Special Forces

In existence from January 1964 through May 1972, the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was a top-secret multi-service unit which conducted covert operations in Laos and Cambodia, where conventional U.S. military organizations were prohibited from acting. They also carried out reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines in South Vietnam. If a SOG member died in Laos or Cambodia or was awarded for their service in those lands, their families and the nation were told that the event had taken place in South Vietnam.

The incredible story of 5th Special Forces Group Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for acts of valor that defy the imagination. The incident for which he is remembered took place on May 2, 1968, near the Loc Ninh Special Forces camp in South Vietnamese territory close to the Cambodian border. A special operations reconnaissance team had been trapped in Cambodian territory, after being helilifted into an area controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. Benavidez received their distress call and jumped aboard the next helicopter bound for the combat zone, destined to become a legend in the Special Operations community.

The incredible story of 5th Special Forces Group Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for acts of valor that defy the imagination. The incident for which he is remembered took place on May 2, 1968, near the Loc Ninh Special Forces camp in South Vietnamese territory close to the Cambodian border. A special operations reconnaissance team had been trapped in Cambodian territory, after being helilifted into an area controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. Benavidez received their distress call and jumped aboard the next helicopter bound for the combat zone, destined to become a legend in the Special Operations community.

Situated in Vietnam's Central Highlands region, on a remote hilltop less than 3 miles from the nearest point on the Cambodian border, artillery firebase Kate was a natural encampment spot for U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group detachments. On October 29, 1969, William Albracht took command of Firebase Kate, which was held by 27 American soldiers, most of them Green Berets, and 156 Montagnard militiamen. At dawn the next morning, three People's Army of Vietnam regiments crossed in from Cambodia and attacked. To create this well-written and detailed account of what took place next, Albracht and coauthor Marvin Wolf tracked down and interviewed many Firebase Kate battle survivors. The introduction alone is both fascinating and educational, containing a brief review of the Indochina conflict and the culture of the Montagnard tribesmen.

Situated in Vietnam's Central Highlands region, on a remote hilltop less than 3 miles from the nearest point on the Cambodian border, artillery firebase Kate was a natural encampment spot for U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group detachments. On October 29, 1969, William Albracht took command of Firebase Kate, which was held by 27 American soldiers, most of them Green Berets, and 156 Montagnard militiamen. At dawn the next morning, three People's Army of Vietnam regiments crossed in from Cambodia and attacked. To create this well-written and detailed account of what took place next, Albracht and coauthor Marvin Wolf tracked down and interviewed many Firebase Kate battle survivors. The introduction alone is both fascinating and educational, containing a brief review of the Indochina conflict and the culture of the Montagnard tribesmen.

Nick Brokhausen's first-hand accounts of his experiences are quite popular, thanks to his insights into the fantastically hazardous lives of U.S. special operations troops, his support and admiration for his team members, and thanks to the fact that the man can write. His descriptions are colorful, imaginative and deeply personal. The MACV-SOG had three major command and control detachments; one in each of the northern, central and southern regions of South Vietnam. Brokhausen was for the most part based in the north, where regular North Vietnamese army units had a relatively heavy presence. His reconnaissance teams, consisting primarily of Montagnard tribesmen, would be helicoptered into those areas in order to gather intelligence.

Nick Brokhausen's first-hand accounts of his experiences are quite popular, thanks to his insights into the fantastically hazardous lives of U.S. special operations troops, his support and admiration for his team members, and thanks to the fact that the man can write. His descriptions are colorful, imaginative and deeply personal. The MACV-SOG had three major command and control detachments; one in each of the northern, central and southern regions of South Vietnam. Brokhausen was for the most part based in the north, where regular North Vietnamese army units had a relatively heavy presence. His reconnaissance teams, consisting primarily of Montagnard tribesmen, would be helicoptered into those areas in order to gather intelligence.

SOG Chronicles: Volume One
By John Stryker Meyer

John Stryker Meyer served one and a half years the MACV-SOG and left Vietnam in April 1970. Most this book is dedicated to Operation Tailwind, a covert incursion deep into southeastern Laos which took place in September 1970. 16 Green Berets took part in that mission and all were wounded during four days of nearly constant combat. They were accompanied by 110 Montagnards, of whom 3 were killed in action and 33 were wounded. Nearly 30 years later, a CNN report called "Valley of Death" was dedicated to Operation Tailwind, wherein it was alleged that war crimes had been committed. Chapter 8 of SOG Chronicles is dedicated to that report, which Meyers describes as "a horrific case of inaccurate reporting".

John Stryker Meyer served one and a half years the MACV-SOG and left Vietnam in April 1970. Most this book is dedicated to Operation Tailwind, a covert incursion deep into southeastern Laos which took place in September 1970. 16 Green Berets took part in that mission and all were wounded during four days of nearly constant combat. They were accompanied by 110 Montagnards, of whom 3 were killed in action and 33 were wounded. Nearly 30 years later, a CNN report called "Valley of Death" was dedicated to Operation Tailwind, wherein it was alleged that war crimes had been committed. Chapter 8 of SOG Chronicles is dedicated to that report, which Meyers describes as "a horrific case of inaccurate reporting".

John L. Plaster served three one-year tours in Southeast Asia with the MACV-SOG, leading highly classified intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance teams in areas of Laos and Cambodia controlled by the North Vietnamese Army. Plaster participated in 22 cross-border missions, including a nighttime ambush of a North Vietnamese truck convoy and the seizure in Laos of an important enemy. Secret Commandos is a combat-heavy, laudatory and comprehensive examination of the role played by the Vietnam War's greatest unsung heroes, the special operations soldiers of the MACV-SOG, giving a superb and compelling account of their enormous contribution.

John L. Plaster served three one-year tours in Southeast Asia with the MACV-SOG, leading highly classified intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance teams in areas of Laos and Cambodia controlled by the North Vietnamese Army. Plaster participated in 22 cross-border missions, including a nighttime ambush of a North Vietnamese truck convoy and the seizure in Laos of an important enemy. Secret Commandos is a combat-heavy, laudatory and comprehensive examination of the role played by the Vietnam War's greatest unsung heroes, the special operations soldiers of the MACV-SOG, giving a superb and compelling account of their enormous contribution.

Coauthors John "Tilt" Meyer and John E. Peters are both former Green Berets who served with the MACV-SOG. Their book contains numerous first-person accounts of chilling encounters with hostile forces behind enemy lines. By 1968, during and after which both coauthors were in Vietnam, the North Vietnamese Army had become well aware of the presence of MACV-SOG teams and had dedicated personnel to the task of seeking out and eliminating them. One of the most compelling stories in this book concerns the night of August 23, 1968, when seventeen U.S. Special Forces Soldiers were killed in the MACV-SOG Command and Control North outpost in Da Nang, when three North Vietnamese sapper companies mounted a daring infiltration into the camp.

Coauthors John "Tilt" Meyer and John E. Peters are both former Green Berets who served with the MACV-SOG. Their book contains numerous first-person accounts of chilling encounters with hostile forces behind enemy lines. By 1968, during and after which both coauthors were in Vietnam, the North Vietnamese Army had become well aware of the presence of MACV-SOG teams and had dedicated personnel to the task of seeking out and eliminating them. One of the most compelling stories in this book concerns the night of August 23, 1968, when seventeen U.S. Special Forces Soldiers were killed in the MACV-SOG Command and Control North outpost in Da Nang, when three North Vietnamese sapper companies mounted a daring infiltration into the camp.