SOG The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam ePUB

  • Paperback
  • 400 pages
  • SOG The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam
  • John L. Plaster
  • 20 May 2016
  • 9780451195081

10 thoughts on “SOG The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam

  1. Jimmy Jimmy says:

    Have you ever heard of a Special Operations group called MACV SOG? If not it might be because this is one of the most secretive group during the Vietname War since it operatives had to agree not to talk about their experience for twenty years Yet much of today’s Special operations group and capabilities in the modern US military owe its tactics and capabilities to this covert group If you are interested in US special operations forces military history and also the military side to the Vietnam War this book is a must read The author John Plaster himself is a three tour veteran of MACV SOG which stands for Miliary Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group Often it was called SOG This book isn’t really a war memoir or a biography but a fascinating history book of the US’ special operations history in Vietnam and into Vietnam’s neighboring countries although the author at times gives his personal account when it is appropriate I was blown away at the amount of details the book provide especially with the early days in the 1950s and early 1960s of US military effort and assistance to anti Communists In addition the book tells us of the men who were instrumental in leading that effort whether in the early days or towards the end of the Vietnam War And these leading men weren’t just high ranking officials but the author gives important operators their credit too Much of SOG’s secret war didn’t take place in Vietnam but in neighboring Laos and Cambodia where they fought the North Vietnamese who supposedly weren’t suppose to there either but they were secretly sneaking into South Vietnam using the Ho Chi Minh trailI read this book and couldn’t put it down There’s books on the conventional military which already fascinates me enough Then there’s books on special operations unit and elite outfit and those are especially of interests to me But this unit SOG and their stories is at a totally different level in terms of what these guys accomplished and the terrible situation they faced where often in small groups of two or three Americans and a few ethnic minority tribal soldiers they fought against hundreds of regular North Vietnamese forces Outnumbered and outgun these men were daring and ferocious It might sound cheesy but these guys were like real life Rambo and Jason Borne all roll into one But this book isn’t just telling exaggerated stories in case some might be doubtful; some of these stories and heroism of men in the unit have received the Medal of Honor and there’s official citation of what happenedEven for those who are familiar with other military reading when it comes to SOG there’s a totally different lingo and even method of operations The author does a good job describing that to the readers for their understanding The seventeen chapters in the book is a rich survey of various types of operations SOG conduced but also various point in their history and also accomplishments For instance there’s a chapter titled “Bloody ’68” which tells us the difficulties the group faced that year The group’s casualties exceeded 100 percent the highest rate since the Civil War Every single operator was wounded at least once and half of the men died Overall over three hundred SOG operators were lost and 57 of them as MIAs Yet the causality ratio to enemies killed were astounding and unprecedented This is the first book I read about MACV SOG but it definitely won’t be my last

  2. Mike Mike says:

    SOG is the amazing accounts of some of our best soldiers from the Vietnam war era dying in places where they were not officially operating SOG is the Special Operations Group that tangled with the NVA while learning what was happening in places outside the Vietnam border Cross border actions into Laos Cambodia are here tracking the movement of men and materials via the Ho Chi Minh trail This is a hard book to read at times I had to put it down for a few days and come back to it with a clear head The author as someone who operated within SOG lead his own missions knows many of the men involved A number of them did not come back He lists out the missions and the names of the Americans involved providing detail when possible on how they died Some of the accounts are not for the sueamish There is a reason why SOG had the highest number of Medal of Honor recipients I had uncles over there one a Marine that saw a lot of action in the center of the country The author points out how the small band of SOG operators were able to tie down a large number of NVA units destroy caches Not enough to turn the tide of the war but enough to keep many in the front line units alive SOG went in after aircrews who were operating outside of official boundaries as the US didn't have any SAR groups that could go there SOG went back for their dead sometimes right back into the teeth of a reinforced NVA The other side had no ualms using SOG prisoners and dead to lure teams in as they knew SOG never wanted to leave anyone behindThe 160th SOAR is an outgrowth of one of the last SOG missions The SOG unit was keeping an NSA site online at the top of a mountain They were to stay there until it became untenable SOG had to borrow helicopters to move its units around One unnamed REMF thought he'd play with lives by threatening the careers of any aircrew who heard the call to pull them out Americans on a hill that was about to be captured an American high ranking officer said no That simply burns raw that we could do that to ourselvesIn reading other accounts of the smaller units in Vietnam they did the best they could with the resources given But they really shouldn't have been there With no real plan from the top all units like SOG could do was get the intelligence report it up the chain Nothing was really done with what they learned What the leadership didn't realize or wanted to admit was just how prepared and patient the other side was with their goal that of unifying the two halves of the country Read the book to learn about a less known but no less important part of the American war effort in Vietnam Know that these men were over there doing the job given them They fought and died where the US government said they were not The author has done a tremendous service to bring their stories to light

