BILL PEARSON, FOB-4/CCN 67-68

JON POTTER, 1LT, B-50, CCS

Donald E. Zlotink, Major, SF (Ret) CCN 69

Roger Durant, 23 rd TASS  Weapons, March 1968- March 1969

Donald E. Zlotnik, Major, Special Forces (Ret.) AWARDS IN SF AND SOG

SFC E-7  William F. Stevens Jr.   91B4S,   Vietnam from 23 June 64 - 27 Feb 65.  SP-4 Jr Medic   MACVSOG    Long Thahn  (Bear Cat)  A-team # 212 TDY from Okinawa during 1964 - 1965.

LTC Fred Lindsey, Commander CCS Jan -Jul 1970

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------From: Bill Pearson <cre8ivid@gmail.com>
To: sog1rlnoe@aol.com

Hi Robert,

I came across your site last week and have spent some time looking over the pictures you have posted. Looks like most of them came after I left in March 69. Looking at the pictures brought back a lot of memories, as well as sadness. As you probably know there was a high attrition rate and I lost just about everyone who was close to me. August 23rd. put the final nail in the coffin.
From what I could gather you arrived in early 69. So on the lighter side, You may remember a yellow surf board and a small sunfish sailboat that was usually kept over in back of the infirmary / medical facility. Well the Doc, he was a captain and I can't remember his name, he stole the sailboat from China Beach RR center and later I drove down and made off with the surfboard. It kinda came naturally having grown up on the beaches of So. Calif.
Anyway,
I arrived in country in late 67, I think it was October - November.  A friend of mine and I had been spending time on an outpost West of the 5th headquarter as well as getting ourselves into trouble. We were at Nha Trang for awhile but were requesting transfer to CCN. Eventually we were assigned and arrived CCN, which at that time was down in Da Nang,  in January or February 68. My friend - Daniel Sandoval went on to Khe Sanh and I was assigned to FOB 4. I arrived in early 68 before they started building the new CCN headquarters facility. Khe Sanh was getting hammered and Danny was killed that April 68. Within a short time they pulled the plug on FOB 3 and moved everyone back to FOB 4.
As I have read over accounts others have put up on other web sites one thing is true, and that is security was not tight and there was far too much drinking. I had a lot of night duty and I would walk the perimeter and check the towers or bunkers and found everyone was sleeping - we used the Nungs for security. I actually walked out of the South front gate one night at about 2 AM. There were 2 gates, the main one on Hwy 1 where they checked everyone coming in and out and a lesser one on the South just before the road curved down around the base of marble mt. And the East gate opening to the beach. In any case I complained to Col. Overby and Maj. Brown as well as others but there appeared to be strong sense of false security.
One last thing, I have told people that Martha Rey had visited our camp and that she was one wild ass woman. One night during her visit she stormed into the room where my roommate Ray Sinkiewicz and I were sleeping. Naturally we were in the buff and all I remember is Martha's huge mouth screaming at us to come and party..
Again, Thanks for putting the site up. It helps me remember and honor my friends who died too young. I've attached a couple of pictures taken from the NE tower looking over the camp at sunset. I have a lot of pictures that I have been scanning into my computer in an attempt to save them from deteriorating. I also have some taken a couple of days after we were overran. I wasn't there that night, I was on an operation that was launched out of Phu Bai to some remote camp up near the boarder that I can't remember the name of. So If you want any to give a more accurate account let me know and I'll be happy to pass them on to you. Maybe it will help others to remember and heal from the past.

Best Regards,  Bill Pearson           cre8ivid@gmail.com

Pictures posted at PHOTO GALLERY BY BILL
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FROM: JON POTTER, 1LT, B-50, CCS

Robert: These are stories we laugh about when I talk to an Omega NCO, who is a dear friend.

 
1. One day I was driving the company jeep with two yard platoon leaders and an interpreter, as we were checking on the progress that our troops had made upgrading our camp defensive positions on the north and east walls/ sectors of the Omega compound. From out of nowhere we see a cow running with a rope dangling from around his neck to the ground with the Indig mess hall butcher running behind the cow in full pursuit with his butcher knife raised for the kill. The cow was making a fool out of butcher as it ran every time the butcher closed in for his final chop. After several minutes of sitting in the jeep watching this comical scene , the yard interpreter says- must be VC cow!  Act two soon started as our XO, a heavyset LTC, started in on the chase. The cow was still far too elusive for even an SF LTC, and; they looked rather funny running after the VC cow. Next thing I know is my CO is telling me to help as the cow is headed for the wire and mines. So the fun was over and one yard killed that dangerous VC. I guess the yard earned a John Kerry hero award?
 
2. We had an S-2 from OKI, who crawled the rafters one night playing Casper the Ghost. He said boo over the wrong person, but; it was taken as a joke.
 
