nice story?Those NVA dudes were ruthless.I saw a special on the history channel about a group of ex raven pilots and former MACV-SOG who went back to South East asia to meet up with nungs they had fought with in the war.Very touching stuff
Rod Macon served three tours with Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Special Operations Group, and was wounded three times.
“Getting to Nam was no express trip for this soldier. Before I got the order for
my trans-Pacific excursion, I’d worked my way through over two-and-a-half
years in training. From Basic and Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Jackson,
South Carolina, through the NCO Academy, jump school and Ranger School
at Fort Benning, I’d sweated up to the JFK Special Warfare School, Fort Bragg.
At Bragg I qualified in guerrilla warfare, small arms and counter-intelligence
I finally made it to Vietnam, in November 1971. From there I was sent to Da Nang,
where I was attached to G Company rangers for my preliminary in-country
training on reconnaissance ops. Then it was a step up to MACV Special Operations
Group CNN (Command and Control North), which ran all clandestine ops in I
Corps, Northern Laos and North Vietnam.
Most of our external missions were quick in-and-out recons to locate enemy
concentrations and set up standard airstrikes or B-52 Arc Light raids. We were
also tasked with assassinating high-level Viet Cong or NVA officials or officers.
We inherited this after the demise of the CIA’s Phoenix Program. The Agency
still had excellent on-the-ground assets in the North Vietnamese local govern-
ments, as well as in Laos and South Vietnamese villages. If the Agency guys got
word, for example, that a couple of NVA colonels were coming down near the
border for an inspection or planning session, we’d go in and try to get them.
Although I was on two ops into the Parrot’s Beak area in Cambodia, as well as
a few into North Vietnam, most of my external operations were in Laos. My
deepest penetration was about 20 klicks into Laos for an assassination mission,
which turned into a complete screw-up. We’d hit a heavy contact and were
trying to get away when I stopped to give covering fire and was overrun by the
NVA. This NVA actually took me out with the butt of his AK-47. He laid me
out cold but must have decided I was dead, because he left me there. If it hadn’t
been for one of our Nungs who came back for me, I probably wouldn’t be here
We used the Nungs a lot. They were definitely some bad dudes you didn’t want
to mess with. Real pros. They were also unbelievably loyal and trust-worthy-
there were a number of occasions when they went back into serious Indian
country to rescue wounded Americans.
Not long before the Vietnamese Tet holiday in 1971, we received intelligence
that NVA and local Viet Cong forces were building up strength at a place less
than 10 klicks inside Laos. My team- Recon Team “Python”-was tasked with
going in to check things out. The afternoon before, we received a briefing from
one of the Agency people assigned to us. He told us that there was an obvious
build-up of forces, but no-one knew why. Our job was to determine whether
the NVA were there to supply the Viet Cong, or to assist them on ops. As with
most missions of this kind, it was emphasized that it was strictly a recon; we were
not-repeat not- to make contact.
After the briefing, we pulled our equipment and went over the operation in detail.
Even though we would make every effort to avoid contact, we still went in loaded
for bear. My personal weapons included a Swedish K sub-machine gun, a sawn-
off 12-gauge pump shot-gun shoved down the top of my rucksack with 24 rounds
of OO buckshot and 10 “flechette” rounds, a Browning High Power and my Gerber
fighting knife. I also carried two Claymores, two pounds of C4 plastic explosive,
six frag and two concussion grenades, two white phos grenades and two smoke
grenades, plus a bundle of canteens.
We each had our personal first aid kits and seven packs of freeze-dried LURP rations-
one pack per day-and underneath the rucks we wore STABO extraction harnesses.
