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Old 09-07-2005, 18:17   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Article of interest To former SOG

Though dated I have found the below article hasn't been seen by a few old recon men. the intent was great, unfortunately the players weren't in position or experienced enough to take advantage of the conference...others continue the tradition behind the scenes. Hope this thing isn't too long.
Regards, One-Zero
On April 25, 2000, 24 of the most respected combat veterans of the Vietnam War came together at Fort Bragg's JFK Special Warfare Center and School, or SWCS, to share their unique combat experiences with today's Special Forces soldiers.

The veterans were former recon-team leaders with the Military Assistance Command-Vietnam Studies and Observation Group, or MACV SOG. SOG operated in secrecy for eight years during the Vietnam War. Only recently were its records declassifled. SOG soldiers accounted for the majority of the SF Medals of Honor earned in Vietnam, as well as for a high percentage of the SF killed, wounded and missing in action.

SOG's principal mission was cross-border reconnaissance. Called "one zeros" because one-zero was their radio call sign, the recon team leaders led reconnaissance patrols deep into enemy-controlled territory.

The purpose of bringing the former SOG soldiers together was to document their lessons learned in combat in the hope that their experiences will assist current and future SF reconnaissance teams.

Recon training.
In 1987, SWCS developed a program of instruction, or POI, for what was then called "strategic reconnaissance." The course was conducted twice at SWCS and then discontinued. (Later, at Fort Benning, Ga., the POI became the basis for the Long-Range Surveillance Course.) Since the late 1980s, the POI has remained unused, and the SF doctrinal definition of reconnaissance has shifted from strategic reconnaissance to "special reconnaissance," or SR.

In January 2000, Major General Kenneth Bowra, then the SWCS commanding general, was concerned that many of the reconnaissance lessons learned during the Vietnam War were being lost. He tasked two SWCS activities -- the deputy chief of staff for operations and the Directorate of Training and Doctrine -- to organize the One-Zero Conference.

The first day of the conference included a historical overview of MACV SOG by John Plaster, a former one-zero and the author of two books on MACV SOG; a videotape presentation about the origins of SOG's Project Delta (with an interview with then-Major Charles Beckwith); a representation of a "common" SOG operation, by Ken McMullin, the former one-zero of recon team Nevada; a briefing by the Army Special Forces Command on the latest technology available to SF soldiers; an overview of the methods that the 1st Battalion, 7th SF Group, employs today in conducting SR; and a POW/MIA briefing by a representative of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

On the second day of the conference, the one-zeros organized into six working groups: mission planning and intelligence preparation of the battlefield, or IPB; infiltration and exfiltration; small-unit tactics; medical; weapons and optics; and communications. Each group was led by a subject-matter expert, or SME, from the 1st Special Warfare Training Group. The SME of each group presented an overview of the current SF methods for conducting SR; solicited information from the SOG veterans on the reconnaissance methods they used; compared their methods to the 1987 strategic-reconnaissance POI; and determined what improvements could be made. Each SME had approximately eight hours in which to capture and record all of the lessons learned.

On the third day, the working groups reconvened and reviewed the lessons recorded on the previous day. Afterward, the working groups prepared backbriefs for the SWCS assistant commandant. The essential points of the groups' backbriefs were:

Mission Prep and IPB
* The pre-mission planning conducted by today's SF is more detailed than that conducted by SOG team leaders. Current IPB methods constitute a more organized way of predicting enemy actions.

* The planning time for SOG recon missions was generally much shorter, but SOG mission plans included an aerial recon.

* SOG team leaders had absolute authority in making decisions concerning the tactics, training, weapons and personnel of the teams. They also developed the concept of the operation, chose the infiltration method and landing zone/pickup zone, and made decisions on the ground once the mission was under way.

* SOG team leaders balanced the importance of mission success with the importance of survival. One-zeros were selected on the basis of their experience and skill, not their rank.

* SOG missions depended upon air support, and planning made use of extensive air assets. Teams operated so far behind enemy lines that artillery support was not a planning consideration.

* SOG planning always incorporated deception, and teams used deception whenever possible.


* Close air support, or CAS, was the primary fire support for SOG recon teams -- as it is for SF recon teams today. The basic CAS methods have not changed, although teams can now expect to control the fire from the ground, instead of having it controlled from the air by an observer.

Small-unit tactics:

* There are training shortfalls in surveillance and in reconnaissance fieldcraft.

* All recon tasks related to small-unit tactics should be re-evaluated.

* SF medical training should emphasize the need for all members of SF A-detachments to have trauma-management skills (e.g., airway management, hemorrhage control, IV therapy, shock control and drug administration) in the field or in a low-profile environment.

* Specific missions may require additional medical cross-training, but recon and SR missions generally have the same implied medical tasks that other SF missions have.

* Medical common tasks should include the application of a tourniquet as a primary method of hemorrhage control in an austere environment.

* SF medical training should discontinue instruction related to death and dying. Grief-management is not an inherent problem for mature, well-trained SF soldiers. The one-zeros dealt with grief in their own way. Camaraderie and peer pressure lessen the effects of psychological stresses.

Weapons and optics:

* Weapons must be tailored to the mission.

* Multiple weapon systems must be available to each detachment.

* Soldiers should train with ammunition that has dual applications (e.g., 40 mm, high-explosive, tracer).

* Units should provide more ammunition for training.

* Soldiers should train with force-protection weapons.

* Navigation training should emphasize terrain association.

* Soldiers should understand the strategic environment and the joint special-operations area, or JSOA, and they should perform an in-depth terrain analysis of the JSOA.

* Teams should always plan a secondary mission.

* Soldiers should understand the advantages of loading tracers with ball ammunition.

* Soldiers should perform weapons maintenance only when it is needed.

* Soldiers should be familiar with host-nation weapons, and host-nation or indigenous personnel should be proficient with U.S. weapons and communications equipment.

* Soldiers should train with reaction forces. The reaction force should be heavy (i.e., platoon- or company-sized with mobility assets).
The secrecy of my job prevents me from knowing just what it is that I do.
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