3. I came back to CCS in early 69 one night with the FAC, and; met our new security company LT, who was also supposedly the procurement officer for the Indig mess hall. He had his wall laden with old VC weapons like the French used. I cannot recall the MATS nomenclature, but; he looked quit the hero. He was lighting a cigar with P note, and; I left thinking how the hell did we get him? He was a real comedy, and; in my opinion, he was an accident waiting to happen with those old weapons. Sure enough, I got a letter from a trusted friend, after I was out of Womack, that he had wounded himself.
 
These are the stories I like, as SF always has humor, too.
 
Jon (Potter)

Donald E. Zlotnik, Major, Special Forces (Ret.)
Angelwood Estate, 5855 Allentown Road, Allentown, Ohio 45807 zlotnikde@earthlink.net    567.712.0029
Author: “Eagles Cry Blood”; Survivor of Nam Series (Baptism, POW, Black Market, Court-Marshall); Fields of Honor series (MOH, DSC, SS, BS”V”, Soldier’s Medal)

Bob Noe!

I was referred to your website by a friend of mine. You have done an excellent job putting together the short blurbs on SOG KIAs—well done!

We served together at CCN. I recall you being with one of the Hatchet Platoons—under Captain Taylor(?) I was the logistics officer (reward job for doing good work elsewhere), on the CCN staff. It was a very interesting job in that I had the opportunity to sit in on all team briefings with Speedy Gaspard and I spent a lot of time reading the After Action reports in the TOC at night. Being in charge of re-supply and getting the best equipment available for the teams—I took my job seriously. I recall spending a few nights on RR Hickory and with the Launch Sites—in fact one of my best friends ran Quang Tri—Bill “Liam” Atkins. Bill and I went through training group together as enlisted men and ended up with the 173rd Abn Bde during Dak-To—Bill was an FO with the 4th Bn when they took Hill 875. He ended up with Sealous Scouts in Rhodesia and South Africa. He got in trouble in England and spent seven years in a British Prison. Nasty stuff.

Another CCN NCO has his own website—“The List.” Sadly there is no real control as to the membership, except by “Vetting” and that process can allow the wrong crowd to gain control.

I read on your website where CCN RECON “confirmed” the NVA had 122mm gun positions dug into the east side of Co Roc Mountain—actually that is a myth. I don’t know where that started, unless it was with the Marines at Khe Shan when they were under siege. The NVA had 122mm cannon—but they had them about 5500 meters WEST of Co Roc and when they fired them toward Khe Shan it SOUNDED like they were coming from the face of the mountain but they were actually rounds coming over the “lip” of the mountain.

Before I join CCN in October 1969, I was with the 5th Division in Quang Tri—as an artillery commissioned officer back then there wasn’t an SF branch and we had to maintain proficiency in both SF and Artillery—anyway, I formed a special unit called Project Death Watch. I designed, trained, implemented and led the teams of one and two man “stay-behind” forward observers. I used my SF training and it paid off. The original plan was to leave a single man behind on a patrol who would hide and then call in artillery and air on LARGE NVA units. After a couple of missions, I decided a single man was just too stressful and doubled the men up, which worked perfectly.  In the past the RECON teams had to let large NVA units alone because it would have been suicide to engage. With my concept—the NVA didn’t know there was a man close by calling in air strikes and artillery—accurately. It was a highly successful program—My Point: During Task Force Remagan, an armored battalion with mech infantry attached and a 155 battery went back onto the Khe Shan plateau and my Death Watch teams went with them. I got permission from the TF commander to cross the Rao Quan (Xe Phon? Getting old.)River into Laos and my three man team reconned portions of the east wall of the mountain and the southern slope around to the back of Co Roc Mountain. We conformed there were no cave openings on the face of the mountain where a 122 could fire accurately and have a lateral/horizontal ability to adjust fire. Also when I returned to the base in Quang Tri—I met with marines who were there during the siege and none of them ever saw muzzle flashes on the face of the mountain during artillery attacks—day or night.

I believe it was in 1969 or 1970 a SOG team discovered a 122mm artillery battery in Laos near Co Roc and brought back a sight(?) from one of the guns.  So I thing the “Guns of Navarone” myth is false.

I see from your website you spent quite a bit of time at RR Hickory and Jon Caviani is your friend. I have always wondered how the NVA could POSSIBLY take RR Hickory with all the armament and defense equipment we had up there. To me it was one of the most defendable positions in all Vietnam and a platoon of Nungs in a stationary position—with overhead cover—are a mighty tough thing to dislodge. The only thing I can conclude is SOG decided to leave the area and abandon Hickory. Like I said earlier—I’ve spent time on Hickory and as the logistics officer knew the weapons inventory up there. Bill Atkins was a friend of Caviani's also and told me his version of the story.

