Special Forces (United States Army)
The United States Army Special Forces, colloquially known as the Green Berets due to their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations force of the United States Army tasked with five primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, counter-terrorism. The first two emphasize language and training skills in working with foreign troops. Other duties include combat search and rescue, counter-narcotics, counter-proliferation, hostage rescue, humanitarian assistance, humanitarian demining, information operations, psychological operations, security assistance, manhunts. S. government activities may specialize in these secondary areas. Many of their operational techniques are classified, but some nonfiction works and doctrinal manuals are available; as special operations units, Special Forces are not under the command authority of the ground commanders in those countries. Instead, while in theater, SF units may report directly to a geographic combatant command, USSOCOM, or other command authorities.
The Central Intelligence Agency's secretive Special Activities Division and more its Special Operations Group recruits from the Army's Special Forces. Joint CIA–Army Special Forces operations go back to the MACV-SOG branch during the Vietnam War; the cooperation still is seen in the War in Afghanistan. The primary mission of the Army Special Forces is to train and lead unconventional warfare forces, or a clandestine guerrilla force in an occupied nation; the 10th Special Forces Group was the first deployed SF unit, intended to train and lead UW forces behind enemy lines in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. As the U. S. became involved in Southeast Asia, it was realized that specialists trained to lead guerrillas could help defend against hostile guerrillas, so SF acquired the additional mission of Foreign Internal Defense, working with Host Nation forces in a spectrum of counter-guerrilla activities from indirect support to combat command. Special Forces personnel qualify both in advanced military skills and the regional languages and cultures of defined parts of the world.
While they are best known for their unconventional warfare capabilities, they undertake other missions that include direct action raids, peace operations, counter-proliferation, counter-drug advisory roles, other strategic missions. As strategic resources, they report either to a regional Unified Combatant Command. To enhance their DA capability, specific Commanders In-Extremis Force teams were created with a focus on the direct action side of special operations. SF team members work together and rely on one another under isolated circumstances for long periods of time, both during extended deployments and in garrison; because of this, they develop long-standing personal ties. SF non-commissioned officers spend their entire careers in Special Forces, rotating among assignments to detachments, higher staff billets, liaison positions, instructor duties at the U. S. Army John F. Kennedy Special School, they are required to move to staff positions or to higher command echelons. With the creation of USSOCOM, SF commanders have risen to the highest ranks of U.
S. Army command, including command of USSOCOM, the Army's Chief of Staff, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Special Forces traces its roots as the Army’s premier proponent of unconventional warfare from purpose-formed special operations units like the Alamo Scouts, Philippine guerrillas, First Special Service Force, the Operational Groups of the Office of Strategic Services. Although the OSS was not an Army organization, many Army personnel were assigned to the OSS and used their experiences to influence the forming of Special Forces. During the Korean War, individuals such as former Philippine guerrilla commanders Col. Wendell Fertig and Lt. Col. Russell W. Volckmann used their wartime experience to formulate the doctrine of unconventional warfare that became the cornerstone of the Special Forces. In 1951, Major General Robert A. McClure chose former OSS member Colonel Aaron Bank as Operations Branch Chief of the Special Operations Division of the Psychological Warfare Staff in the Pentagon.
In June 1952, the 10th Special Forces Group was formed under Col. Aaron Bank, soon after the establishment of the Psychological Warfare School, which became today’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School; the 10th Special Forces Group was split, with the cadre that kept the designation 10th SFG deployed to Bad Tölz, Germany, in September 1953. The remaining cadre at Fort Bragg formed the 77th Special Forces Group, which in May 1960 was reorganized and designated as today’s 7th Special Forces Group. Since their establishment in 1952, Special Forces soldiers have operated in Vietnam, Laos, North Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Somalia, Kosovo, 1st Gulf War, Iraq, the Philippines, Yemen, Niger and, in an FID role, East Africa. 1st Special Forces Command In 1957 the two original special forces groups were joined by the 1st, stationed in the Far East. Additional groups were formed in 1961 and 1962 after President John F. Kennedy visited the Special Forces at Fort Bragg in 1961.
