James E. Acre

Book Review by Robert L. Noe


Mr. Acre writes about his tour of duty as a elite member of America's Heroic Secret Commando?s.  Because of the strict requirements not to write or maintain diaries, the book is written from his uncanny memory some 30 years after the fact.  The names of some of the individuals have been long forgotten, but not the events.

For anyone with a desire to know what it was like, the book is required reading.  As I read the book, it took me back in time and place as if it were yesterday.

The book begins with his first day as a young Special Forces Soldier in Nha Trang, Vietnam.  The author relates in vivid detail of how he was selected to be a member of a Top Secret organization that operated deep behind enemy lines, of the daily activities of these exceptional soldiers lives, living on the edge, their development of friendships, interaction with the civilian population, sexual exploits, their perspectives on relationships and interactions with superior NCO and Officers.   He is able to share his inner feelings of loneliness, fear,



Gentlemen and Ernie,

I am specifically referring to the portion of the book relating to a BDA on an Arclight strike and the assault on our radio relay O1‑E by VNAF Skyraiders.  You have two incidents confused together.  In particular, you stated in the book that "the Major in charge of the operation was relieved".   That is not true.  I was the Major in charge of that operation, both when

the Sky raiders attacked and all BDA's on Arclights in that AO.  I was the Quan Loi launch site commander at the time.  Far from being relieved , I was commended by Chief MAC‑SOG for my actions.

I know that we were not supposed to keep logs or diaries, and that can explain some of the misrepresentations in your book.  I have no objection to the rest of the book, those are your recollections.  Those were your values at the time.

However, when talking about other people it is usually smart to get your facts straight before opening your mouth, let alone publishing a book.  It would not have been difficult to contact the people involved for the true story.


 Hardcore & SOANet:

It is a terrible thing to feel that one has been wrongfully accused I am sorry that you feel this way.  Note that the text says the major was given a reprimand, not relieved.  There is quite a difference.  But that probably doesn't help you much.

After we were extracted I was angry because FAC had been pulled off us for another insertion.  We had been promised constant FAC during the entire operation.  You know how long those BDAs were expected to last.  We were hit and had a man wounded, apparently in the middle of an aborted ambush, and I couldn't raise the FAC.  Then we ran for our lives and still no FAC.  When FAC finally answered he got the choppers on the way.  Then he told me it would be awhile because he/they were under attack themselves by aircraft.  The attack by the aircraft happened after the choppers were in the air to extract us.

When I expressed my anger about no FAC, I was told that the major in charge was given a reprimand.  Maybe they were just trying to placate me.  Maybe a reprimand was given that you didn't know about.  I never thought it was the Launch Site Commander because he would have known better.  I always figured the Launch Site Commander had been superceded by some desk jockey from Saigon or somewhere.  That is why I used the words "in charge of the operation". I know what I was told.  If it wasn't true they shouldn't have told me that just to pacify me. I don't expect you to sympathize, but publishing this book was no small burden of conscience, to tell the truth as I saw it.  I wish you'd have talked to me about it at SOAR.  I hope that someone else remembers this incident and can help get to the bottom of it.  The only people that matter are other SOG personnel and since you feel that you have been smeared, perhaps someone else can help clear it up.  Or, perhaps this forum will clear it up and folks will know that the person mentioned is not you, or that I was told something just to placate an angry buck sergeant just shot out of a BDA.


Hey Bruce and Ernie,

While you two haggle out the intra SOG particulars, please tell the rest of us about how/why VNAF fighters attacked the O1E.

Tommy D.