Do you have a copy of the After Action reports on how Hickory fell? I would be interested in reading them. In 1974, when I was on BG Emerson’s staff at the USAJFKCMA—I was given an ASA report to read concerning RR Hickory by the G-3 who knew I had served with CCN—the ASA report was a copy of the NVA commander’s report on how he took Hickory. It was quite interesting at the time and was classified TOP SECRET because it contained some very sensitive information.

Anyway—it was informative reading items off your website—I remember the NCO drowning in the South China Sea. In fact I had just finished my run along the beach from CCN to the C-Team and back when they brought him out of the water.

There are a couple of areas dealing CCN I am highly interested in and if you have any FIRST HAND information—I’d appreciate setting it straight in my mind. I’ve’ heard stories --first the NVA infiltration of CCN in August 1968—as far as I am concerned THAT is a ballsy mission and its sad an NVA did it. When one thinks about what it took to walk in our front gate—kick ass leaving 16 SF dead and leave with most of your men—we’d give a MOH for something like that and make the man a legend. I contacted the Vietnamese Embassy and asked for information on the event, but they refuse to share it. Another one is the NVA HOSPITAL inside Marble Mountain that was there for 30 YEARS!—right under our noses at CCN!

What I have discovered over the years finding the TRUTH is very difficult, especially in well planned and manipulated reports designed to cover one’s ass with the intent to reap high rewards.

I worked with Bobby Blaterwick (S1) trying to get every man who crossed over into Laos on a mission—recon or Brightlight to receive an automatic Silver Star for their first mission. After having served with SF and line units in Vietnam (3 tours)—there is no doubt our operatives were some very brave men—but the problem with serving with brave men—what in a line unit would be considered heroic—was everyday stuff for our guys. Sadly—many SOG men left Vietnam with no valor awards and had to compete with line units after the war for promotions.

One thing I have learned over the years is as we get older the “dick measuring contests” get more intense and a lot of those competing in the contest demand using their own rulers—with the first four inches broken off. I guess that comes with getting old.

As for me—I served with some mighty fine men—many of them died during the war; Bill Martin, Jim Helton, Jerry Parmentier, Ron Fike, Ed Shubert, Mike Brown, Gordon Yntema and Rich Busenlhner—some the war screwed up so bad they never recovered.

Donald E. Zlotnik
7th Gp, A-253, A-426, CCN, USAJFKCMA

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Date: 8/2 1:56 PM From: jplaster@cheqnet.net
Edited:

 

Robert -

   
Was just looking on line to find a bit more about Donald Zlotnik, and came upon him declaring it a "myth" that the NVA had 122 mm guns in the face of Co Roc, which they fired into the Marine Combat Base at Khe Sanh.
 
.... when our teams reported the NVA firing from Co Roc, actually they were merely hearing the shells pass overhead, because (and he cites no source), the 122 mm guns really were a further 5+ kilometers west.
 
1. I looked up the data on the Soviet 122 mm gun and howitzer. Their maximum range (depending upon the type shell) is 19,500 - 20,000 meters. (19.5 to 20 kilometers) Looking at a map, the face of Co Roc was very near that distance from Khe Sanh, which means that is where the guns HAD to have been emplaced. If the guns had been an additional 5 kilometers west, their shells could not possibly have reached the Marine base.
 
2. Further, as one who personally heard enemy artillery firing in the field, I cannot imagine a SOG recon man confusing the whistling of a passing shell for the impressive muzzle blast of an artillery piece firing. There is no comparison.
 
De Oppresso Liber,
 
JOHN (Plaster)

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Subject:
Posting on your CCN site
Date: 9/18 3:41 PM From: zlotnikde@yahoo.com

NOTE: DON ZOLTNICK RESPONDED TO JOHN'S EMAIL ABOVE, I'VE EDITED IT AND PUBLISH IT HERE. THIS EDITED VERSION OF THE EMAIL DEALS WITH CO ROC; I'VE CHANGED IT FROM 1ST TO 3RD PERSON:

Don Zlotnik was commissioned in the artillery after having gone through SF Training Group as an enlisted man.. He submits the following regarding Co Roc and 122mm Howitzers being in caves:

