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History of MACV-SOG HALO Operations
Old 09-14-2004, 08:37   #1
CommoGeek
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History of MACV-SOG HALO Operations

I know we've discussed SGM Bily Waugh, but there are some more folks in the .doc below, maybe some you know. Very good read, IMO. Adds more detail than what is in Plaster's first book.

http://www.skydivewithjohn.com/word_...Operations.doc

Edit for spelling. "F" is next to "G" on the keyboard....

Last edited by CommoGeek; 09-14-2004 at 22:49.
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Old 09-14-2004, 10:45   #2
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Great Article, Thanks CG
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Old 09-14-2004, 23:35   #3
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Ditto CG, excellent find
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Old 09-15-2004, 05:48   #4
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I served on the same team with Sammy Hernandez in Thailand. He never spoke of the operations at that time. When the HALO/SCUBA detachment split into two separate detachments he went to the HALO team along with Bill "Bata Boot" Bennett.

To add a bit of a fly to the ointment, SOG considered the operations as successful. This was because they inserted and extraxted the teams successfully. However they did not accomplish their mission on either aperation. Their entire time on the ground was occupied with re-assambly and rescue/extraction. In that respect I feel they failed.

Gol Secor pushed real hard for HALO resupply drops when I was in Special Projects, in 1968. Our "timers" were time pencils which would ignite and burn through 550 cord, releasing a pilot chute. I have a picture of a HANO drop if anyone is interested. This was a test using a 5 sec fuse.
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Old 09-15-2004, 08:09   #5
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QRQ 30, can you send it my way?
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Hano
Old 09-15-2004, 08:38   #6
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Hano

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAB32
QRQ 30, can you send it my way?
Sure. I think Ltc Shungel had a hand in this project also. Gil Secire was killed in the FOB-4 compound in August 68 and the HALO was put back on the shelf. My concern was accuracy. I had witnessed enough races to resupply bundles at Khe Sahn.
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File Type: jpg HANO.jpg (33.8 KB, 161 views)
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Thanks
Old 09-15-2004, 14:22   #7
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Thanks

Important and fascinating history. Thanks for the find, CG.
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Old 09-15-2004, 14:31   #8
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There was a guy the FOGs called Bata Boots that used to cook biscuits at 0darkthirty at the Silver Fox when I was a cherry. Wonder if it was the same guy?
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Old 09-15-2004, 16:16   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NousDefionsDoc
There was a guy the FOGs called Bata Boots that used to cook biscuits at 0darkthirty at the Silver Fox when I was a cherry. Wonder if it was the same guy?
Very well could be. The enclosed picture is of Bill "Batta Boot" Bennet taken in 1969 at Key West during 7th SFGA SCUBA refresher/re-qualification training. He is the one with black shirt and ball cap. Perhaps someone can lighten him up.
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Old 09-15-2004, 18:40   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NousDefionsDoc
There was a guy the FOGs called Bata Boots that used to cook biscuits at 0darkthirty at the Silver Fox when I was a cherry. Wonder if it was the same guy?
Yep. He died several years back.

His wife used to work in Training Group for COL Moroney when I was there. Good people.

Terry:

Boat ramp by the Seaplane Hanger at the old Key West Scuba School?

TR
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Old 09-24-2004, 22:23   #11
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TR: It was the old SFUWO school at Key West but I don't recall if there were sea-plane hangers. Probably so. In Panama, we worked out of a sea-plne hanger. In fact, I lived in a room in the hanger.
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A footnote
Old 10-10-2004, 13:07   #12
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A footnote

Just a footnote to the above. Col Larry Trapp was the Chief of Airborne Opns for SOG. He said Billy bugged him for a couple years to get the Halo missions approved.
There were other HALO inserts of agents in NVN. These were Vietnamese, not American, agents.

One of the two missions my team turned down at CCN would have been the first low-level insert in Feb 70. (it was one of those the guy with the briefcase stapped to his arm deals). The "PLAN" was to have a Phantom shoot a homing beacon into a hill in Laos and then we would do a night jump on the beacon.

There were several things wrong with the "PLAN".
One we were jumping in triple canopy with no decenders. I asked so how do we get down? Answer lower your reserve. I said great so we are still 100 ft from the ground then what? No answer.
Second was assembly. I said ok now we jump in triple canopy and we get on the ground - how do we assemble? If you have ever been in triple canopy you know what I mean. 50 meters away you can't see or hear anything. You have to remember that the Bru didn't use radios - thought there were ghosts captured by us and kept in a metal box.... I asked if we were going to use the "crickets" like they used in WWII... NO Answer.
Last I said I had jumped small LZs at Bragg with experienced jumpers and it was a total mess even without someone shooting at you. They expected us to take our team and train for 5 days and then run the mission. My 10 and I declined

I talked with Capt Robb 2 years ago at SOAR. He actually ran the first airborne op. By then they had worked on the things we had brought up. Their LZ was flat without trees, but they now had decenders in case of tree landing. And they had a small transistor radio that homed in on a transmitter carried by Robb. Only problem they had was that one of the radio didn't work and one of the indig was seperated from the team (picked up on extraction). They landed, assembled called a lot of air, smoked a lot of enemy and got out without loss. Very successful operation.
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Old 10-10-2004, 20:02   #13
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This is taken out of a book that I own. It is an exerpt from one of the chapters dealing with the intel gathering before the Son Tay Raid. I won't mention any names other than those who are deceased in order to avoid any "problems" with those that are still living and may want to stay nameless. This also might be one of those situations wereby I may need to keep my mouth shut and "move on." Please let me know QP's a.s.a.p. as to whether I can ask questions regarding this raid or cease-and-desist.


