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Vietnam

Home > Vietnam

The U.S. Army Special Forces had a 14-year long history of involvement in Vietnam. The first members of Special Forces to serve in Vietnam were from the 14th Special Forces Operational Detachment. This 16-man detachment entered Vietnam in 1956 to train a cadre of Vietnamese Spcial Forces teams. The first Special Forces Soldier to die in Vietnam (1956) was Captain harry G. Cramer, Jr. Throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s many Special Forces detachments would deploy to South Vietnam.

5th Special Forces Group. In September 1964, the 5th Special Forces Group set up its headquarters in Nha Trang. The 5th Group would stay in Vietnam until it re-deployed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1971.


Special Forces Camps in Vietnam

List of Special Forces Camps, 1961-1971, Center for Military History, U.S. Army
www.history.army.mil/books/Vietnam/90-23/90-23ac.htm


Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG)

U.S. Army Special Forces ODAs, assigned to the CIA's cover organization, MAAG's Combined Studies Division (CSD), provided support in the form of training and advising to Montenard villagers belonging to the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) program. Teh program began in 1961. The belief of the CIA and military at the time was that a paramilitary force of minorities in the central highlands would expand South Vietnam's counterinsurgency efforts into remote areas.

Buon Enao Experiment. The forerunner to the CIDG program was an experiment in village defense conducted in the Central Highlands village of Buon Enao.

Village Defense Program (VDP). CIDG was originally called the Village Defense Program - the name was changed to CIDG when MAAG, Vietnam was restructured and changed its name to the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV).

In July 1962 U.S. DoD directed that all overt Special Forces paramilitary activities be transferred from the CIA to MACV. 1.

Piasecki, Eugene G. "Civilian Irregular Defense Group: The First Years: 1961-1967", Veritas, Vol. 5, No. 4, posted on website of Small Wars Journal.
http://smallwarsjournal.com/documents/cidgprogram.pdf


Websites with Information about Special Forces in Vietnam

MAC V SOG Special Forces History. A comprehensive website providing information, photos, and more about Special Forces in Vietnam.
www.specialforceshistory.com

Vietnam - Army Special Operaions by GlobalSecurity.org
www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/arsoc-history4.htm

Project Delta, Detachment B-52. The small clandestine organization of about 100 Special Forces Soldiers proved to be one of the most successful special reconnaissance operations of the Vietnam War. The unit was formed in May 1964 as a covert organization; and it lasted for about six years - deactivating in July 1970. It was tasked with training the Civilian Irregular Defense Group and the South Vietnamese Special Forces (known as Luc Luong Dac Biet) in conducting long-range reconnaissance patrols deep in enemy territory. The activities of Project Delta were classified until years after the wars conclusion. About 600 men total served in Project Delta.
www.projectdelta.net

Running Agents into North Vietnam. There were a number of programs mounted by the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Army Special Forces to infilitratrate intelligence agents and resistance fighters into North Vietnam. Most of these were unsuccessful and resulted in the capture and execution of the operatives. Some were 'turned' by the North Vietnamese intelligence service and used as 'doubles'. 2. 


Publications about Special Forces in Vietnam

Department of the Army, Vietnam Studies: U.S. Army Special Forces 1961-1971, CMH Publication 90-23, Washington, D.C. 1989 (First Printed, 1973).
www.history.army.mil/books/Vietnam/90-23/90-23C.htm

Department of the Army, US Army Special Forces and Similar Internal Defense Advisory Operations in Mainland Southeast Asia, 1962-1967 (U), AD502694, Research Analysis Corporation Technical Paper RAC-TP-354, McLean, Virginia, June 1969.
http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/ . . . /438.pdf

White House, Guerrilla Operations in Viet-Minh Territory, National Security Action Memoradum No 26, March 9, 1961. President Kennedy directed the DoD and CIA to launch guerrilla operations in Viet-Minh territory at the earliest possible time. NSAM No 26 posted on the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/T6F6HW7rs0i_yrHDA0I4vg.aspx



Endnotes

1. This was directed in National Security Action Memoradum Number 57: responsibility of Paramilitary Operations, June 28, 1961.
www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/0HL2ndLn7UapKJRwZ1H2XQ.aspx

2. On the turning of intelligence operatives by the North Vietnamese read "New Vietnam Spy Tale Sheds Light on How the U.S. Lost the War", Newsweek, by Jeff Stein, April 30, 2015.
www.newsweek.com/vietnam-cia-40th-anniversary-327033

 

 


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