Thirty-five years before U.S. Army Special Forces infiltrated al-Qaida strongholds in the jagged mountain peaks of Afghanistan, Special Forces led Studies and Observation Group, or SOG, teams were conducting top-secret operations against North Vietnamese Army sanctuaries in the tangled, humid jungles of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
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SOG was organized in March, 1965, to conduct covert, cross-border operations, deep inside enemy-denied territory in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam to gather intelligence about the ever increasing North Vietnamese Army build-up along the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Trail, a network of roads and trails originating in North Vietnam and extending throughout eastern Laos and Cambodia, was utilized by the North to transport NVA equipment and troops, later thrust into action against U.S. Forces in South Vietnam.
SOG teams, comprised of 4-6 indigenous mercenaries and led by 2-3 Special Forces “Green Berets,” penetrated by helicopter and performed the most difficult and dangerous of missions behind enemy lines. Their job, much like Special Forces Delta teams in Afghanistan, was to hinder NVA infiltration by identifying enemy targets for air strikes, conducting ambushes, mining roads and trails, sabotaging trucks and equipment, and capturing prisoners. By locating the enemy before they had an opportunity to strike, SOG teams’ courageous acts were responsible for saving the lives of thousands of American soldiers.*
Throughout the war, SOG teams spotted Caucasians fighting alongside North Vietnamese Army troops. It was believed they were either Russian or East European advisors, foreign mercenaries, or American deserters. None of the “round eyes” was ever captured, dead or alive. Longshadows, is a novel about a SOG team and their hunt for an allusive “round eye” observed fighting with an element of North Vietnamese soldiers in southeastern Laos.
Rocky Coast Publishing is dedicated to all the courageous men who routinely risked death to infiltrate behind enemy lines.
PRAIRIE FIRE, the first novel chronicling the exploits of SOG teams in Laos during the Vietnam War, is now available in a new, revised edition.
* For further historical information, read: SOG: The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam, by John L. Plaster, Simon & Schuster, 1997 and SOG: A Photo History of the Secret Wars, by John L. Plaster, Paladin Press, 2000. For additional books and novels on Special Operations, click on www.realwarstories.com.