There were a number of variations of the 122mm Howitzer with the most popular being the D-30 and M-30 models. The D-30 used rocket assisted ammunition to increase it range to 13.76 miles. He points out that we don’t really know which models the NVA used, but logic would say the older model M-30s with shorter barrels were easier to handle in the jungle. But it really doesn’t matter which model they used because the Battle of Khe Sahn was not the BASE CAMP alone but a complex series of mountain tops surrounding Khe Sahn the Marines occupied—basically the entire Khe Sahn Plateau was the battle zone. Don has extended period of time (3 months) in the Khe Sahn, RRS Hickory, the Xe Pon or the Rau Quan Rivers area.  he says he never said the 122’s in the Co Roc area were the ONLY 122s firing on Khe Sahn—it is assumed the NVA had various artillery and 122 ROCKET positions SURROUNDING Khe Sahn. The NVA could not risk having STATIONARY positions for their tube artillery—even inside a mountain. Co Roc was a GRANITE Mountain that had sustained B-52 attacks, rocket attacks and was constantly being observed—someone would have seen MUZZLE FLASHES during the course of the months long battle from the FACE of the mountain!  The Marine RECON teams close to the face of Co Roc, reporting artillery being fired, claimed it was coming from the TOP of Co Roc—the mountain, located in Laos, had a sheer cliff face pointed toward Vietnam but the backside was SLOPED into Laos—so an artillery battery could fire from the BASE of the Laotian side of Co-Roc and when the SOUND reached the top lip of the mountain and you were in Vietnam—it would sound like the howitzers were CLOSER than they actually were. That is why in counter battery fire—we never knocked out an NVA field artillery battery on Co-Roc.  TODAY—the Vietnam tour guides taking American GIs to Khe Sahn and Lang Vei will tell you there are no artillery caves on the face of Co Roc—if there WERE ANY, he states he thinks the Laotians would work out a deal to make a few bucks showing them off, like the Vietnamese do inside Marble Mountain showing off the NVA HOSPITAL that they operated there for 30 YEARS during the war with France and the USA or their tunnel networks in II CORPS!  To fire artillery piece INSIDE a cave and NOT injure your own crews would require a VERY big cave—or the barrel/muzzle had to be OUTSIDE the cave—again—muzzle flashes would give away the EXACT positions on the face of the mountain.

 

During his 31 months in Vietnam; he was “only’ the executive officer at Duc-Co when they were run out of the camp; he was “only” the executive office and then CAPO at My-An when they built that camp from the ground up; during the Battle for Dak-To he was “only” the S-2/AO for the 3/319th Artillery; during my tour with the 1/5th Mech in I CORPS, he was “only” a battery commander who successfully repelled a Sapper attack and designed, developed, implemented and lead two man “Stay-Behind” teams; at CCN, he was “only” the supply guy. he was the “only” a lot during my Vietnam tours,

 

Zoltnick: I rest my case.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEMO: During SOAR 2009 in Las Vegas, I spoke to a SF Lang Vei veteran who was there cir 1968 who related the following:  One member of the team would go to town and buy beer, one day, incoming caused him to break the beers he had, he was very pissed off and took a 106mm RR and fired it into the face of Co Roc and there was a large secondary explosion...RL Noe

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Roger Durant, 23 rd TASS  Weapons, March 1968- March 1969

Here is a letter from an AF guy who was not a SOGGER, but his unit from MKP did support some of our missions (e.g. Covey) - L. Payne  GL 1312
 

On Wed, 11/5/08, Rdclays@aol.com wrote:

Larry
Not being a SOGGER and don't ever claim to be. But do  have a story some of them could relate to.

Arrived at NKP March 1968 assigned to 23 TASS weapons shop. At that time they were fazing out 01 Birddog and replacing it with 02-A. It was late summer when the NCOIC came to myself and Jerry in the weapons shop with a project he wanted completed in a matter of hours not days.  It was the use of 2.75 rocket pods to drop food packets to troops on  the ground close to the trail (SOG). We went threw the pile of discarded rocket  launchers and pick out a couple that had no exterior damage. First was how to remove the tubes for a open cylinder to put packets in.
First one was crudely done with sludge hammer we started pounding on the front launcher tubes. The cast metal holding the seven tubes in place broke giving us our first access inside. We moved to the back of launcher started smashing that end until the casting  broke. Then we started tapping on one tube to move it. We used anything and  everything we could get our hands on the same size as the tube to punch it out.  We finally got all seven tubes out of the first pod then went for the second  pod. After feeling good about mission accomplished we were given sealed  dried fish packets to stuff all we could in the tubeless launcher. That call for finding where the nose cones went too that were call fairing  cones. They were bullet shaped to restrict airflow threw the launcher. They were only used on  the nose of launcher but we put one on each end to hold the cargo inside the launcher pod. Then added duck tape for extra security on keeping the cone in place during flight. We were told, pilot would make a simulated rocket pass in the process  drop the two inboard pods filled with dried fish packets. They would be recovered on the ground and mission that was short of rations could be extended. Being at NKP we know that you guys came in and out and 02's would be called if need to  bring in air support. We did not know who for sure was getting dried fish packets with US Government written at the bottom? Also wonder what they really tasted like as we had to account for ever one we placed into launcher pod. After the first ones we hammer must have worked as they asked for  more to be made. We went to the flight line 02 fix it shop and got them to wield  a steel rod to round flat metal just larger than the launcher tube was. It was simple with our new tube puncher to make discarded launcher tubes in to Fish tubes ready to be dropped.
   How many of you got them and how did they taste?
 
