Project Delta, Special Forces Detachment B-52, one of the most highly decorated units of its size in the Vietnam War, was organized in early 1965 under the code name, "Leapin' Lena. " At first it used only indigenous troops, but within six months American advisers started accompanying the patrols.
The project achieved its highest degree of perfection in 1967-68 under Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Chuck Allen, the man Gen. William C. Westmoreland called "Big 'Un. " Under Allen and subsequently, the core of the project consisted of the recon section, with 12 teams of 10 members each usually four Americans and six Vietnamese Special Forces men only six of whom were usually deployed at a time. The headquarters was SF Det B-52. Nominally the project was commanded by a Viet lieutenant colonel with Allen as his adviser.
Project Delta was the organization of which Gen. Robert Cushman, later Commandant of the Marine Corps, said: "These men come from the ether zone of military excellence. "
At about the time of the Tet offensive, author Morris, a PIO officer, met some of the officers from Project Delta and was able to go along on an extraction operation with Allen and Capt. Bill Larabee, Allen's operations officer.
On their return from this mission, Allen asked Morris if he wanted to return the next day with the reaction force, the 91st Airborne-Ranger Battalion, in order to blow up some caches and get further identification on the Russian-made tanks found the week before. Morris said, "Sure."



Our ship flared out about 30 feet up and settled slowly to earth. When she was about five feet off the ground, Ken Nauman hitched up the seat of his pants and dropped out of sight. I barrelled out after him, jumping off the skids, landing bent over and running for the edge of the LZ where the perimeter was starting to form. I hit the ground behind a dirt bank covered with dry reeds and looked around.
The choppers lifted off, whipping rotors pulling them upward. Vietnamese Rangers ran to fill in a good 360-degree defensive perimeter. Rotors blasted dust into the air, down the backs of our necks and into our hair, teeth and eyes. The gunships went around again: rockets whooshed and cracked, machine guns chattered, mini-guns bu-u-urrped out streams of fire.
Nauman sat, looking bored, about 10 feet away, next to the Vietnamese carrying his radio. He took the handset and said, "Crusade Zero-five, this is Zero-six. Over."
There was a pause; then he said, "This is Zero-six. You in position? Over." Another pause. "Roger, out."
Of medium height, Nauman generally looked  bored.  He had  big, soft, baggy
 

DEATH-DEALING DELTA

Part 2: B-52 Team on a Hot LZ

by Jim Morris


20    SOLDIER OF FORTUNE 

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