Still reeling from the soul-crushing losses of the Vietnam War, hundreds of U.S. Marines sprung into action in 1975 to rescue a group of Americans taken hostage by the Khmer Rouge when their merchant ship was ambushed. It began with an SOS alert to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and what seemed like a more or less straightforward Marine mission to take down a few dozen “Cambodian irregulars” holding American hostages on the island of Koh Tang. But as Staff Sgt. Fofomaitulagi Tulifua Tuitele and his men soon learned, the seemingly amateur soldiers they were about to take on to free the hostages were not amateur at all, but armed with anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars—and there were no hostages. Author Kevin Maurer reveals for The Daily Beast the panicked planning and tragic intelligence failures that led to the deaths of more than a dozen U.S. servicemen and three Marines presumed KIA during the rescue mission, one of the most controversial in U.S. military history. Sign up for Beast Inside to access the Beast Files and read the first installment on how it all began.