Roger Durant
23 rd TASS  Weapons
March 1968- March 1969
366th Gun Fighters
Da Nang March  1969-May 1969
Phu Cat May 1969-March 1970
TLC Brotherhood #337 "The Secret  War"
Life Member Air Commando Association
Always Double Tap!

(NOTE: I DIDN'T GET ANY OF THE TUBE LAUNCHED FISH, BUT ATE ENOUGH OF THEM AND THEY WERE NOT ALL THAT BAD AFTER YOU ACQUIRED THE TASTE--RLNOE)
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Donald E. Zlotnik, Major, Special Forces (Ret.) AWARDS IN SF AND SOG

Robert!

Bellow is a letter I wrote in response to questions from a CCS vet. If you like the content feel free to post it in your Letters Form Soggers section--again the truth concerning events needs to be told.

ZLOTNIK

Donald E. Zlotnik, Major, Special Forces (Ret.)

Ernie!

I’ve been thinking since your last email—obviously there were a number of you in CCS RECON who feel they’ve been screwed in the A&D arena and you’re justified in believing as you do. We all would have liked to having been recognized for what we did, especially now as old men…but fate had a way of fucking the just…during my watch, I have five Medal of Honor holders who I have called friend and been called friend in return…that is enough for me when I add in a dozen or so kindred spirits who SHOULD HAVE been awarded the MOH but died just doing their duty.

There is a long history though of friction between NCOs and officers in Special Forces that goes way back…

I arrived at Training Group in 1964, graduated from Training Group as a 05B and assigned to B Company in the 7th Group. We started Training Group wearing ranger caps with a blue ribbon around the base of the cap (B Company) and halfway through the school we were issued Green Berets (which did NOT make any of us happy because we hadn’t EARNED them yet.) We could only wear the SF crest w/no flash until we graduated. I remember every one of my NCOs and especially Sergeant Majors—who RAN everything I was familiar with. I cannot remember a single officer ever being involved in what we did. Oh—they were around—but those of us on teams dealt with the team sergeant and the SMs.

I was named “1965 Soldier-of-the-Year” in the 7th Group, which was quite an honor considering the completion. The title came with a beautiful SF gold ring with a red center stone and the choice of any military school I wanted. My sergeant major called me in and told me he had a friend over at HALO and he could get me in due to a cancellation. HALO at the time was the hottest school going in SF and was VERY difficult to get in. I told my SM I didn’t think I had the kohonies for HALO—not the jumping part—but the part of executing a HALO jump over North Vietnam jungles at night—that part. I took a lot of good natured ribbing for not having any “kohonies” from my peers and the SM called me in a few days later and told me I was going to OCS. I wasn’t very happy and told my SM I wanted to go to Vietnam. You see—at that time, the guys I hung around with felt we hadn't “earned” our Green Berets until we had at least one tour in Vietnam. We were VERY proud of that piece of headgear and spent months “shaping” (hot water to shrink it and then wearing it INSIDE the barracks until it dried repeating the process at least a dozen times) a beret to fit our head perfectly before wearing it in public. So you can image what we thought of officers wearing NEW berets with the side sticking straight out.

My SM won and I was sent to OCS—he told me the other 7th Group sergeant majors had talked and they were going to send six of us to OCS hoping we would end up as XOs on “A-Teams” in Vietnam. I think it was the beginning of the warrant officer concept of today—having “our own” as officers on the teams. I made it through the system and was one of the few SF enlisted to end up as the XO on A Teams in Vietnam—Duc-Co (A-256) and My-An (A-423)while the teams were very hot. Duc-Co was over run and we built My An from the ground up. The concept was good but the execution was rough. I wasn’t trusted by the team captain being ex-enlisted (a bit of jealousy there) and the enlisted members of the team didn’t know how to take me--still giving their loyalty to the team sergeant. Luckily—BOTH the team sergeants and I got along great and we accomplished a lot working together. But I noticed the team sergeants were walking a thin line with the other NCOs. It is a FACT Special Forces NCOs have always looked at their officers tongue in cheek. If the officer tried being their buddy—they didn’t respect them and if the officer tried being the BOSS—they didn’t respect them—and there was good reason behind the way they felt: Basically the NCOs were as or more qualified to LEAD an A Team as the officer was who slipped into a team for six months and moved on to staff or worse yet—back to his basic officer branch!

Now having written all that to make my point: MANY of the SF officers didn’t like the NCOs and vice versa—and the FIRST rule of awards and decorations, especially for the most coveted ones is: YOU MUST BE LIKED.

