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MACV SOG CCC RECON TEAM "WEST VIRIGINA" PATCH (2nd Design Worn 1968 - 1969)
MACV SOG CCC RECON TEAM   "WEST VIRIGINA"  PATCH  (2nd Design Worn 1968 - 1969)
 
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MACV SOG CCC RECON TEAM "WEST VIRGINIA "PATCH (2nd Design Worn 1968 - 1969) - MACV SOG Reconnaissance Teams composed of Special Forces Soldiers and Indigenous personnel penetrated the enemy's most dangerous redoubts in the jungles of the Laotian wilderness and the sanctuaries of eastern Cambodia. Pursued by human trackers and even bloodhounds, these small teams outmaneuvered, outfought and outran their numerically superior foe, to uncover key enemy facilities, rescue downed pilots, plant wiretaps, mines and electronic sensors, capture valuable enemy prisoners, ambush convoys, discover an tactics as old as the French and Indian War. Fighting alongside their Montagnard, Chinese Nung, Cambodian and Vietnamese allies, SOG's Special Forces Recon Teams, Hatchet Force and SLAM Teams and platoons staged daring assess targets for B-52 strikes, and inflict casualties all out of proportion to their own losses. When enemy counter-measures became dangerously effective, SOG operators innovated their own counters, from high altitude parachuting and unusual explosive devices, to raids against key enemy facilities in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam, overran major munitions and supply stockpiles, and blocked enemy highways to choke off the flow of supplies to South Vietnam. SOG's cross-border operations proved an effective economy-of-force, compelling the North Vietnamese Army to divert 50,000 soldiers to rear area security duties, far from the battlefields of South Vietnam. Supporting these hazardous missions were SOG's own U.S. and South Vietnamese Air Force Transport and Helicopter Squadrons, along with USAF Forward Air Controllers and Helicopter Units of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. These courageous aviators often flew through heavy fire to extract SOG operators from seemingly hopeless situations, saving lives by selflessly risking their own.

The first MACV - SOG Reconnaissance Teams were initially called "SPIKE TEAMS", each team consisting of 3 US SF personnel and 9 indigenous personnel more or less. The primary mission of the teams was strategic reconnaissance gathering. The recon teams focused their energies on specific areas of the trail in order to obtain current up to date information on construction, troop movements, supplies, etc. This information was often gained at great risk to the recon teams and transmitted to OP-34 ground studies branch at SOG HQ for inclusion into the daily SITREP Reports. Relatively lightly armed the recon teams were not designed to slug it out in a pitched battle with the enemy. Instead they relied on moving without being detected, in the event a team was compromised (detected) they would break contact quickly and evade the enemy. When a recon teams were in difficulty they could call for assistance from US led reaction forces known as "HATCHET FORCES. Hatchet Forces were also used for ambushes as well as reinforcing recon teams when needed. Two or more "HATCHET FORCES" combined were termed as a "HAVOC" or "HORNET" force. The Hatchet Teams were the most aggressive of all Recon Units and were considered to be free-Lancers and operated in the True Sense as 'Aggressive Harassment Teams. Hatchet Teams were Platoon Size and much less clandestine than the Recon Teams. Hatchet Teams were inserted and extracted via Helicopter usually clearing their own LZ for pick-ups within Hot Enemy Areas well behind enemy lines. Operating primarily along the border region with Laos and North Vietnam the units dropped into enemy territory and commenced Search and Destroy missions, often, and usually with Enemy Units of much larger sizes. Hatchet teams were also dropped into areas with the Smaller Recon Teams had located large enemy forces. Also used in the pursuit of Captured US POW's known to be en-route to rear units. The attrition rate of the Hatchet Teams was high and often extractions were less than 50% of personnel that commenced operations. SOG's full companies were called "SLAM" companies, Search, Location, Annihilation, Monitor or Mission.

Most if not all of SOG's Teams had their own insignia's made up in the form of cloth patches in order to enhance team unity and esprit de corps. As most of the indigenous personnel couldn't speak English, graphics (ie Tigers, skulls, snakes, hatchets, etc) were more symbolic to them and easily understandable than words. Umpteen different cloth patches and variations exist for SOG's recon teams. Many of SOG's personnel are among the POW/MIA who never returned and are discrepancy cases.

Command and Control North, SOG's largest command fielded approximately 35 Reconnaissance Teams named after US States, Snakes and Spiders. CCN Recon Teams were; Adder, Alaska, Anaconda, ASP, Bushmaster, Cobra Alakapong, Connecticut, Crusader, Habu, Hunter, Idaho, Indiana, Indigo, Intruder, Kansas, Krait, Louisiana, Mamba, Mississippi, Missouri, Moccasin, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Python, Rhode Island, Rattler, Sidewinder, Tarantula, Viper, Virginia, Wyoming and WASP.

Command and Control Central fielded approximately 25 Reconnaissance Teams which were named after US States. CCC Recon Teams were; Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. Command and Control Central also had four 'SLAM' Companies A, B, C, and D and used indigenous personnel recruited and paid for by MACV-SOG.

Command and Control South, SOG's smallest command fielded approximately 10 Reconnaissance Teams which were name mostly after tools. CCS Recon Teams were; Fork, Lightning, Plane, Pike, Spike, Trowel, Weather, Sickle, Level and Measure.

**Special Collector's Note: A Vintage Taiwanese Made Reconnaissance Team West Virginia Patch was sold on a popular online auction for $1,525.00 in early September 2011. Buy a perfect reproduction of Reconnaissance Team West Virginia Pocket Patch at Patch Quartermaster for only $9.50.


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