  3. Michael Burnam-Fink Michael Burnam-Fink says:

    Writing about the classified and the denied is always hard Plaster does his best to produce a systemic account of SOG the elite crossboarder recon force in the Vietnam War but at the end of the day he is a soldier not a historian When this book sticks to what Plaster knows his own war stories and those of his friends it is very good When it moves to a different subject the politics of the war or the broader military impact of SOG it loses touch SOG was composed of courageous men and skilled fighters and we should be honored that Plaster and his comrades chose to share their stories with us While this is a good secondary source for the Vietnam War buff it's not uite literary or insightful enough to recommend to a broader audience

  4. Ben Paris Ben Paris says:

    Modern day warriors' stories and lives that must be heard Never Forget

  5. Cropredy Cropredy says:

    Wow this was a story I did not know the combined US ARVN indigenous force that did recon missions behind NVA lines in Laos Cambodia and South VietnamTeams of a few men would be helicoptered in to do recon inevitably come into contact with NVA line of communications security forces and have to fight their way out to a Landing Zone where they could be picked upUnit casualties over time exceeded 100% One hundred percent Multiple Medals of Honor DSCs Silver Stars and other awards The book was written by a SOG member who served three tours in Vietnam and clearly knows what he is talking about Extensive first person accounts Heroism beyond belief time after time Missions compromised by moles inside the command structure Rescues that suffered heavy helicopter and aircraft losses to bring out the alive and the deadMany of the stories told that span a few pages could easily be book length eg Legend The Incredible Story of Green Beret Sergeant Roy Benavidez's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy LinesThere are a few photos and semi adeuate maps but that doesn't really matter too much as most of the stories take place in the jungle with limited visibility And since the missions last for at best a few days it is not like you need to follow a campaignNo story of fighting in Vietnam can be read without thinking of the larger context of the war and all that entails Whether the US should have been involved in the first place Political pressures that hamstrung the military Military commander ticket punching and inflated body count statistics Corruption in the South Vietnamese government and other institutions 50000 dead Americans; countless VietnamesePlaster mostly avoids all of this and sticks to a straight historical and chronological narrative of mission after mission to gain intel tap phone lines capture POWs SOG team members are mentioned by name including air crew except when they performed badly typically some captain and those individuals go unnamedAs you read this you'll wonder whether the sacrifices were all worth it especially on some missions where the extraction involved multiple US aircraft being shot down and the aforementioned 100% casualties over time Or other missions that had to abort after only a few minutes on the ground Plaster attempts to deal with this in an Afterword describing how many NVA casualties were inflicted hard to know if true given US predilection for inflating enemy dead and number of NVA troops tied up in rear area duties And it was hard to know whether the intel generated actually helped win battles and since ultimately the war was lost whether the intel made any difference Although SOG reconned repeatedly the Ho Chi Minh trail supply network through LaosCambodia US interdiction attempts were but pin pricksalbeit with B 52 Arc Light raids and NVA supply and reinforcement never seemed to stop perhaps the intel extended the war and made it costly for the NVA to winBut re litigating Vietnam wasn't the purpose of the book the purpose was to celebrate commemorate and remember the bravery and sacrifice of truly outstanding soldiers And Plaster clearly delivers on that goal Thoroughly enjoyable