I know that sounds silly—but just take a minute to think about it. You cannot name a single DSC or MOH holder who was not well liked BEFORE they were recommended for the award—I’m NOT even implying a LITTLE bit they didn’t DESERVE the award—what I am saying is there were a hell of a lot of NCOs who DESERVED high valor awards but were NOT liked by their officers and therefore either got lower awards or nothing at all.

As I sit here writing I can think of DOZENS of cases—MSG Velasquez (sp) at A-426—he brought a company of Hoa-Hoa from our camp at 2AM to take the pressure off my patrol and saved our asses—I was with an ambush patrol (40 men) and three VC companies moved in to attack the new A Camp—what Velasquez did took BALLS—I put him in for a Silver Star—the camp commander, did not like Velasquez or me—and he tore up the recommendation.

There was a chart in the club at Can-To (C-Team) some of the NCOs had made from a piece of plywood. They listed a half-dozen officers BY NAME and drew boxes with the titles of the awards above the boxes from an ARCOM with “V” to the “Big One” (Thank God none of those phonies manipulated that award!) designated with a yellow “bomb blast” and when the officer “won” the award they put a check mark in their box—it was done to MOCK those six officers and those dumb SOBs actually thought they were being HONORED!!!

Sadly—the worm turned on us and back in the States those SAME officers who were wracking up a half-dozen Purple Hearts for elephant grass cuts and Silver Stars for mortar rounds going off in their camps—became HEROES—and any of us who tried “outing” them were looked upon as suffering from sour grapes and whining. We learned a nasty lesson.

The formula followed SF to SOG—the senior officers NEVER had a relationship with RECON or the Hatchet Force teams—and remember the first rule of A&D—it worked against the very men that made it possible for those phonies to get valor awards for themselves.

My point: You were not alone running ACROSS-THE-BORDER RECON and having to watch lesser men become "staff officer" heroes from your effort. WORSE yet—having to listen to them bad-mouth YOU to cover for their behavior. Ahhh—the worm does turn.

And one might wonder why I don’t attend SF gatherings or join chapters—like I wrote earlier, SF is an organization of very small cliques based on sharing combat together and serving on small teams—when half your teammates die in combat and another third suffered from wounds so bad they died as young men back in the States—there aren’t too many kindred spirits for me to talk to at those gatherings….but when I’m sitting on my well used bench next to my pond late at night drinking a cup of coffee with fire flies and bull frogs for company, I am visited by my war buddies and we talk…we talk of times gone bye and chuckle a little—the worm is still turning.

ZLOTNIK
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SFC E-7  William F. Stevens Jr.   91B4S,   Vietnam from 23 June 64 - 27 Feb 65.  SP-4 Jr Medic   MACVSOG    Long Thahn  A-team # 212 TDY from Okinawa during 1964 - 1965.

Dear Dr. Partin (John):  Thanks to you and Tom for the information!  I know you are very busy.  I will pass this info to Robert Noe.  You've given us some valuable leads for solving this "mystery."  Thanks again.  Put this on my tab.  Once again I am forever in your debt (five to ten minutes anyway, ha-ha).  Talk to you soon.  V/R  Steve

 
Stephen Howard,
Senior Consultant, Quality Quest Inc.
P.O. Box 20263, Tampa, FL 33622
Cell: (813) 767-8001; Fax: (813) 639-0110
 
In a message dated 5/29/2008 8:26:59 AM Eastern Daylight Time, partinj@socom.mil writes:

Steve,
See Tom's response below.  We don't have a lot of detailed tactical level data on Vietnam b/c we were not created until '87, as you know.
You might try USASOC/SWC Library and the SWC Special Warfare Museum. The museum tele # is 910-432-1533/4272.  Ms Roxanne Merritt (I think) is still the museum curator and has been for decades.  merrittr@soc.mil. Hope the folks at Bragg can help.
Best, John 

Dr. John W. Partin
USSOCOM
Command Historian
813-826-4433
DSN 299-4433

-----Original Message-----
From: Tait, Thomas R Mr CTR USSOCOM HQ
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 8:19 AM
To: Partin, John W Mr CIV USSOCOM HQ
Subject: RE: SOG III Corps Long Thahn (Bear Cat) - Seeking Information

Doc,

    Nothing specifically mentioning A-212, but Chapter 2 in John L. Plaster's book "SOG: The Secret Wars fo America's Commandos in Vietnam" is about Operation Shining Brass which involved volunteers from 1st SFG training on Okinawa in 1965 and then deploying to RVN to do recon with the Nungs.

