View Full Version : Last member of OSS Deer Team dies: Case Study for missed political opportunity?

04-27-2013, 01:00
Henry A. Prunier, 91, last member of OSS Deer team, dies.


I had a good look around this forum and found only two threads to Mr Prunier's recent award of BSM:



I learned about OSS Deer team a few years ago and I'm stunned at how little content there is in open source about it in light of what transpired in the following decades.

From my amateur perspective OSS Deer team would appear to be a classic case study of the "armed diplomat" role that US Army Special Forces perform, including it's predecessor/lineage units that can influence long-term strategic geopolitical decision making.

While the Truman Administration, by commission or omission, failed to leverage an opportunity that could have helped mitigate a broad regional conflict involving the US in the following decades, I'm quite surprised the OSS Deer Team/Ho Chi Minh/Giap example isn't leveraged more openly and assertively as an example of how modern SF can help shape the big picture strategic geopolitical landscape.

In my amateur opinion, while the last decade's worth of direct action centric operations have a very important role to play in the global fight, how many bad guys getting shot in the face individually equals one successfully leveraged big picture strategic geopolitical opportunity initiated by SF?

I believe I understand why the armed diplomat stuff doesn't seem to make it onto the front pages:

1)Non kinetic is often non newsworthy
2)It could be in the best interest of SF/national interests to keep such wins out of the mass media spotlight

Maybe I'm getting old, but in recent years I've been trying to filter through all the kinetic stuff to find such non kinetic needles in the proverbial global haystack.

Any chance of getting some QPs to jump in with comments/opinions about:

1)Was Deer Team's efforts a truly strategic political missed opportunity? And if so, why do so few people even know about it?
2)Is Deer Team's mission taught to newly minted QPs?
3)Has the Deer Team mission ever been used to educate government about the potential value of SF, and is it still used today?

I hope I've posted this in the appropriate forum, my apologies if my nav skills are off.

Cheers Fellas!

04-27-2013, 21:50
Long story short we did not want to admit we stepped on out crank and kept it quiet. Gess who wlse was on that team. Can you come up the the names of the other team members. ;)

Here's what I pieced together on Google about Deer Team and related:

Allison Thomas <-----Deer Team Commander
William Zielski <-----team coms
Henry Prunier <-----team terp
Paul Hoagland <-----team medic
Lawrence Vogt <------team weapons
Aaron Squires <-----team photographer

René Defourneaux <----assistant team leader, French born. changed name for job I believe to something "more American and less French".

There were also:

Archimedes Patti <-----OSS, Deer team co-ord? ; met with Ho Chi Minh post war
Carleton B Swift Jr <----OSS working for Patti I believe

I've read that Patti claims he wrote a considerable number of reports on Ho Chi Minh and opportunities to work with him that passed thru the hands of celebrity chef Julia Childs, but found in later years to be unopened/unread?

Don't know about the validity of that or if it's just rumor.

05-04-2013, 15:09
Long story short we did not want to admit we stepped on out crank and kept it quiet. Gess who wlse was on that team. Can you come up the the names of the other team members. ;)

If you're referring to Aaron Bank, I think he was on an earlier team or mission.

05-04-2013, 17:05
Here is a good article of the mission and results for Deer Team......