Nine groups were organized for the reserve components in 1961.. Among them were the 16th and 17th Special Forces, Groups. However, 17th Special Forces Gr
South Vietnamese Regional Force
During the Vietnam War, the South Vietnamese Regional Forces were Army of the Republic of Vietnam militia. Recruited locally, they fell into two broad groups - Regional Forces and the more local-level Popular Forces. In 1964, the Regional Forces were integrated into the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and placed under the command of the Joint General Staff. Fielded as village-level or province-level defence forces, these units were militia-men while working part or full-time. Given the worse equipment available, they served as a front-line force against armed attacks but were marginalised and demoralised during the American-intervention, as ARVN Regular Forces were relegated to guarding duty. Following Vietnamization these units once again came back to prominence as they became better trained and tasked with carrying out wider area operations despite lacking artillery and air support, they would serve as front-line provincial defence units while Regular Forces were deployed against conventional People's Army of Vietnam forces, grew to number 250,000 by 1974.
The concept of Regional and Popular Forces is in-line with countering the Local Force and Main Force structure of the Viet Cong as they lacked firepower support, while the ARVN Regular Forces fought the PAVN. Local militia came to play a effective role in the war, as the style of small-unit warfare was better suited for guerrilla conflicts with most more familiar with the region and terrain. Despite being poorly paid, these forces were much more capable at detecting infiltration and holding civilian areas. Accounting for an estimated 2-5% of war budget, they were thought to have accounted for 30% of casualties inflicted upon VC/NVA throughout the entire war. Part of this derives in these units being more capable of engaging in small-unit, highly-mobile tactics which proved difficult for slow-moving equipment-heavy units. During the early 1960s the Regional Forces manned the country-wide outpost system and defended critical points, such as bridges and ferries. There were half of them in the Mekong Delta region.
Regional Forces played a key role in regional security in the early phase of the war, while RF/PF members were marginalised and side-lined during the American-intervention as Regular Force Army of the Republic of Vietnam Units were relegated to guarding bases and areas, badly affecting morale and purpose. When U. S. forces began to withdraw from South Vietnam during 1969 and the ARVN began the task of fighting the communist main force units, Regional Forces took on a new importance. For the first time, they were deployed outside their home areas and were sometimes attached to ARVN units. By 1973 the Regional Forces had grown to 1,810 companies, some of which were consolidated into battalions. Charged with local defense under provincial government control, they were too armed and equipped, marginally trained, lacked the unit cohesion to withstand attack by regular People's Army of Vietnam units supported by tanks and artillery. Most forces were subdued, retreated or were destroyed during the Easter Offensive
II Corps (South Vietnam)
The II Corps was a corps of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the army of the nation state of South Vietnam that existed from 1955 to 1975. It was one of four corps in the ARVN, it oversaw the region of the central highlands region, north of the capital Saigon, its corps headquarters was in the mountain town of Pleiku. One notable ARVN unit of II Corps, the 3d Armored Cavalry Squadron, earned the Presidential Unit Citation; the 21st Tank Regiment was formed at Pleiku in 1972. The objective of the North Vietnamese forces during the third phase of the Nguyen Hue Offensive was to seize the cities of Kon Tum and Pleiku, thereby overrunning the Central Highlands; this would open the possibility of proceeding east to the coastal plains, splitting South Vietnam in two. The highlands offensive was preceded by NLF diversionary operations that opened on 5 April in coastal Bình Định Province, which aimed at closing Highway 1, seizing several ARVN firebases, diverting South Vietnamese forces from operations further west.
The North Vietnamese were under the command of Lieutenant General Hoang Minh Thao, commander of the B-3 Front. The Front included the 320th and 2nd PAVN Divisions in the highlands and the 3rd PAVN Division in the lowlands – 50,000 men. Arrayed against them in II Corps were the South Vietnamese 22nd and 23rd Divisions, two armored cavalry squadrons, the 2nd Airborne Brigade, all under the command of Lieutenant General Ngo Du, it had become evident as early as January that the North Vietnamese were building up for offensive operations in the tri-border region and numerous B-52 strikes had been conducted in the area in hopes of slowing the build-up. ARVN forces had been deployed forward toward the border in order to slow the PAVN advance and allow the application of airpower to deplete North Vietnamese manpower and logistics; the Bình Định offensive, threw General Du into a panic and convinced him to fall for the North Vietnamese ploy and divert his forces from the highlands. Tucker, Spencer C..
Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. Pp. 526–533. ISBN 1-57607-040-9
United States Army Center of Military History
The United States Army Center of Military History is a directorate within TRADOC. The Institute of Heraldry remains within the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army; the center is responsible for the appropriate use of history and military records throughout the United States Army. Traditionally, this mission has meant recording the official history of the army in both peace and war, while advising the army staff on historical matters. CMH is the flagship organization leading the Army Historical Program. CMH is behind the National Museum of the U. S. Army, under construction at Fort Belvoir and projected to open in 2020; the center traces its lineage back to historians under the Secretary of War who compiled the Official Records of the Rebellion, an extensive history of the American Civil War begun in 1874. A similar work on World War I was prepared by the Historical Section of the Army War College; the modern organization of the army's historical efforts dates from the creation of the General Staff historical branch in July 1943 and the subsequent gathering of a team of historians, translators and cartographers to record the official history of World War II.
They began publication of the United States Army in World War II series, which numbers 78 volumes, in 1946. Since the Center has produced detailed series on the Army's role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars and has begun a series on the U. S. Army in the Cold War; these works are supplemented by other publications on a mix of topics. Since its formation, the center has provided historical support to the Army Secretariat and Staff, contributing background information for decision making, staff actions, command information programs, public statements by army officials, it has expanded its role in the areas of military history education, the management of the army's museum system, the introduction of automated data-retrieval systems. The center's work with army schools ensures that the study of history is a part of the training of officers and noncommissioned officers. Much of this educational work is performed in army museums. Under the direction of the chief of military history and his principal adviser, the army's chief historian, CMH's staff is involved in some 50 major writing projects.
Many of these efforts involve new research that ranges from traditional studies in operational and administrative history to the examination of such areas as procurement and the global war on terror. Those works under way and projected are described in the Army Historical Program, an annual report to the Chief of Staff on the Army's historical activities. All center publications are listed in the catalog Publications of the United States Army Center of Military History, which explains how to access them. In addition, army historians maintain the organizational history of army units, allowing the center to provide units of the Regular Army, the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve with certificates of their lineage and honors and other historical material concerning their organizations; the center determines the official designations for army units and works with the army staff during force reorganizations to preserve units with significant histories, as well as unit properties and related historical artifacts.
CMH serves as a clearinghouse for the oral history programs in the army at all levels of command. It conducts and preserves its own oral history collections, including those from the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, the many recent contingency operations. In addition, the center's end-of-tour interviews within the Army Secretariat and Staff provide a basis for its annual histories of the Department of the Army; as tangible representations of the service's mission, military artifacts and art enhance the soldier's understanding of the profession of arms. CMH manages a system of more than 120 army museums and their holdings, encompassing some 450,000 artifacts and 15,000 works of military art; the Center provides professional museum training, staff assistance visits, teams of combat artists such as those deployed under the Vietnam Combat Artists Program, general museum support throughout the army. Current projects include the establishment of a National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, a complementary Army Heritage and Educational Center at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
The Chief of Military History is responsible for ensuring the appropriate use of military history in the teaching of strategy, tactics and administration. This mission includes a requirement that military leaders at all levels be aware of the value of history in advancing military professionalism. To that end, the center holds workshop. In this effort, the chief of military history is assisted by a historical advisory committee that includes leading academic historians and representatives of the army school system. Staff rides enable military leaders to retrace the course of a battle on the ground, deepening their understanding of the recurring fundamentals of military operations; as one of the army's major teaching devices, staff rides are dependent on a careful knowledge of military history. Center historians lead rides directed by the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff and attended by senior members of the army Staff, it administers the army's Command History Program, to provide historical support to army organizations worldwide.
In addition, since the first Persia
Harold Keith Johnson
Harold Keith "Johnny" Johnson was a United States Army general who served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1964 to 1968. Regarded as a premier tactician, Johnson became skeptical that the level of resources given to the Vietnam War, much of which went into'find and destroy the big main force units' operations, could deliver victory. Johnson came to believe that the Communist forces held a trump card, because they controlled whether there were engagements with US forces, giving an option to avoid battle with US forces if the situation warranted it. Harold Keith Johnson was born in Bowesmont, North Dakota, on February 22, 1912. After graduation from high school in 1929, Johnson attended the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. On June 13, 1933, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry. Johnson's first duty assignment was with the 3rd Infantry at Minnesota. In 1938, Johnson attended Infantry School at Fort Benning. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the 28th Infantry at New York.