  6. A.j. Gamble A.j. Gamble says:

    This is the benchmark which all SOF special operations forces should be measured Major Plaster brings you into the mind of an elite warrior Deep behind enemy lines with any CASclose air support almost an hour away at most times and the prospect ofa RFuick reaction force to pull their balls off the chopping block these small 5 to 8 man teams crept through the NVA's home turf collecting intel destroying critical supply lines and even snatching a live prisoner surrounded by hundreds of enemy Rambo is a pussy compared to any SOG vetAs an AmericanSof history buff it's refreshing to see this doesn't make mistakes some books by veterans have made they'll fail to cover the details of the experience like the military designation for a fragmentation grenade the tactics used and the other finer particulars thatgive you the sense of authenticity of being there with them as they're being pursued by100 enemy through a jungle with only 4 or 5 of your brothersThe parts where the ReconTeam's are surrounded by dozens and hundreds of Charlie armed with AA guns RPG's and belt fed MG'S versus the small arms these young men had is heart wrenching Remember they had to carry everything in with them Their CAR 15 or M 16 rifles1 20 to 30 20 round mags food water heavy radios with spotty reception down to extra socks and medical kits all were in their rucks and on their person for up to 10 days at a clip Then to be hunkered down behind a small log with your teammates at your side mustbe very sobering and lonelywith all of the technology our sofguys can use to callin cas such as GPS drones and IRstrobes and lasers it is truly amazing what they did with maps a compass and their own eyes to call in500 1b bombs and napalm within50 meters of their own pos and sadly on top of their pos when their perimeter was brokenAside from the incredibly written action where the reader finds himself in the jungle smelling the rotting vegetation and feeling the weight ofthe CAR 17's metal in your arms he also makes you feel the loss of comrades and the loneliness and isolation from the high intensity of their everyday lives Plaster explains the feeling of being ayoung 20 something with the responsibility and power over his men's and the enemies lives and how that makes the trivial existence of normal life feel pointless at times You can't help but uestion your own life whenyou close the book

  7. Yukio Nagato Yukio Nagato says:

    Absolutely riveting If you like action get SOGed It's amazing how detailed Plaster is about the guns ammo mines copters and every other piece of hardware used in this war of not only the SOG forces but also those of the NVA The number of people he names is extraordinary and every incident is described so meticulously that Plaster seems almost omniscient My dad was a Marine who served in special operations so I was half hoping to see his name pop up in the book This book does a great service to shine recognition on the men who served in SOG that the military unfortunately did not due to political restraints If the entire US military were made up of men who were as badass as these guys America would've easily won this war

  8. Erik Rostad Erik Rostad says:

    This book covers the fighting done by Special Operations Groups SOG during the Vietnam War These groups secretly worked within Laos and Cambodia and sought to disrupt the Ho Chi Minh Trail that brought North Vietnamese Army supplies to South Vietnam I knew nothing of SOG before reading this book I read it because a client of mine was a part of this group and said this was the best description of the type of fighting he did during the war It was a fascinating look at special operations psychological warfare and courage

  9. Todd Kehoe Todd Kehoe says:

    I’m not going to give anything away but this book about the black ops missions mainly in Laos Cambodia during the Vietnam War There is a lot information here that has now been declassified however was kept secret for a long time The American Special Forces started in WWII however they made the identities of the Army Green Beret Navy SEAL units during the struggles of the Vietnam War to what they now are today It’s an intense read that shows successes pitfalls of the ever plagued Vietnam War

  10. Paige Gordon Paige Gordon says:

    This was a fascinating look at a group of incredible men The stories are almost unbelievable and the things these few men accomplished are just crazy Well worth the read if you enjoy militarySF history

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SOG The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam Major John L Plaster a three tour veteran of Vietnam tells the story of the most highly classified United States covert operatives to serve in the war The Studies and Observations Group code named SOG Comprised of volunteers from such elite military units as the Armys Green Berets the USAF Air Commandos and Navy SEALs SOG agents answered directly to the Pentagons Joint Chiefs with some missions reuiring approval from the White House Now for the first time the dangerous assignments of this top secret unit can at last be revealed