Vietnam War Bibliography:

Army Special Forces

Chalmers Archer, Jr., Green Berets in the Vanguard: Inside Special Forces, 1953-1963. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2001. xiv, 139 pp. Archer, who was black, participated in some of the earliest Special Forces activities in Vietnam and Laos. He was part of the detachment that trained what he refers to as Vietnamese Special Forces at Nha Trang in 1957; he served two tours in Laos, one with HOTFOOT in 1959, and one with WHITE STAR in 1961.

[Authors redacted], The US Army Special Forces: A Review of their Indochina Commitment and a Projection of Future Tasks. Fort Bragg, NC: John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance, 1976. Redacted copy online at governmentattic.org.

H. Lee Barnes, When We Walked Above the Clouds: A Memoir of Vietnam. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011 (forthcoming). Barnes served with A-107 at Tra Bong, in the northern part of Quang Ngai province.

Col. Charlie A. Beckwith and Ronald Knox, Delta Force. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983. pb New York: Dell, 1985. A large portion of this book deals with Beckwith's service in the Special Forces in Vietnam.

Roy P. Benavidez and Oscar Griffin, The Three Wars of Roy Benavidez. San Antonio: Corona, 1986. pb New York: Pocket Books, 1988. 272 pp. Memoir by a Special Forces Sergeant who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for a combat action in Cambodia in 1968. Due to the pretense that no U.S. personnel engaged in ground combat in Cambodia in 1968, the citation for his medal shifted the location across the border into South Vietnam.

Roy P. Benavidez with John R. Craig, Medal of Honor: A Vietnam Warrior's Story. McLean, VA: Brassey's, 1995. xvi, 211 pp.

Don Bendell, Valley of Tears: Assault into Plei Trap. New York: Dell, 1993. 182 pp. Bendell, a 1st Lieutenant, was assigned to Special Forces Team A-242, at Dak Pek (in Kontum province close to the Tri-border) in mid 1968. The team was leading Jeh troops [Montagnards, related I believe to the Bahnar]. The operation from which the book takes its title, in the Plei Trap Valley, a PAVN base area on the Cambodian border, is at the very end of the book.

Don Bendell, The B-52 Overture: The North Vietnamese Assault on Special Forces Camp A-242, Dak Pek. New York: Dell, 1992. 160 pp. PAVN attack on Special Forces Camp A-242, 1969-1970.

Don Bendell, Crossbow. New York: Berkeley, 1990. 179 pp.

Don Bendell, Snake-Eater: Characters in and Stories about the U.S. Army Special Forces in the Vietnam War. New York: Dell, 1994. 166 pp.

Pete Billac, The Last Medal of Honor. New York: Swan, 1990. Biography of Roy Benavidez.

Leonard D. Blessing Jr., Warrior Healers: The Untold Story of the Special Forces Medic, Book I, The Beginning. 229 pp. Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse, 2006. I believe this is mostly operations in Laos in the early stages of the war there, before the 1962 Geneva Accords.

Stan Bowen, In Veritas' Shadow: Truths Behind KIA-MIA-POWs in Special Operations. Bennett & Hastings Publishing, 2008. 388 pp. Memoir by a Special Forces sergeant, devoted mostly to his 1967-68 tour with Team A-255, at Plei Me (Pleiku province) in the Central Highlands. The blurb for the book on Amazon.com says says it reveals how the United States knowingly allowed a North Vietnamese agent to compromise Special Forces operations.

Ltc. L[ewis] H. ("Bucky") Burruss, Mike Force. New York: Pocket Books, 1989. 255 pp. Reprinted by Lightning Source, 2001. Burruss began his first tour with Special Forces in Vietnam in October 1967 and was immediately assigned to A-503, leading the Mobile Strike Force based at Nha Trang that operated in all Corps Tactical Zones.

Stephen A. Carpenter, Boots on the Ground: The History of Project Delta. CreateSpace, 2010. 548 pp. The author was a recon team leader in Special Forces Detachment B-52, but the book is based to a large extent on documents and interviews.