This all came to about 120 pounds. At the time, I only weighed 148 pounds soaking
Each team was basically divided into two. If our mission was compromised by a contact
or had been spotted, one half would take off for the extraction point while the other half
would try to disappear and continue the mission. It was a tactic that worked pretty well
We boarded our slicks and departed around 0330 the next morning and flew to our
Forward Operating Base (FOB) near the Cau Viet River, northwest of Khe Sanh. There
were four slicks and two gunships riding shot-gun. Another slick-and-gunship team broke
off before we reached the border and flew to another location a few klicks the other side
of where the Viet Cong-NVA force was reported to be. Without being too obvious about
it, they tried to get themselves spotted. The idea was that they’d be our decoys and direct
any unwanted attention away from us.
The insertion went smooth as honey. We were on the ground and already setting up a
perimeter before the pilots were pulling collective to get out of there. It was still 30
minutes before sunrise and as soon as the slicks were gone and we decided there was
no-one waiting for us, we checked our equipment and maps and moved out.
For the next four or five hours, everything was still going smooth. I was working trail
behind my half of the team when we hit an old French logging road. The forward half
of the team moved in ones and twos across the road. As soon as they got across, the
whole world opened up on us.
We hit the ground and returned fire with everything we had. From the volume of fire
coming at us, we knew we’d hit something big and that there was no percentage in
When they sprang the ambush, all our training and experience went into the automatic
mode. My half of the team laid down maximum covering fire so the first half could get
back across the road. As soon as they across, they went through our position and set
up covering fire behind us. We’d then withdraw back through their position and lay
down covering fire for them. This way, we could keep the enemy under constant fire
while we put some distance between us and them.
The team leader was already on the radio to our FOB radio relay team, to advise that
we needed immediate air support and extraction. By this time, we had two Nungs KIA
plus two Nungs and two Americas wounded. We were withdrawing as fast as possible,
having already dumped our rucks and any other non-essential equipment.
The trail half of the team would set Claymores, running the tripwires across our tracks.
As soon as the enemy tripped one, we’d lay into them hard and start running again.
I suppose the one thing in the back of our minds was getting captured. Capture by the
NVA wouldn’t be pleasant, but if the Viet Cong got us….they had very special treat-
ment for any SOG team member. We once found two of our people they’d captured.
They’d been strung up by their ankles, gutted and their genitals had been cut off and
stuck in their mouths. We had no intention of letting them get their hands on us.
Soon our radio relay team called back to say that not only were the extraction slicks
en route, but that it was “no sweat” on the air support-we had two F4s in-bound at
that time. We called them, using our callsign “Dirty Trick”. The flight leader’s voice
coming back at us was pure heaven.
We were still moving as fast as we could, and the bad guys were right on our butts.
We hit an open area and as soon as we were across it, stopped and laid everything
we had into the other side. About that time we saw the two F4’s.
The first F4 came in fast and low, releasing his entire load of Delta twos-500 pounders-
a little west of where we wanted. About 10 seconds later, the second F4 put half his
load right on target. Before the smoke had cleared, we were running again, beating
feet through the woods as fast we could go. By now, we had been running and fighting
for over two hours. We went straight past our primary extraction point, hoping to give
the people behind us a false indication, and humped hard for the second.
At the second extraction point, the slicks came in hot and our people were diving on
board before the skids even touched the ground. Heavy fire was already coming from
the treeline to our left and one of the slicks was hit hard and went in, the pilot and crew-
chief both dead. Some of us got to the Huey-which was already starting to burn-and
got the co-pilot and door gunner out while the four gunships riding shot-gun for the
extraction opened up on the treeline.
I was the last man on the last slick and I was hollering GO! GO! GO! As I dived through
the door. As the pilot was getting us out of there, we could feel and hear rounds going
through the fuselage and tail. He kept the nose down, dragging the skids through the
tree tops and going balls to the wall until we were out of range. Only then could we
take stock of our losses. Incredibly, we had no more wounded.
