at Ft. Bragg, NC, largely based on his experiences.

He also wrote the best-selling book, “Five Years to Freedom” which told the story of his capture, and resistance to the Viet Cong before his daring escape.

Colonel Rowe was being driven to work at the Joint United States Military Advisory Group headquarters in Quezon City, a suburb of Manila, shortly after 7 A.M. when at least two hooded gunmen in a stolen car fired more than 20 bullets into his vehicle.