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.
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.
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.
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.
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.