Tom

-----Original Message-----
From: SPHoward@aol.com [mailto:SPHoward@aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 10:24 AM
To: SOG1RLNOE@aol.com; Partin, John W Mr CIV USSOCOM HQ
Cc: Howard, Stephen P CTR USSOCOM HQ
Subject: Re: SOG III Corps Long Thahn (Bear Cat) - Seeking Information

Doc Partin:  Happy Tuesday!!  Do you and/or your team have any information/insights on this ODA in the history archives?  If not, any
suggestions where we could look for info?  Have a great SOCOM day!  V/R
Steve Howard

Stephen Howard,
Senior Consultant, Quality Quest Inc.
P.O. Box 20263, Tampa, FL 33622
Cell: (813) 767-8001; Fax: (813) 639-0110

In a message dated 5/27/2008 10:06:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
SOG1RLNOE writes:
   
    Steve, what do  you have on this ODA? Anyone have info which can help?
   
    Robert
   
Subj:    SOG III Corps Long Thahn (Bear Cat)    
Date:    5/27/2008 5:50:32 AM Eastern Daylight Time   
From:    stevens@loxinfo.co.th   
To:    sog1rlnoe@aol.com   
Sent from the Internet (Details) <aolmsg://03d77098/inethdr/2>    
   

    Dear Robert,I don't know if you can help me or not?  I am looking for  information on the SOG  A-team # 212 TDY from Okinawa during
1964 - 1965.  The team Captain was Dusty Crawford.  The team Senior medic was Jim Flanagan.  We lost SSG Paliskis and SFC Dom Sansone during our ops there.  We trained Nungs for infiltration into the north. But I cannot find any info on our team A-212 TDY from Co B, 1st SFA on Oki.  I was able to make contact with LTC Leighton Crawford, (Ret) our CO back then.  But no one else??  It appears we were not assigned TDY under anybody but MACVSOG which at that time was called Special Operations Group.   So, we are not listed on any TO&E for the 5th SF in Vietnam then.  I am still living and working ( yeah, working at 75 years of age as a commercial diver ) in Thailand.  I was with the 46th SFCA here for a couple of years and decided to settle down here.  Still settling down.........:>)
   
    Maybe you could point me in the right direction?
   
    De Oppressor Liber
   
   
    William F. Stevens, Dive Superintendent
    J. C. Marine Service Co., Ltd.
    14/3 Moo 1, Tungsukla, Ao-Udom
    Sriracha, Chonbrui 20230 - THAILAND
    Tel:  66 38 351 473
    Fax:  66 38 351 433
    http://www.jcmarine.com - info@jcmarine.com

   

really appreciate your quick response Bob  ( Calling you Bob is ok? Robert?   )

Gene Paliskis and I ran around a lot together back on Okinawa in 63.    We were both in B Co of the 1st Group and had not yet been assigned to an A-team which happened after an FTX in the Philippines.   Our CO was Captain Dusty Crawford and I have been in touch with him recently thanks to You and Steve Sherman.   We have a lot to discuss as we are also both diving instructors (emeritus) and have much underwater time.  I want to ask Dusty if he has any photos of the time we spent at Long Thahn?  I remember being well paid by the U.S. Army for this assignment.  And I remember LTC Keravouri, the Camp CO, telling me that it always amazed him that meI, a Spec 4 at that time, could hitch a ride to Saigon easier and faster than he could.

Gene Paliskis was an Operations Sgt as I recall and I was the junior Medic on the team.  SFC Jim Flanagan was the senior medic.    We spent a lot of time in the VFW club in Machinato on Okinawa and in an area called "Nam a Nuay" a bar area of much renown.   I knew SFC Dominic Sansone but not close like Gene Paliskis.  We would become close after we were together with the A-212 team at Long Thahn.   Gene would always call me "Steve" and sort of looked out for my well being.  He was tall and well built.  About 6' 2'' or 3"  probably.  I was only 5' 10"  but he took great care in seeing after my well being.  And I did likewise to him being his friend.   Gene Paliskis, Jim Flanagan,  and Joe Singh were out on recon patrol in November while I was in Saigon.   They got ambushed  and Jim said he could not do enough to stop the internal bleeding Gene sustained when hit in the liver with small arms fire.  He also sustained a severe wound almost separating his left hand at the wrist.  He was pissed off at the VC for doing that to his wrist according to Joe Singh, who also took some small arms rounds into his left shoulder.  But the fatal wounds were in Gene's liver and nothing could be done in time to save his life. 

Dominick Sansone was a friend to everybody on the team, from the smallest rank to the highest.  He was such an outward going personality, always smiling and always had good words and encouragement for everybody.  He headed up the jump training into very tall trees that required rapelling equipment to get down.  Once we had a team of "Nungs'" ready to infiltrate, a C-123 would take them in.  Dominick was on the fatal flight one day when the plane flew into "Moneky Mountain" or so that's what they told us.  I believe another Army officer, perhaps a Captain or Major was with him but I could find no information.  Not just the pilot and crew but an Army officer separate. 

I shall look for any photos I have stored away and talk with Dusty Crawford as well.  Meanwhile, I would like to send a letter to George Sternberg and request an application form for membership in the SOA if possible?   I still live and work in Thailand, a member of SFA-3 but because I am so active as a Dive Superintendent for this company I work for, I don't have a lot of spare time to do much outside of work.  But it keeps me fit and busy and I like that.  I own my home here in Thailand, now living in Pattaya suburbs. 