Intelligence later learned that instead of being inserted the planned eight to 10 klicks
from the suspected Viet Con-NVA concentration, we’d actually landed about one-
and-a-half klicks from two reinforced NVA battalions. The only things that saved
us were experience, a lot of hard fighting and lady luck”.
nice story?Those NVA dudes were ruthless.I saw a special on the history channel about a group of ex raven pilots and former MACV-SOG who went back to South East asia to meet up with nungs they had fought with in the war.Very touching stuff
I have read from several books that the Nungs are exceptional warriors/mercenaries. They must be really good because, It's mentioned somewhere that even the Navy SEALS advisors used them as bodyguards. Does anyone knows a good book which solely deals with the Nungs?
I think that SOG actually stands for "Studies and Observations Group"...calling it Special Ops is a common mistake made by posers...
MACV-Studies and Observation Group was the official title of the organization to mask the true nature of it's operations. It was inOriginally Posted by Maj C
fact a "Special Operations Group". Please clarify what you mean
by a "common mistake by posers".
MACV-SOG was the joint service high command unconventional-warfare task force engaged in highly classified clandestine opera*tions throughout Southeast Asia. It was given the title "Studies & Observation Group" as a cover. The joint staff was allegedly performing an analysis of the lessons learned to that point in the Vietnam War, but it was actually a special operations group with distinct command decision authority.
In 1958 the South Vietnamese government created a secret special service directly under their president, which was re-designated the Vietnamese Special Forces Command in 1963. Special operations were conducted by this branch. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) supported and financed the operations. In April 1964 the government of South Vietnam created the Special Exploitation Service to take over these operations, whereupon MACV-SOG was established to assume the CIA's job of assisting, advising and supporting the new organization in the conduct of highly classified sabotage and psychological and special operations in North and South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and southern China. MACV-SOG and the Special Exploitation Service (SES) were activated simultaneously. In September 1967 the South Vietnamese renamed the SES the Strategic Technical Directorate. With the draw down in U.S. personnel and operations, MACV-SOG was deactivated on 30 April 1972 and the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team 158 was activated 1 May 1972 to take its place. This team was subsequently deactivated on 12 March 1973, and no other U.S. headquarters took its place.
Originally headquartered in Cholon, it moved to Saigon in '1966. However, its air assets (Air Studies Group) were based at Nha Trang and its navy assets (Maritime Studies Group) were based at DaNang with its original Forward Operations Base (FOB 1). The Ground Studies Group launch sites were initially located at Hue-Phu Bai, Khe Sanh, Kham Duc and near Kontum. The MACV-SOG training center and airborne operations group were at Long Thanh. A Psychological Studies Group was located in Saigon with antenna stations at Hue and Tay Ninh.
MACV-SOG was assigned about 2,000 Americans, mostly U.S. Special Forces, and over 8,009 highly trained indigenous troops.
The U.S. Navy resources included SEAL's, Vietnamese Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) and fast patrol boats. Ground forces included army military intelligence, psychological operations and some 76 ground RT mobile-launch teams, later MACV-SOG reorganized its ground strike elements into three field commands; Command and Control South, Central and North (CCS, CCC and CCN).
MACV-SOG had five primary responsibilities and the capability to undertake additional special missions as required. Primary responsibilities included: (1) Cross-border operations regularly conducted to disrupt the VC, Khmer Rouge, Pathet Lao and NVA in their own territories; (2) Keeping track of all imprisoned and missing Americans and conducting raids to assist and free them as part of the Escape and Evasion (E & E) mission for all captured U.S. personnel and downed airmen; (3) Training and dispatching agents into North Vietnam to run resistance movement opera*tions; (4) "Black" psychological operations, such as establishing false (notional} NVA broadcasting stations inside North Vietnam; (4) "Gray" psychological operations as typified by the Hue- Phu Bai propaganda transmitter. MACV-SOG was also entrusted with specific tasks such as kidnapping, assassination, insertion of rigged mortar rounds into the enemy ammunition supply system (which were set to explode and destroy their crews upon use) and retrieval of sensitive documents and equipment if lost or captured through enemy action. MACV-SOG was often able to use the intelligence it gathered for its own internal purposes as well as for high command special activities.
