SOG was the most secret elite U.S. military unit to serve in the war in Vietnam, so secret it was black meaning its very existence was carefully concealed, even denied by the government. Innocuously code-named the Studies and Observations Group, SOG contained only volunteers from such units as the Army Green Berets, USAF Air Commandos and Navy ...
SOG was the most secret elite U.S. military unit to serve in the war in Vietnam, so secret it was black meaning its very existence was carefully concealed, even denied by the government. Innocuously code-named the Studies and Observations Group, SOG contained only volunteers from such units as the Army Green Berets, USAF Air Commandos and Navy SEALs, and answered directly to the Pentagons Joint Chiefs, with some missions requiring approval from the White House. Inside Vietnam, only General William Westmoreland and a few senior non-SOG officers were briefed on SOG activities. Now Major John L. Plaster, a three-tour SOG veteran, vividly recounts the never-before-revealed exploits. SOG took on the most dangerous assignments, going behind enemy lines to penetrate North Vietnamese military facilities in Laos and Cambodia and along the heavily defended Ho Chi Minh Trail, where only air support - and sometimes no support at all - was available. As colorful as they were heroic, the men of SOG were bound together by their dedication. Though few in number, they were awarded ten Medals of Honor and hundreds of Purple Hearts. Their ranks included the wars most highly decorated unit, as well as the most highly decorated American soldier. Now their stories, among the most extraordinary to come out of the Vietnam War, can at at last be told. This Paladin reprint contains an exclusive new foreword by General John Singlaub, who served as Chief SOG from 1966 to 1968.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-11-18 Plaster (The Ultimate Sniper), a retired Army major, served three tours with the secretive "Studies and Observation Group," aka SOG, during the Vietnam War-a background he has put to good use in this authoritative and insightful look at the now defunct commando unit. Plaster does much to illuminate both this frequently misunderstood group and its extraordinary participants. Made up entirely of volunteers, SOG tackled a wide range of vital and dangerous duties, including missions deep into enemy territory and rescues of downed American pilots. Special Forces veterans in particular will delight in the descriptions of America's old tribal allies, the Montagnards of Vietnam. Specialists in poison-arrow warfare, the primitive "'Yards," Plaster explains, were both fierce fighters and a constant source of wonderment to the Americans. Plaster reveals the core of the relationship between 'Yards and Yanks in a telling anecdote in which two Green Berets win over a village chieftain with the help of some pipes and two cans of Prince Albert tobacco. Elsewhere, on a more somber note, Plaster sheds light on part of the ongoing mystery of POWs and MIAs in Southeast Asia. The secretive nature of SOG, he writes, was such that its members were accounted for via a "double bookkeeping" system. The method "proved so confounding that the Pentagon had understated casualties, a fact that became evident when families of MIAs demanded more information." A true insider's account, this eye-opening report will leave readers feeling as if they've been given a hot scoop on a highly classified project. Photos not seen by PW. Military Book Club main selection. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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