I have made contact with Don Valentine as he was one of the original members of the 46th SF Co, Abn, here in Lopburi, Thailand.  I came over in the latter part 67 with SGM MacDougal from the 7th group. 

My old personal data:

SFC E-7  William F. Stevens Jr.   91B4S,   Vietnam from 23 June 64 - 27 Feb 65.  SP-4 Jr Medic   MACVSOG    Long Thahn

My sincere respects,

Bill

William F. Stevens - Diving Superintendent
J. C. Marine Service Co., Ltd.
14/3 M 1, T. Tungsukla, Ao-Udom
Sriracha - Chonburi, 20230,  THAILAND 
http://www.jcmarine.com/  =>  william@jcmarine.com, stevens@loxinfo.co.th

LTC Fred Lindsey, Commander CCS Jan -Jul 1970

 f_elind@iquest.net

Dear Robert:  I am LTC (Ret) Fred S. Lindsey, former commander of CCS/SOG from Jan - July 1970.  First let me express my profound thanks for the great work that you have done over a period of years to create the history of SOG.  You have done a marvelous service for all of your fellow SOG members and their families.  I was ref'd to you by Steve Sherman in early May.  And you were kind enough to ref. me to your macvsog web site.  As you may remember, I am presently working on a memorial for SSG David "Babysan" Davidson, at the request of his Mom, Katie Dombroski.    

         Long story short - we've decided that our main effort should be to do a memorial that would honor all of the SOG KIAs/MIAs.  Now I am advised that there are a number of places where these men's names are on the walls of museums or Walls of Valor etc.  That is nice but it is very impersonal and doesn't say much about the persons and what they did.  I have proposed that we do a "power-point" presentation that would give a brief history of SOG and its three detachments, then show a photo and bio of each of the KIAs/MIAs of SOG.  

         It was that proposal concept and a request for the listing of those names that led Sherman to ref. me to you.  Your Memorial Section of the web site was great to see.  I would like your permission to use that basic data in our "proposed Memorial."  I am advised that someone in the Pentagon was directed to destroy all of the SOG After Action Reports, prior to the Top Secret info being declassified. That makes what you have accomplished so much more important. You've been able to get many of our guys to contribute what they could remember and their photos to build a most remarkable data base.  

         I think we can do the power point portion so that we could use it in a number of ways: It could be in kiosk type settings in our various military museums, and on web sites - such as your macvsog site, and also on various national Remembrance/ Memorial sites such as Legacy.com, "Honor The Fallen", etc.

         As a recent article in the USA paper, "Legacies of War Dead.. by Rick Hampson, points out, these "endless, accessible tributes that anyone can visit when ever they want; intimacy to visit on their own privacy for as long as they want; and individuality - where visitors could interact by "posting video,audio,photos and etc."  

         I suggest that we make this "a stand alone" project that might be under the premises of the Special Ops. Association - though I have not yet talked to them about it.  I wanted to discuss it with you first.  I know this will take considerable work and time.  I would like to have the initial version of this ready to present to the JFK Museum by Memorial Day 2010.  Whatever is missing from the details of the listings at that time - photos or bios, could be added as we get them.

I am willing to under-take the task, though I surely do not have the computer skills and contacts that you obviously have developed. You are obviously the professional in this matter, and I am a relative novice.  You may wish to undertake this as a part of what you have already put together, or maybe we could work together on it.  I am not interested in making any money on this other than what we might direct to the SOA's foundation.   I do not have a clue how you have done what you have – whether it has been a business or a labor of love.  So I welcome your ideas, suggestions, & dialogue at your convenience.

I have contacted some of my CCS guys like Billy Waugh, Troy Gilley, Fred Morse, Gary Doak and others.  They seem to be pretty supportive of it.  Hopefully, the rest of our surviving SOG Vets will also help.  Our ranks get thinner each day. 

I have been out of the SOG loop for too many years, but I plan to attend the SOA reunion in Vegas in September.  By that time, I hope to have completed a “History of CCS.”  It seems that you have one on CCC & CCN, but with CCS being shut down to US RTs in July 1970, we lost an identity I’d like to re-establish.  With the destruction of our AARs, it will take a lot of digging.  But I do have lots of photos and a diary of sorts.  But so much is missing about all of the RT missions.  Some of it I can dig out of various parts of your web site, Plaster’s & others books, and I will request your permission to us when I can itemized the various info items. 

I look forward to hearing from you.  Warmest Regards,

Fred Lindsey, 2218 Burning Tree Lane, Carmel, IN 46032; Ph (317) 844-4481; email <f_elind@iquest.net>