Vietnam War Bibliography:
Army Special Forces
Chalmers Archer, Jr., Green Berets in the Vanguard: Inside Special Forces,
1953-1963. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2001. xiv, 139 pp.
Archer, who was black, participated in some of the earliest Special Forces
activities in Vietnam and Laos. He was part of the detachment that trained
what he refers to as Vietnamese Special Forces at Nha Trang in 1957; he
served two tours in Laos, one with HOTFOOT in 1959, and one with WHITE
STAR in 1961.
Col. Charlie A. Beckwith and Ronald Knox, Delta Force. San Diego:
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983. pb New York: Dell, 1985. A large portion
of this book deals with Beckwith's service in the Special Forces in
Roy P. Benavidez and Oscar Griffin, The Three Wars of Roy Benavidez.
San Antonio: Corona, 1986. pb New York: Pocket Books, 1988. 272 pp. Memoir
by a Special Forces Sergeant who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for
a combat action in Cambodia in 1968. Due to the pretense that no U.S.
personnel engaged in ground combat in Cambodia in 1968, the citation for
his medal shifted the location across the border into South Vietnam.
Roy P. Benavidez with John R. Craig, Medal of Honor: A Vietnam Warrior's
Story. McLean, VA: Brassey's, 1995. xvi, 211 pp.
Don Bendell, The B-52 Overture: The North Vietnamese Assault on Special
Forces Camp A-242, Dak Pek. New York: Dell, 1992. 160 pp. PAVN attack
on Special Forces Camp A-242, 1969-1970.
Don Bendell, Crossbow. New York: Berkeley, 1990. 179 pp.
Don Bendell, Valley of Tears: Assault into Plei Trap. New York: Dell,
1993. 182 pp. Montagnard and/or LLDB strike force under Special Forces
leadership, attacking the Ho Chi Minh Trail. On the basis of a brief skim,
I am dubious about this one.
Don Bendell, Snake-Eater: Characters in and Stories about the U.S. Army
Special Forces in the Vietnam War. New York: Dell, 1994. 166 pp.
Pete Billac, The Last Medal of Honor. New York: Swan, 1990. Biography
of Roy Benavidez.
Ltc. Lewis] H. ("Bucky") Burruss, Mike Force. New York: Pocket Books,
1989. 255 pp. Reprinted by Lightning Source, 2001. Burruss began his first
tour with Special Forces in Vietnam in October 1967 and was immediately
assigned to A-503, leading the Mobile Strike Force based at Nha Trang that
operated in all Corps Tactical Zones.
Vincent Coppola, Uneasy Warriors: Coming Back Home: The Perilous Journey
of the Green Berets. Atlanta: Longstreet, 1995. xiii, 182 pp. Mostly
researched at Fayetteville, NC ("Fayette Nam").
Alan G. Cornett, Gone Native: An NCO's Story. New York: Ballantine,
2000. 292 pp. Cornett joined the Army in mid 1965, volunteered for Special
Forces, arrived in Vietnam in August 1966, and was initially assigned to
B-52 (Project Delta). The cover blurb refers to seven years in Vietnam,
but this seems to be an exaggeration. On a brief skim I don't see a date
for his final departure from Vietnam, in irons after his conviction for
attempted murder in the fragging of his XO at the Ranger Training Center
near Nha Trang (Cornett's marriage to a Vietnamese woman had triggered
conflict between them), but it cannot have been as much as seven years
after his first arrival in-country.
William T. Craig, Lifer! From Infantry to Special Forces. New York:
Ivy Books, 1994. 310 pp. (Title changed just before publication from the
planned Snake Eater! and/or Snake Eaters!) Craig, a veteran of the Korean
War, joined the Special Forces late in the 1950s, and served in Laos
(beginning late 1960) and Vietnam (beginning September 1962. He didn't
much like officers, but eventually rose to Command Sergeant Major. This
book carries his life up to 1964.
William T. Craig, Team Sergeant: A Special Forces NCO at Lang Vei and
Beyond. New York: Ivy, 1998. 357 pp. Carries Craig's story from his
arrival back in Vietnam in September 1964, assigned to a B detachment at
Can Tho, to his last departure from Vietnam in the second half of 1971,
and then briefly to his retirement from the Army in 1976.