Requesting an overseas transfer, Johnson was reassigned to the 57th Infantry at Fort McKinley, Philippine Islands in 1940. After the Battle of Bataan, Johnson became a prisoner of war of the Japanese on 9 April 1942. Participating in the Bataan Death March, Johnson was imprisoned at Camp O'Donnell and Bilibid Prison. In December 1944, the Japanese attempted to transfer Johnson and 1600 other POWs out of the Philippines. On 14 December 1944, American fighter planes sank the Japanese ship Ōryoku Maru, killing over 300 of the POWs. Johnson survived and was transferred to Japan. Unwilling to give up their POWs to the advancing Allies, Japan again transferred Johnson. Ending up in Korea, Johnson was liberated by the 7th Infantry Division on September 7, 1945. After Johnson's return to the United States, his first assignment was with the Ground Forces School. In August 1946, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, where he remained as an instructor for another two years.
Johnson next attended the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1949. After graduation, he was assigned as commanding officer, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Johnson organized the 1st Provisional Infantry Battalion at Fort Devens and, in August 1950, he was dispatched to Korea; the battalion became the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division for the defense of the Pusan Perimeter. Still with the 1st Cavalry Division, Johnson was promoted to command the 5th and the 8th Cavalry Regiments. In February 1951, he was reassigned as Assistant Chief of G3 of I Corps. Returning to the United States, Johnson was assigned to the Office of the Chief of the Army Field Forces, Fort Monroe, Virginia. In 1952, he attended the National War College. After graduation, Johnson was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G3, where he served first, as Chief of Joint War Plans Branch as the Assistant to the Chief of the Plans Division, as the Executive Officer of the Assistant Chief of Staff.
In January 1956, Johnson was assigned to duty as Assistant Division Commander of the 8th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. In 1956, he transferred with the 8th Division to West Germany. Johnson's next assignment was as chief of Seventh Army Headquarters at Stuttgart-Vaihingen. In April 1959, Johnson moved to Headquarters, United States Army Europe as Assistant Chief of Staff, G3; the following December, he was appointed chief of staff, Central Army Group at NATO Headquarters concerned with planning for the employment of French and American troop operations in Central Europe. Returning to the United States, Johnson was assigned as commandant and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In February 1963, he became assistant deputy chief of staff for military operations, Department of the Army, in July was appointed as deputy chief of staff for military operations. On July 3, 1964, Johnson was appointed the 24th Chief of Staff of the United States Army, he had told the National Guard Association that year that "military force... should be committed with the object beyond war in mind" and "broadly speaking, the object beyond war should be the restoration of stability with the minimum of destruction, so that society and lawful government may proceed in an atmosphere of justice and order."
Johnson went to Vietnam in December 1965 after the Battle of Ia Drang. He "concluded that it had not been a victory at all and that Westmoreland's big-unit strategy was misconceived". However, Johnson publicly said there was no alternative to disrupting enemy main force units in the Central Highlands as preventing them from establishing base areas in the middle of the country was essential. After talking to junior officers involved in the first major actions, Johnson concluded that enemy main force units had the ability to evade engagements, giving them the option to keep casualties below an acceptable level, but they were in fact accepting the actual kill ratios being achieved, as evidenced by them attacking United States forces. Johnson started the process to have Westmoreland replaced in Vietnam, commissioned the PROVN Study, which noted that "aerial attacks and artillery fire, applied indiscriminately have exacted a toll on village allegiance." There was a deep-seated reluctance among the Joint Chiefs of Staff to interfere with the command decisions of Westmoreland, but harassing artillery fire, by United States forces at least, was redu
Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces were the elite military units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Following the establishment of the Republic of Vietnam in October 1955, the Special Forces were formed at Nha Trang in February 1956. During the rule of Ngô Đình Diệm, the Special Forces were run by his brother, until both were assassinated in November 1963 in a coup; the Special Forces were disbanded in 1975 when South Vietnam ceased to exist after the Fall of Saigon. The Special Forces came into being at Nha Trang in February 1956 under the designation of the First Observation Battalion/Group. By 1960, most Special Forces units were involved in the FOG program. At Long Thành, they were trained in intelligence gathering and psychological operations; the main duties of the Special Forces entailed the recruitment and training of one-to-four man teams in intelligence and psychological warfare missions. The success of these missions was poor. Although minor sabotage and unrest was fomented, Hanoi declared that all agents were to be killed or captured.