Vincent Coppola, Uneasy Warriors: Coming Back Home: The Perilous Journey of the Green Berets. Atlanta: Longstreet, 1995. xiii, 182 pp. Mostly researched at Fayetteville, NC ("Fayette Nam").

Alan G. Cornett, Gone Native: An NCO's Story.  New York: Ballantine, 2000.  292 pp.  Cornett joined the Army in mid 1965, volunteered for Special Forces, arrived in Vietnam in August 1966, and was initially assigned to B-52 (Project Delta).  The cover blurb refers to seven years in Vietnam, but this seems to be an exaggeration.  On a brief skim I don't see a date for his final departure from Vietnam, in irons after his conviction for attempted murder in the fragging of his XO at the Ranger Training Center near Nha Trang (Cornett's marriage to a Vietnamese woman had triggered conflict between them), but it cannot have been as much as seven years after his first arrival in-country.

William T. Craig, Lifer! From Infantry to Special Forces. New York: Ivy Books, 1994. 310 pp. (Title changed just before publication from the planned Snake Eater! and/or Snake Eaters!) Craig, a veteran of the Korean War, joined the Special Forces late in the 1950s, and served in Laos (beginning late 1960) and Vietnam (beginning September 1962. He didn't much like officers, but eventually rose to Command Sergeant Major. This book carries his life up to 1964.

William T. Craig, Team Sergeant: A Special Forces NCO at Lang Vei and Beyond. New York: Ivy, 1998. 357 pp. Carries Craig's story from his arrival back in Vietnam in September 1964, assigned to a B detachment at Can Tho, to his last departure from Vietnam in the second half of 1971, and then briefly to his retirement from the Army in 1976.

Bruce Davies, Battle at Ngok Tavak: A Bloody Defeat in South Vietnam, 1968. Crow's Nest, N.S.W., Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2008. 272 pp. Published in the United States as Battle at Ngok Tavak: Allied Valor and Defeat in Vietnam. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2009. 242 pp. Ngok Tavak (Ngog Tavak), a satellite camp to the Special Forces camp at Kham Duc (A-105), in the western part of Quang Tin province, was held by Mobile Strike Force Company 11 (a mostly Nung force with eight US and three Australian advisors) and two 105mm howitzers of Battery D, 2/13 Marines. It was overrun by PAVN forces May 10, 1968.

Drew Dix, The Rescue of River City. Fairbanks, Alaska: Drew Dix Publishing, 2000. xiv, 241 pp. Staff Sergeant Dix, an advisor to the Provincial Reconnaissance Unit of Chau Doc province, won the Medal of Honor for his actions in the defense of Chau Phu in the Tet Offensive.

James C. Donahue, Mobile Guerrilla Force: With the Special Forces in War Zone D. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1996. pb New York: St. Martin's, 1997. The Mobile Guerrilla Force, a company of Cambodians commanded by Captain James Gritz and Special Forces Team A-303, was established late in 1966. Most of this book is devoted to its first operations: recovery of classified equipment from a downed U-2 in December 1966, and Blackjack-31, an operation into War Zone D, January-February 1967.

James C. Donahue, Blackjack-33: With Special Forces in the Viet Cong Forbidden Zone. New York: Ivy, 1999. xix, 277 pp. A joint operation by the Mobile Guerrilla Force and Project SIGMA, near the border between Phuoc Long and Phuoc Thanh provinces, in War Zone D. The operation had started in April 1967; the book covers only May.

James C. Donahue, No Greater Love: A Day with the Mobile Guerrilla Force in Vietnam. Canton, OH: Daring Books, 1988. Reprinted under the title Blackjack-34.  New York: Ivy Books, 2000. About a mission in which the author participated as a Special Forces medic, July 18, 1967.

Capt. Roger H. C. Donlon, as told to Warren Rogers, Outpost of Freedom. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965. xi, 206 pp. Foreword by Robert F. Kennedy. pb New York: Avon, 1966. 191 pp. Captain Donlon, Commanding Team A-726, won the Medal of Honor for his leadership in defending the Special Forces camp at Nam Dong, Thua Thien province, against a heavy Viet Cong attack in the early morning of July 6, 1964.