Drew Dix, The Rescue of River City. Fairbanks, Alaska: Drew Dix
Publishing, 2000. xiv, 241 pp. Staff Sergeant Dix, an advisor to the
Provincial Reconnaissance Unit of Chau Doc province, won the Medal of
Honor for his actions in the defense of Chau Phu in the Tet Offensive.
James C. Donahue, Mobile Guerrilla Force: With the Special Forces in War
Zone D. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1996. pb New York: St.
Martin's, 1997. The Mobile Guerrilla Force, a company of Cambodians
commanded by Captain James Gritz and Special Forces Team A-303, was
established late in 1966. Most of this book is devoted to its first
operations: recovery of classified equipment from a downed U-2 in December
1966, and Blackjack-31, an operation into War Zone D, January-February
James C. Donahue, Blackjack-33: With Special Forces in the Viet Cong
Forbidden Zone. New York: Ivy, 1999. xix, 277 pp. A joint operation by
the Mobile Guerrilla Force and Project SIGMA, near the border between
Phuoc Long and Phuoc Thanh provinces, in War Zone D. The operation had
started in April 1967; the book covers only May.
James C. Donahue, No Greater Love: A Day with the Mobile Guerrilla Force
in Vietnam. Canton, OH: Daring Books, 1988. Reprinted under the title
Blackjack-34. New York: Ivy Books, 2000. About a mission in which the
author participated as a Special Forces medic, July 18, 1967.
Capt. Roger H. C. Donlon, as told to Warren Rogers, Outpost of Freedom.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965 (pb New York: Avon, 1966). A Green Beret
who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for an action in July 1964.
Roger H.C. Donlon, Beyond Nam Dong. Leavenworth, KS: R and N
George E. Dooley, Battle for the Central Highlands. New York:
Ballantine, 2000. 274 pp. Dooley arrived in Vietnam early in 1966, a
Special Forces sergeant, and was assigned initially to Mai Linh (A-226),
in Phu Bon province about 50 miles south of An Khe, with mostly Jarai
troops. He became an officer in 1967. Chapters 9 and 10 mix the story of
his career after his final departure from Vietnam in 1970 with the story
of Ed Sprague, who had been in A-226 at Mai Linh, retired in 1968,
returned to Vietnam as a civilian with CORDS, worked with John Vann and
Nay Luett, and in 1975 was the senior advisor for Phu Bon province during
the final collapse.
Donald Duncan, The New Legions. New York: Random House, 1967. An
anti-war view by a former Special Forces sergeant.
Ltc. Dennis Foley, Special Men: A LRP's Recollections. New York: Ivy,
1994. 340 pp. Foley joined the Army as an enlisted man, went to OCS, and
began his Vietnam service at the end of 1965, assigned to 101st Airborne
Brigade under David Hackworth. He later joined Special Forces.
Sergeant Major Joe R. Garner, with Avrum M. Fine, Code Name: Copperhead:
My True-Life Exploits as a Special Forces Soldier. New York: Simon &
Schuster, 1994. Garner served with White Star in Laos, and later with SOG
The Green Beret Magazine. Reprints in book form of The Green Beret, a
monthly magazine published by the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne),
Vietnam. 5 vols., one per year, 1966-1970. Houston: Radix Press,
Hans Halberstadt, War Stories of the Green Berets: The Viet Nam
Osceola, WI: Motorbooks, 1994. 222 pp.
Stan Krasnoff, Shadows on the Wall: The Adrenalin-Pumping, Heart-Yammering
True Story of Project Rapid Fire.
Allen & Unwin, 2003. 193 pp. Foreword by
Bo Gritz. Krasnoff, an Australian officer, says he was assigned at the end
of 1967 to Bo Gritz's outfit, working along the Cambodian border. I have
seen an accusation that this book is grossly fictionalized, but the
accusation did not look convincing to me. For one thing, the accuser was
Jim Morris, War Story.
Dell (paperback), 1985. Memoirs of a man who served
three tours with the Special Forces in Vietnam, mainly working with Montagnard tribes in the Highlands.
Robin Moore and Henry Rothblatt, Court-Martial.
Garden City, NY:
Doubleday, 1971. The trial of Colonel Robert Rheault (commander of the 5th
Special Forces Group) and some of his subordinates, accused of having
murdered a Vietnamese they believed to be a double agent. Rothblatt was
one of the attorneys for the defense.
Gordon M. Patric, The Vietnams of the Green Berets.
Charles W. Sasser, Always a Warrior: The Memoir of a Six-War Soldier.