Command and Control North (CCN) was formed by MACV-SOG in late 1967 as an expansion of its Da Nang Forward Operations Base (FOB) which included launch sites established as early as 1964 at Hue-Phu Bai, Khe Sanh and Kham Duc, CCN, always the largest of the three MACV-SOG field commands, was commanded by a lieutenant colonel. It was assigned conduct of classified special unconventional warfare missions into Laos and North Vietnam.
CCN was organized along the lines of CCC and was composed of Spike recon teams (RT), Hatchet forces and lettered SLAM companies. Missions into North Vietnam were initiated as early 1 February 1964 under OPLAN 34A. Operations into Laos commenced in September 1965 as part of Operation SHINING BRASS, renamed PRAIRIE FIRE in 1968. By this time MACV-SOG had at its disposal two battalions of American-led Nung tribesmen as reaction forces capable of performing large combat missions.
In 1971 the Laotian operations were given the code name PHU DUNG, and in March of that year MACV-SOG created Task Force I Advisory Element to replace its three field commands. This task force was located at DaNang.
SOG was given the mission to do reconnaissance missions in Laos and Cambodia, dating back to 1964. Missions included road/trail/river watches, prisoner snatches, interdictions, sensor implants, wire taps, to salting cache sites with "bad" ammo, and counterfeit monies, among other thing. The core of the ground missions was based around men from the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Reconnaissance teams (RT's) were usually composed of 12-13 men. 3 US, and the remainder were indigenous, usually Nungs, Montagnard's, Cambodians, or Vietnamese. These were usually mercenaries, recruited and paid by SOG, and commanded y US team leaders.
SOG was a joint services mission, therefore other services were tasked to provide assets to support these missions.
not implying you are a poser but that many of the self proclaimed "nam" vets/special forces vets will not know that the official name was Studies and Observation Group and will assume it stands for Spec Ops...
No worries...your input is welcome.Originally Posted by Maj C
seems that u have special taste for MACVSOG, I think that MACVSOG is one of the best task forces also sf ever built. But I think that CCN of MACVSOG was assigned with most dangerous missions and conducted some black ops. They were the elite one. btw, do u have any good photos about MACVSOG. I got some and I can post them and if u have ,pls post them.
If ever a story of unsung heroes needed to be told, it is the operations of the Military Assistance Command-Vietnam, Studies and Observation Group. The self-imposed limitsOriginally Posted by iflu
of the organization (operational depth it could go into a denied country) high casualties,
and evidence that MACV-SOG was penetrated by North Vietnamese intelligence agents
curtailed what could have been a triumph of special operations doctrine. Please post
any individual or team photos you have.
"THE DAY THE MOUSE ROARED"
" It was a shot in the arm, which is better than a shot in the head" (1)Better known as "The Wound"
The following story is part of the collective history of VMO-3. It is also an answer to my relentless and often annoying pursuit for outstanding material. The author **** Moskun, who shall remain nameless, finally agreed to write this only after assurances that it would not be published. Any errors or omissions are my responsibility. Any laundry bills are the authors.
VMO-3, Phu Bai, fall 1967. A correspondent from Stars and Stripes came looking to interview "Mouse". The story was he had captured a North Vietnamese soldier in the field. A rare occurrence for a huey gun ship crew chief. His version was never published in the Stars and Stripes. Mouse didn’t have the ability to relate the facts of the incident without a lot of embarrassment and awkward jokes. Mouse directed the correspondent to "Saint" who also took part in the capture. (2) This is Mouse’s version 33 years later.
The purpose of our single gun ship mission, was to be an observation platform, a containment element and if necessary cover fire for a squad of Marines who were sweeping the length of a small peninsula jetting into a bay of the South China Sea. They were checking the locals and looking for targets of opportunity, a routine assignment for them.