Those who were captured were executed. In 1961, the Special Forces and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam 1st Infantry Division, based in the northernmost area of South Vietnam, conducted a joint operation against Communist infiltrators in northern Quảng Trị Province. In the autumn of 1961, Special Forces units began Operation Eagle at Bình Hưng with a night parachute assault. In September 1962, United States Special Forces personnel assumed responsibility of the CIA's border surveillance and Civilian Irregular Defense Group programs and began working with the ARVN Special Forces; the Special Forces continued to expand and began to operate with the CIDG. During the rule of President Ngô Đình Diệm, the Special Forces were used for repressing dissidents. Despite the fact that South Vietnam was struggling against the communist insurgency of the Viet Cong in the rural areas, the Special Forces were kept in the capital Saigon, where they were used to prevent coups or harass regime opponents. Under Diệm, the Special Forces were headed by Colonel Lê Quang Tung, trained by the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States and commanded some 1,840 men under the direction of Nhu.
Tung's most notable military activity was leading a group run by the CIA, in which ARVN personnel of northern origin were sent into North Vietnam, posing as locals, in order to gather intelligence as well as sabotaging communist infrastructure and communications. They were trained in bases at Nha Trang, Đà Nẵng and sometimes offshore in Taiwan and Okinawa. Of the eighty groups of operatives, numbering six or seven per group, that were deployed in 1963 via parachute drops or night time sampan journeys, nearly all were captured or killed; those who were captured were used for propaganda by the Communists. Tung was criticised for his management of the operations. In 1963, South Vietnam faced civil unrest in the face of Buddhist protests against discrimination by the Catholic-oriented Diệm regime. In the wake of the shootings of nine Buddhist protesters on the birthday of Gautama Buddha for defying a ban on the Buddhist flag, mass protests calling for religious equality erupted around the country.
With opposition to Diệm growing, Nhu plotted an attack against Xá Lợi Pagoda, the largest Buddhist centre in Saigon, where the movement was organizing its activities. Tung's special forces under Nhu's orders were responsible for the raid on 21 August 1963, in which 1,400 monks were arrested and hundreds were estimated to have been killed, as well as extensive property damage; these attacks were replicated across the country in a synchronised manner. Following the attacks, U. S. officials threatened to withhold aid to the Special Forces unless they were used in fighting communists, rather than attacking dissidents. Another infamous religious assault on the Buddhist community was carried out by Tung's men in 1963. In a small pond near Đà Nẵng, a hugely oversized carp was found swimming. Local Buddhists began to believe; as pilgrimages to the pond grew larger and more frequent, so did disquiet among the district chief and his officials, who answered to Ngô Đình Cẩn, another younger brother of Diệm.
The pond was mined. After raking the pond with machine gun fire, the fish still lived. To deal with the problem, Tung's forces were called in; the pond was grenaded. The incident generated more publicity as newspapers across the world ran stories about the miraculous fish. South Vietnamese army helicopters began landing at the site, with ARVN paratroopers filling their bottles with water which they believed had magical powers. Tung was reported to have been planning an operation at the request of Nhu to stage a government organised student demonstration outside the US Embassy, Saigon. In this plan and his operatives would assassinate U. S. ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. other key officials and Buddhist leader Thích Trí Quang, given asylum after being targeted in the pagoda raids. On 1 November 1963, a coup was launched by the ARVN against Diệm. Knowing Tung was a loyalist who would order his Special Forces to defend Diệm, the generals invited him to ARVN Joint General Staff headquarters on the pretext of a routine meeting.
He was arrested and executed along with his deputy and younger brother, Lê Quang Triệu. Diệm and Nhu were executed after being captured at the end of the successful coup and the ARVN's leadership changed. In 1964, the U. S. Army's 5th Special Forces Group was assigne