York: Pocket Books, 1994. 306 pp. Sasser has been a Special Forces
soldier, a journalist, and a novelist. The books is written episodically,
with few dates.
Charles W. Sasser, Raider.
New York: St. Martin's, 2002. 336 pp. Life of
Galen Charles "Pappy" Kittleson, a WWII veteran who participated in the
November 1970 Son Tay POW rescue mission.
Col. Ronald Shackleton, Village Defense: Initial Special Forces Operations
in Viet Nam.
Arvada, CO: Phoenix Press, 1975. 149 pp. Written in 1964,
based mostly on operations of January to August 1962.
Charles M. Simpson III, Inside the Green Berets.
Novato, CA: Presidio,
1983. pb New York: Berkley, 1984. A short history of the U.S. Army Special
Forces, popularly known as the Green Berets.
Shelby L. Stanton, Green Berets at War: US Army Special Forces in
Southeast Asia 1956-1975.
hb apparently Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1985.
pb New York: Dell, 1991.
Jeff Stein, A Murder in Wartime: Untold Spy Story that Changed the Course
of the Vietnam War.
New York: St. Martin's, 1992. Stein, a former Army
intelligence officer, writes about the killing by US Army Special Forces
men of a Vietnamese they believed to be a double agent. They were arrested
and charged with murder, in a highly publicized case, in 1969.
Leigh Wade, Tan Phu: Special Forces Team A-23 in Combat.
New York: Ivy,
1997. Wade, a Special Forces radioman, was with A-23 in its July-December
1963 tour at Tan Phu, in the northern part of An Xuyen (southernmost
province of South Vietnam).
Leigh Wade, The Protected will Never Know.
New York: Ivy, 1998. 245 pp.
Wade, a Special Forces radioman, had a 90-day TDY in Vietnam,
approximately May to July 1965, mostly with the 173d Airborne Brigade
(going on operations into War Zone D in June and July), some with the Bien
Hoa Special Forces B-Team. He was sent to Vietnam again in September 1965
with SF Team A-211, assigned briefly to Tuy Phuoc (on Road 19 between the
Mang Yang Pass and Qui Nhon), where he found the CIDG strike force company
was all Vietnamese and very bad, neither competent nor interested in
fighting. In November, A-211 and the strike force company shifted into the
Vinh Thanh Valley ("Happy Valley"), a dangerous area northeast of An Khe.
Early in 1966, Wade was assigned to C-5, just getting established with the
goal of eventually running operations into Cambodia. When C-5 split into
Sigma, Omega, and Gamma, he went with Sigma, and began going on operations
September 1966. By November he was teaching at the Recondo School at Nha
Trang. He returned to the US early in 1967.
Leigh Wade, Assault on Dak Pek: A Special Force A-Team in Combat, 1970.
New York: Ivy, 1998. 273 pp. The book deals briefly with Wade's service in
Thailand late 1967 to late 1969, assigned to Team A-4609, working with
Thai Border Police and PARU. He went to Vietnam early in 1970, assigned to
A-242, at Dak Pek, near the tri-border area in Kontum province. Dak Pek
was partially overrun April 12, 1970. Wade stayed there until Dak Pek was
handed over from US Special Forces to ARVN Rangers November 30, 1970.
Steven M. Yedinak, Hard to Forget: An American with the Mobile Guerrilla
Force in Vietnam.
New York: Ivy Books, 1998. 276 pp. Yedinak arrived in
Vietnam in the first half of 1966. In late June he was given command of
Team A-322 at Suoi Da, just southeast of Nui Ba Den in Tay Ninh province.
He soon learned that only about half the CIDG strikers on the payroll at
Suoi Da actually existed. A few months later he was made commander of
A-303, tasked with establishing the Mobile Guerrilla Force of Khmer Krom
(see above under Donahue). He was bumped down to Deputy Commander when Bo
Gritz was brought in as Commander. The outfit was later renamed Task Force
957. He returned to the US when his tour ended in February 1967; he had
participated in Operations Black Box and Blackjack-31.
James E. Acre, Project Omega: Eye of the Beast.
Central Point, OR: Hellgate, 1999. xi, 216 pp. Acre joined the Special Forces in 1968, and
served in Vietnam with CCS from early 1969 to early 1970.