After arriving on station it didn’t take long for us to spot a 20-foot canoe leaving the shore opposite from the sweeping Marines. Major S (the pilot) maneuvered the huey near the canoe. We waved to the elderly couple, motioning them back towards the shore. They smiled and waved back. Major S circled and flew lower. I pointed to them and then pointed back to the shore. The Mamasan shook her head "no". I told Major S, "I don’t think they want to do it". The Major admonished me for taking our assignment too lightly. We circled around one more time. The Major asked me to fire a couple of rounds in front of the canoe with the door gun. I was surprised and amazed by the waterspouts the bullets made. They must have been 10- feet tall. I also remember the expression on Mamasan face. It wasn’t fear or terror that I saw. It was more like anger or great disappointment. I realized that maybe for the first time in country, I had just shot towards an innocent. The canoe began to turn around. The Major flew us back down the middle of the peninsula toward the Marines.
We zigzagged just over the trees when we spotted a bad guy. I think the maneuvering spooked him into running. Major S pulled up hard, swung to the right and slid the huey back down towards him. He appeared to throw away a rifle in some bushes, then quickly doubled backed under us. We circled for another run. By now he was about half way across a rice paddy heading for a thicker tree line. I suppose it was during this time that Major S thought we could capture the guy. The Major came in close and fast trying to knock him down with the skids (huey’s don’t have wheels). It was great fun but it didn’t work. Splashing through the mud, the bad guy was getting nearer the trees. After another attempt at knocking him down on his keister, Major S slid the huey to the ground within arms reach of the bad guy and said to us, "go get ‘em". The bad guy was next to Saint, (the door gunner). Saint leaped from the huey toward him. He would have gotten him if it weren’t for the 6-foot safety belt still attached to his waist. Saint doubled up and fell to the rice patty. It was a dramatic effort, but not a pretty sight.
Seeing him on the ground reminded me to unbuckle my belt and take off my helmet. By the time I jumped out of the cabin the bad guy had made it through the trees. Saint was up and running after him. It was then that I realized we didn’t have weapons. I reached back for my M14 and tried to pull it out from underneath the bench seat. Most crew chiefs kept a mess of jumbled up gear under this seat. I tugged a couple of times but the rifle wasn’t coming out. I reached for the next thing I saw, the survival hatchet, it’s an angry looking tool about 18" long. I ran towards the place in the tree line where Saint and the bad guy had disappeared. Wondering all the while "what was I going to do with the hatchet?" Having made to the other side I saw Saint and the bad guy running along a small dike separating two fields. Saint might have been 15 yards behind the bad guy and I might have been another 30 behind Saint. It turns out; we were now making great silhouettes for the squad of Marines. Remember them? They may have been 100 yards to our right. Mud began splashing around me. I felt something hit my arm. I thought it was a rock. I spun around to see who had thrown it. Then I saw the squad. They were in line, standing and kneeling shooting at us. Like the Mamasan earlier in the canoe I got pissed. Shouted some obscenities, flipped them off but kept running. I knew they were shooting but it never occurred that they were shooting at Saint and me. We were young.
We had probably run 75 to100 yards. Saint and the bad guy were slowing down. The Marines had hit the bad guy in the right side of his rib cage. The 40-pound standard issue aviation flack vest Saint was wearing began taking its toll. He was no longer closing the gap. I had made up most of distance by running hard and carrying less weight. I only wore the front plate of the flack vest. It was the custom for some of our crew chiefs at this time to take the back armored plate out and sit on it during flight.
