Vietnam War Photos - Special Forces

U.S. Army Special Forces personnel served in Vietnam between 1957 and 1973. Initially restricted to training their South Vietnamese counterparts, Luc Luong Dac Biet (LLDB), in late 1961 Special Forces were also tasked with developing the Civilian Irregular Defense Group among the Montagnard tribesman in the central highlands. Though it began as a village defense system, from 1964 the CIDG program's focus shifted towards border surveillance. Camps were built along the Laos and Cambodian borders, from which SF and CIDG strike teams launched missions to detect and interdict enemy infiltration routes.

Following the introduction of conventional American combat units in 1965 the need for accurate intelligence on Viet Cong / North Vietnamese Army movements increased. Consequently Special Forces and specially trained CIDG troops began undertaking unconventional operations, including long range reconnaissance patrols and mobile guerilla actions in enemy controlled areas. U.S. Army Special Forces also provided most of the personnel for the highly classified cross-border reconnaissance teams operated by SOG.

Special Forces Captain Edward Rybat and Vietnamese Lieutenant Huyen Phuoc Thoi use the radio to call in troops during a mission against the Viet Cong in war zone "D".
Vietnamese Strike Forces and their U.
Special Forces Captain Edward Rybat looks at a Viet Cong suspect captured during mission in war zone “D”, north of Ben Cat (III Corps).
A Special Forces machine gunner fires a Browning M1919 at a group of Viet Cong insurgents on the edge of the Ap Suoi Tre rubber plantation in war zone “D”, north of Ben Cat (III Corps).
A wounded CIDG Strike Force member is helped to the medical aid station at Ap Suoi by his comrades after a fire fight with the Viet Cong in War Zone “D”.
Vietnamese Strike Forces discover a Viet Cong dugout in the Ap Suoi rubber plantation in war zone “D”, north of Ben Cat (III Corps).
A CIDG Strike Force member leads a captured Viet Cong guerrilla after a firefight at Bau Bang hamlet in war zone “D”.
Special Forces Detachment A-321, under Captain Edward Rybat (middle row, center), at their CIDG camp at Ben Cat in War Zone "D" (III Corps).
Special Forces Captain Roger Donlon returns to the CIDG Camp at Nam Dong two months after it was attacked by the Viet Cong.
Captain Edward Rybat, 1st Special Forces Group, carries an M16 whilst on a patrol in War Zone "D", north of Ben Cat (III Corps).
First Lieutenant Rick Caplin, XO of Special Forces Detachment A-321, stands by a wooden bridge over the canal at Vinh Binh in the Mekong Delta.
A Hurricane Aircat enters the docking facility at Camp Boyd in the Mekong Delta.
Members of  Special Forces Detachment A-404 (Company D) and the Vietnamese Mobile Strike Force prepare their airboats in the docking facility at Cau Lanh in the Mekong Delta.
Sergeants Larry Manes and Raymond Echevarria of the A-14 Team, 5th Special Forces Detachment, inspect the punji stake defenses at the Chau-Lang CIDG camp in An Giang province, Mekong Delta (IV Corps).
Members of the A-14 Team, 5th Special Forces Detachment, observe the construction of the CIDG camp at Chau Lang, An Giang province, Mekong Delta (IV Corps).
SP4 Frederick Paulson (left) and Sergeant Thomas Hanway of the A-14 Team, 5th Special Forces Detachment, prepare medication for a resident of Chau-Lang hamlet.
The Special Forces / CIDG camp at Tinh Bien was located at the base of a hill.
Captain William Bowser, commander of Special Forces detachment A-422, conducts a tour of the Vinh Gia camp for Brigadier General William DePuy (left), MACV J-3 (Director of Operations), Major Thuong, IV Corps Commander of Vietnamese Special Forces (LLDB), and LLDB Commander General Doan Van Quang (right).
Special Forces Sgt.
Interpreter stationed with the Special Forces B-Team at Ban Me Thout (II Corps).
Sergeant Archie Hicks, A team, 5th Special Forces Group, uses an AN/GRC-109 radio to request verification of a report from an outpost.
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