Roger H.C. Donlon, Beyond Nam Dong.  Leavenworth, KS: R and N Publishers, 1998. 227 pp. Foreword by General William C. Westmoreland.

George E. Dooley, Battle for the Central Highlands.  New York: Ballantine, 2000.  274 pp.  Dooley arrived in Vietnam early in 1966, a Special Forces sergeant, and was assigned initially to Mai Linh (A-226), in Phu Bon province about 50 miles south of An Khe, with mostly Jarai troops.  He became an officer in 1967.  Chapters 9 and 10 mix the story of his career after his final departure from Vietnam in 1970  with the story of Ed Sprague, who had been in A-226 at Mai Linh, retired in 1968, returned to Vietnam as a civilian with CORDS, worked with John Vann and Nay Luett, and in 1975 was the senior advisor for Phu Bon province during the final collapse.

Donald Duncan, The New Legions. New York: Random House, 1967. An anti-war view by a former Special Forces sergeant.

Daniel H. FitzGibbon, To Bear Any Burden: A Hoosier Green Beret's Letters from Vietnam. Indiana Historical Society, 2005. 147 pp. FitzGibbon was in Vietnam 1968-1969; for part of that time he commanded an A Team at Duc Lap.

Ltc. Dennis Foley, Special Men: A LRP's Recollections. New York: Ivy, 1994. 340 pp. Foley joined the Army as an enlisted man, went to OCS, and began his Vietnam service at the end of 1965, assigned to 101st Airborne Brigade under David Hackworth. He later joined Special Forces.

Sergeant Major Joe R. Garner, with Avrum M. Fine, Code Name: Copperhead: My True-Life Exploits as a Special Forces Soldier. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Garner served with White Star in Laos, and later with SOG in Vietnam.

Henry G. Gole, Soldiering: Observations from Korea, Vietnam, and Safe Places. Potomac Books, 2005. xxiv, 254 pp. Gole, who eventually retired as a colonel, went to Vietnam in June 1966, serving in 5th Special Forces, including time in Blackjack 21. He served a second tour at Kontum with CCC of SOG 1970-71. The Vietnam section of this book (pp. 135-204, 243-246) is a series of vignettes, not a cohesive narrative.

The Green Beret Magazine. Reprints in book form of The Green Beret, a monthly magazine published by the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Vietnam. 5 vols., one per year, 1966-1970. Houston: Radix Press, 1989-1990(?).

James "Bo" Gritz, Called to Serve. Boulder City, Nevada: Lazarus, 1991.

Hans Halberstadt, War Stories of the Green Berets: The Viet Nam Experience. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks, 1994. 222 pp.

Alan Hoe, The Quiet Professional: Major Richard J. Meadows of the U.S. Army Special Forces. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2011. xvi, 288 pp.

David W. Hogan, Raiders or Elite Infantry?: The Changing Role of the U.S. Army Rangers from Dieppe to Grenada. Greenwood, 1992. 296 pp. At least one chaper, perhaps three, are devoted to the Second Indochina War.

Christopher K. Ives, "Knowledge and Strategy: Operational Innovation and Institutional Failure, U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam, 1961-1963." Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 2004. 294 pp. AAT 3160238.

Christopher K. Ives, US Special Forces and Counterinsurgency in Vietnam: Military Innovation and Institutional Failure, 1961-1963. Abingdon and New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2007. xii, 180 pp.

Robert W. Jones, Jr., "A Team Effort: Special Forces in Vietnam, June-December 1964." Veritas: Journal of Army Special Operations History, 2007.

Robert W. Jones, Jr., "A Team Effort: The Montagnard Uprising of September 1964." Veritas: Journal of Army Special Operations History, 2007.

Colonel Francis J. Kelly, USA, "Operations Research: At the Cutting Edge." Military Review, May 1968 (vol. XLVIII, no. 5), pp. 11-15. Improving Special Forces operations in Vietnam.