Kenneth J. Conboy and Dale Andradé, Spies and Commandos: How America Lost
the Secret War in North Vietnam.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas,
2000. x, 347 pp. A very good study, covering covert operations against
North Vietnam run by the CIA from 1954 onward as well as those run by SOG
from 1964 onward.
Franklin D. Miller, with Elwood J.C. Kureth, Reflections of a Warrior.
Novato, CA: Presidio, 1991. Miller served six tours in Indochina, mostly
with MACV-SOG, between 1966 and 1972. He won the Congressional Medal of
Honor for a January 1970 action in which he was leading RT Vermont. He
gives the impression the action was in Laos, just north of Cambodia in the
Triborder area; Plaster says it was in Cambodia. I am more inclined to
believe Miller; his description of the details of the operation really
looks to me more like something that would have happened in Laos than like
something that would have happened in Cambodia.
Thom [Thomas L.] Nicholson, 15 Months in SOG: A Warrior's Tour.
Ivy, 1999. 260 pp. Nicholson, an Army Special Forces Captain, was assigned
to CCN, based at Danang, in August 1968. He eventually commanded CCN's
raider company. The lack of dates in the book is annoying.
John L. Plaster, SOG: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam.
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. 367 pp. Maj. Plaster himself served
three tours in SOG, and he interviewed a great many other men who had
served. I have looked at only the first chapter, which was not very
accurate, but I assume that once he gets closer to the things in which he
was personally involved, he will get better.
John L. Plaster, SOG: A Photo History of the Secret Wars.
Paladin, 2000. viii, 485 pp.
Charles F. Reske, ed., MACVSOG Command History, Annexes A, N & M
Sharon Center, OH: Alpha Press, 1992. 174 pp.
Charles F. Reske, ed., MAC-V-SOG Command History, Annex B, 1971-1972, 2
Sharon Center, OH: Alpha Press, 1990. 756 pp.
Harve Saal, SOG: MACV Studies and Observations Group (Behind Enemy Lines).
Milwaukee: Jones Techno-Comm, 1990. 4 vols. Badly organized, but contains
much useful information.
Steve [Stephen] Sherman, Who's Who from MACV-SOG.
Houston: Radix Press,
1996. 580 pp.
Richard H. Shultz, Jr., The Secret War Against Hanoi: Kennedy's and
Johnson's Use of Spies, Saboteurs, and Covert Warriors In North Vietnam.
New York: HarperCollins, 1999. xvii, 408 pp. This looks like an extremely
important study. Shultz had extraordinary access to information, for a
civilian scholar. The commander of the U.S. Army Special Operations
Command helped him get documents declassified, and encouraged retired
officers who had served in SOG to give him interviews. Note: The author's
name is Shultz. I have repeatedly seen it mis-spelled as Schultz, in one
case by his publisher in publicity for the book.
Major General John K. Singlaub, with Malcolm McConnell, Hazardous Duty: An
American Soldier in the Twentieth Century.
New York: Summit Books, 1991. Singlaub arrived in Vietnam in April 1966, as commander of SOG.
Sedgwick D. Tourison, Jr., Secret Army, Secret War: Washington's Tragic
Spy Operation in Vietnam.
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995. xxvii,
389 pp. Paperback under the title Project Alpha New York: St. Martin's,
1997. The dismal failure of programs to infiltrate agent teams into North
Vietnam, begun by CIA and continued after 1964 by SOG.
LTC Robert L. Turkoly-Joczik, "Secrecy and Stealth: Cross-Border
Reconnaissance in Indochina."
Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin,
25:3 (July-September 1999), pp. 47-52.
Robert Van Buskirk and Fred Bauer, Tailwind.
Waco, TX: Word Books, 1983.
The story (slightly fictionalized according to the authors) of Operation
TAILWIND, a raid into Laos by a SOG hatchet team in September 1970, in
which Van Buskirk participated. When it first came out, I read the first
few pages, thought they looked unrealistic, and did not go further. I will
look again when I can find a copy. In June 1998, Van Buskirk appeared on a
CNN documentary about TAILWIND, testifying that the nerve gas sarin had
been used in the operation, that killing American defectors had been a
goal, and that he had in fact killed people he believed to have been
American defectors during the operation. But there had apparently not been
anything about nerve gas or defectors in Van Buskirk's account of the
operation in this book.
Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, Edwin E.
Moïse. This document may be reproduced only if this copyright notice is
reproduced with it. Revised October 10, 2003.