Soon, the three of us made it to the beach, out of sight from the shooters. With Saint hard on his heals the bad guy chose to swim for it. I saw him wade into South China Sea and disappear under the waves. Saint jumped in immediately after and sank like a rock, this time it was the flack vest that did him in. I waded out waist deep, seeing an occasional arm and leg fly up from under the bubbling foam. I reached down with both hands and pulled up a collar and a head of hair. The collar belonged to Saint. He took a long deep breath. The head of hair belonged to the bad guy. I began pulling them both to the shore when the bad guy tried to take off. We ended up on sand wrestling. Eventually I was sitting on his chest strangling him when he stopped resisting and relaxed. (3) I remember thinking, what was I supposed to do now? Fear set in; I began tearing off his shirt looking for weapons. I was sure he had hand grenades strapped to his chest ready to go off. Didn’t find any, just his wound. About this time the squad of Marines showed up. A couple of them took custody of the bad guy. A Sergeant looked at us as if we were two drowned rats that came back from the dead. He explained; "you guys are lucky that you weren’t killed, some of our M16’s jam". This was the time period when M16’s were misfiring in the field. (4) A huey from VMO-6 landed near by, loaded up the bad guy and flew off. What were they doing here I thought? This was our territory, even if we are the junior squadron. How come we didn’t get to take the bad guy in? Shortly afterwards our bird landed. Saint and I climbed aboard, strapped our selves in and left the squad of Marines crouching from the rotor wash. (5)
We were still soaking wet. Saint and I looked at each other with an odd stare. We had just done something strange and goofy and it was just beginning to sink in. It was now that Saint noticed blood on the bulkhead behind me. He told me I was bleeding. I looked over my shoulder and saw the smear. Blood was also running down my arm into my glove. "The S.O.B. shot me! I said to the Major." The huey wobbled when the officers turned around to see what the hell was going on. I hadn’t made myself clear, Saint didn’t shoot me. We got back to the base. My replacement was waiting and I went to "Delta" med. and got sewed up. (6)
The above event is pretty much the truth as I remembered it, except for those parts that are not. Today it’s a story that has grown in the telling by some. I haven’t the heart to change their minds. To Saint and all of those who took part, please feel free to make an addendum.
1) The quote is part of a note sent to me by Richard Armour, (writer and humorist) Feb. 20, 1985. It has nothing to do with this event; it just seemed to fit.
2) Saint’s version was also published in Leatherneck. Probably late 1967 or 1968.
3) I was wearing a good luck charm around my neck. A Buddhist Monk in Thailand gave it to me a week earlier. It was dangling out of my flight suit in the face of the bad guy. I’m convinced that he thought I was a Buddhist and stopped fighting. OK, maybe he didn’t think that but that’s what I tell everyone.
4) One report I read in the late 70’s said the cause was slow burning gunpowder. The bullets were manufactured with the wrong specs. I don’t know if this was true but I hope not.
5) I think the ground units assigned to this area late1967 were 1st battalion 4th Marines (the China Marines), the 2nd and 3rd battalions 26th Marines. I owe some of you (expletive-deleted) guys a bunch of beer "because you shot so bad". You can claim it any time from me at the "scarface" hooch during the Pop A Smoke reunions.
6) The wound was a three-inch gash above my right elbow. What I found interesting was not the nick in the arm but how small the hole was in the flight suit. It was smaller than a pea. I never understood the damage relationship. Also, I had borrowed Zack’s flight suit on that day. He laments in his book "FAREWELL DARKNESS" accusing me of not washing it afterwards. I wrote to him recently "I don’t remember washing anything during that year."[/b]
Great story Hist. Anyways for Deltaniner I've got two books (not really about nungs specifically).Originally Posted by Delta Niner
1. Blackjack 34: Story about the Mobile Guerilla force in a huge arse firefight. The author was an SF advisor to a bunch of Cambodians who he had high respect for. The bodes (as he called them) seriosly put the hurt on the VC/NVA.
2. Good to Go: Harry Constance a former SEAL was in the Phoenix Program where he led former PRUs, and ex-VC on numerous missions which are explained in detail in his book. The vietnamese he worked with were very trustworthy, and protected him whereever they went.
Thanks Devgru77Originally Posted by Devgru77
In the early '80s was a guy that ran the USN range down at Vieques named Walt Webb. Retired USMC 1stSgt, former Force Recon Marine. He was involved w/ PRUs in one of his tours in SVN and spoke highly of the Nungs. Said they were definitely guys you wanted on your side.