"According to (?) , a veteran Green Beret who was in Vietnam during the Son Tay raid, his project was going to infiltrate an "Earth Angel" team into the Son Tay area seventy-two hours before Simon's scheduled launch date. Earth Angels were Vietnamese who dressed in enemy uniforms and conducted intelligence gathering missions well behind the lines. Most often they were infiltrated by free-fall parachute or HALO. On this occasion the mission was cancelled the very night the Earth Angel team was to jump into North Vietnam. (?) says no reason was given, but he was told later that the rescue attempt overrode the Earth Angel tasking.

According to (?) , former One-Zero for RT (?), the Vietnamese Earth Angel mission was scrapped in favor of an American-led special reconnaissance mission into Son Tay during the same period. Relying on three volunteer CCN One-Zeros, two North Vietnamese Kit Carson Scouts from the Son Tay area employed by CCN, and at least one CIA operative, the hastily recruited team launched from SOG's Heavy Hook mission site located in Thailand.

As Heavy Hook's rotary aircraft were so heavily armored that their range of operations was limited, the team was "loaned" one of Simon's reserve helicopters then positioned at his project's launch site, located deeper inland tahn Heavy Hook, which was on the border of its host country and Vietnam. Refueling at a CIA mission support site inside northern Laos (Longcheng), the chopper successfully infiltrated into North Vietnam using one of the oft traveled air lanes relied upon by CCN's RT's for several years. Landing several kilometers away from Son Tay, the team moved by foot to a position where it could conduct a careful reconnaissance of the entire area, to include the supposed prison site and the secondary school.

According to (?)-- one of the three One-Zeros on this mission was Sergeant Dale Dehnke who led the recon team into Son Tay. The men, guided by their North Vietnamese scouts, were able to confirm specific bits of information about the immediate area and, to a ceratin degree, who was present. For example, it was during this mission taht the Chinese cadre was verified as occupying the secondary school, and that they stacked their weapons in the school's inner yard at night. Knowing the defenders were essentially unarmed proved invaluable to Bull Simons when he elected to order his misplaced team to assault the compound.

As it was impossible to see through the Son Tay prison's walls, the recon element was unable to state whether or not American POWs were still being held there. But, they were able to confirm the presence of North Vietnamese troops (guards?) inside the compound, lending credence to the possibility that such prisoners might have still been under watch. Exfiltrating at night, the CCN team "abducted" a baby water buffalo from the nearby rice paddy where its borrowed helicopter was waiting. The animal was taken off the aircraft at Heavy Hook, back in Thailand, and made the project's mascot thereafter. It was this water buffalo which involked the wrath of Henry Kissinger when it was "rumored" such an event had occured during the actual conduct of the Son Tay raid, and buffalo dung was discovered inside one of the helicopters assigned to Simon's air fleet.

The story goes on further by stating that Dale Dehnke was killed in action on May 18, 1971, while operating in the Da Krong Valley, inside Vietnam. He was supposedly killed by an NVA "Headhunter Battalion" trained by the same Chinese stationed at the school(?). He also states that (?) knew both Dehnke and (?) during his tours in Vietnam, "If there was a recon mission run prior to Son Tay then people like (?) and Dick Meadows would know about it." The author of the book then states that attempts on his part to speak with both of these men were met with silence, although former One-Zero (?)--a personal friend of Dick Meadows--did recall several post-raid discussions with Meadows which strongly indicated far more was known about the events leading up to the assault of Son Tay than was ever published before. He further states that the third One-Zero on this mission is now living in (state) and said to be suffering from severe personal problems due to his wartime experiences.
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Old 10-10-2004, 21:42   #14
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Not spoiling for an argument, just pitting out some observations. MAM: If you are quoting from a book, why the super secret hush hush. The info is in print and public knowledge.

bkk: I agree with everything you had to say about HALO ops. IMO the first SOG missions may have been successful as far as the abn operation was concerned, but the tactical missions failed.

My observation concerning jungles. Triple canopy jungle tends to have such dense and thick canopies that little light and even little rain penetrates to ground level. There is very little vegetation at ground level. Walking in a triple canopy environment was like walking in a cool, damp huge aircraft hanger. It made perfect hiding places for large units, hospitals, way stations, hwys, etc.. The lower jungles were much more dense. The thickest I experienced was bamboo thickets and grass w/o trees.
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Old 10-10-2004, 22:37   #15
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I understand what you are saying.

In the past there have been books that were published that got people in trouble and even killed. The books also divulged tactics, operations that were suppose to be classified at the time and still are, and places that we never admitted being there.

This particular author is known by some other people on this site. From the comments I received from other QP's he is not well liked. His book wasn't a "Best Seller" by any stretch of the imagination either, so I don't think allot of people know/knew about it. In fact it is long out of print. I even had another QP from another site tell me that his book shouldn't have been published because he betrayed other QP's confidentiallity and wrote things that weren't suppose to be public knowledge. I just want to proceed with caution in case this book is one of those that may fit the above. I also don't want people that were there to say "Oh shit, here comes that damned book again, I wish it would just go away!"


If you like, and everybody else is comfortable with it, I will go back and put the names in. I am just trying to seek info on the way intel was gathered before the raid. By the way, I have other people who have told me that the team was HALO'd in, hence this being posted here. Others say it was gathered by Firebees(code named BUFFALO HUNTER) and SR-71('s).

If I am being overly cautious and too "Secret Squirrelish" then let me know.

Last edited by MAB32; 10-10-2004 at 22:43.
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