Stan Krasnoff, Shadows on the Wall: The Adrenalin-Pumping, Heart-Yammering True Story of Project Rapid Fire. Allen & Unwin, 2003. xxv, 193 pp. Foreword by James "Bo" Gritz. Krasnoff, an Australian officer, says he was assigned at the end of 1967 to Bo Gritz's outfit, a force of ethnic Cambodians led by Special Forces A-teams A-361 and A-362, working a lot in Tay Ninh province. I have seen an accusation that this book is grossly fictionalized, but the accusation did not look convincing to me. For one thing, the accuser was anonymous.

Jonathan F. Ladd oral history, part 1, part 2. Ladd commanded 5th Special Forces from June 1967 to June 1968. This oral history, from the collection at the LBJ Presidential Library, has been placed online in the Lyndon B. Johnson Oral History collection at the Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia.

Ltc. George R. Lanigan, USA (Ret.), Alone in the Valley: A Soldier's Journey in the Vietnam War. Amazon Digital Services, 2013. 260 pp.

Daniel Marvin, Expendable Elite: One Soldier's Journey into Covert Warfare. Foreword by Lieut. Colonel Martha Raye, USANC. Walterville, Oregon: Trine Day, 2003. 420 pp. I have not seen this book. I was deeply suspicious of it, when it first came out and I saw publicity for it, and its claims that Marvin's unit (Special Forces Team A-424, at An Phu in Chau Doc province, leading a CIDG force of Hoa Hao) had been assigned to assassinate Norodom Sihanouk. In late March or early April 2004, several members of the Special Forces unit in which Marvin served sued him over the depiction of the unit's activities in the book. In some ways this increases my suspicion of the book, but at least it now seems clear that Marvin really did serve in the unit in which he claims to have served, 1965-66 near the Cambodian border.

Jim Morris, War Story. Dell (paperback), 1985. Memoirs of a man who served three tours with the Special Forces in Vietnam, mainly working with Montagnard tribes in the Highlands.

R. C. Morris, The Ether Zone: U.S. Army Special Forces Detachment B-52, Project Delta. L&R Publishing, 2009. 390 pp. Foreword by General Henry R. Shelton. Apparently based to a large extent on interviews with veterans of the unit.

Robin Moore and Henry Rothblatt, Court-Martial. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971. The trial of Colonel Robert Rheault (commander of the 5th Special Forces Group) and some of his subordinates, accused of having murdered a Vietnamese they believed to be a double agent. Rothblatt was one of the attorneys for the defense.

Gordon M. Patric, The Vietnams of the Green Berets. 1969.

Charles D. Patton, Colt Terry, Green Beret. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2005. viii, 227 pp.

Gordon L. Rottman, Mobile Strike Forces in Vietnam, 1966-70. Oxford and New York: Osprey, 2007. 96 pp.

Charles W. Sasser, Always a Warrior: The Memoir of a Six-War Soldier. New York: Pocket Books, 1994. 306 pp. Sasser has been a Special Forces soldier, a journalist, and a novelist. The books is written episodically, with few dates.

Charles W. Sasser, Raider. New York: St. Martin's, 2002. 336 pp. Life of Galen Charles "Pappy" Kittleson, a WWII veteran who participated in the November 1970 Son Tay POW rescue mission.

Major General Sid Shachnow, U.S. Army, Ret, Hope and Honor. Forge Books, 2004. 400 pp. pb Forge Books, 2006. 408 pp. An overall autobiography. I don't know how much of this deals with Shachnow's service in Special Forces in Vietnam.

Col. Ronald Shackleton, Village Defense: Initial Special Forces Operations in Viet Nam. Arvada, CO: Phoenix Press, 1975. 149 pp. Written in 1964, based mostly on operations of January to August 1962.

Charles M. Simpson III, Inside the Green Berets. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1983. pb New York: Berkley, 1984. A short history of the U.S. Army Special Forces, popularly known as the Green Berets.

Howard Sochurek, "American Special Forces in Action in Vietnam," National Geographic, 127:1 (1965), pp. 38-65. Sochurek was in Buon Brieng when the FULRO rebellion of September 1964 broke out.

Shelby L. Stanton, Green Berets at War: US Army Special Forces in Southeast Asia 1956-1975. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1985. xv, 360 pp. pb New York: Dell, 1991. 396 pp.

Shelby L. Stanton, Special Forces at War: An Illustrated History, Southeast Asia, 1957-1975. Charlottesville, Virginia: Howell Press, 1990. 383 pp. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Zenith Press (MBI), 2008. 383 pp.

Jeff Stein, A Murder in Wartime: Untold Spy Story that Changed the Course of the Vietnam War. New York: St. Martin's, 1992. Stein, a former Army intelligence officer, writes about the killing by US Army Special Forces men of a Vietnamese they believed to be a double agent. They were arrested and charged with murder, in a highly publicized case, in 1969.

Leigh Wade, Tan Phu: Special Forces Team A-23 in Combat. New York: Ivy, 1997. Wade, a Special Forces radioman, was with A-23 in its July-December 1963 tour at Tan Phu, in the northern part of An Xuyen (southernmost province of South Vietnam).

Leigh Wade, The Protected will Never Know. New York: Ivy, 1998. 245 pp. Wade, a Special Forces radioman, had a 90-day TDY in Vietnam, approximately May to July 1965, mostly with the 173d Airborne Brigade (going on operations into War Zone D in June and July), some with the Bien Hoa Special Forces B-Team. He was sent to Vietnam again in September 1965 with SF Team A-211, assigned briefly to Tuy Phuoc (on Road 19 between the Mang Yang Pass and Qui Nhon), where he found the CIDG strike force company was all Vietnamese and very bad, neither competent nor interested in fighting. In November, A-211 and the strike force company shifted into the Vinh Thanh Valley ("Happy Valley"), a dangerous area northeast of An Khe. Early in 1966, Wade was assigned to C-5, just getting established with the goal of eventually running operations into Cambodia. When C-5 split into Sigma, Omega, and Gamma, he went with Sigma, and began going on operations September 1966. By November he was teaching at the Recondo School at Nha Trang. He returned to the US early in 1967.

Leigh Wade, Assault on Dak Pek: A Special Force A-Team in Combat, 1970. New York: Ivy, 1998. 273 pp. The book deals briefly with Wade's service in Thailand late 1967 to late 1969, assigned to Team A-4609, working with Thai Border Police and PARU. He went to Vietnam early in 1970, assigned to A-242, at Dak Pek, near the tri-border area in Kontum province. Dak Pek was partially overrun April 12, 1970. Wade stayed there until Dak Pek was handed over from US Special Forces to ARVN Rangers November 30, 1970.

Billy Waugh, with Tim Keown, Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and CIA Ground Soldier's Fifty-Year Career Hunting America's Enemies. New York: William Morrow (HarperCollins), 2004. Includes Waugh's lengthy service with Special Forces and SOG in Vietnam.

A. C. Weed II, "Army Special Forces and Vietnam" Military Review, August 1969, pp. 83-88. Weed had served in Vietnam with 5th Special Forces.

Steven M. Yedinak, Hard to Forget: An American with the Mobile Guerrilla Force in Vietnam. New York: Ivy Books, 1998. 276 pp. Yedinak arrived in Vietnam in the first half of 1966. In late June he was given command of Team A-322 at Suoi Da, just southeast of Nui Ba Den in Tay Ninh province. He soon learned that only about half the CIDG strikers on the payroll at Suoi Da actually existed. A few months later he was made commander of A-303, tasked with establishing the Mobile Guerrilla Force of Khmer Krom (see above under Donahue). He was bumped down to Deputy Commander when Bo Gritz was brought in as Commander. The outfit was later renamed Task Force 957. He returned to the US when his tour ended in February 1967; he had participated in Operations Black Box and Blackjack-31.

Fifth Special Forces Group Documents online in the the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, include (incomplete listing):

The section on SOG also contains considerable information on Army Special Forces personnel, since many of them served in SOG.

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Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Revised September 16, 2014.