Episode 2609 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about the MACV-SOG story. The story appeared on the US Army website and was titled: MACV-SOG History. It was submitted by Robert Seals, USASOC History Office.
The men who served with the MACV-SOG in Vietnam did their country a great service. The Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was activated, January 24, 1964, to function as a joint special operations task force. Commanded by a U.S. Army Special Forces colonel, MACV-SOG was a subcomponent of MACV. Born from a need to conduct more effective special operations against North Vietnam, many Central Intelligence Agency programs were transferred to SOG, which eventually consisted of personnel from U.S. Army Special Forces, U.S. Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEALs), U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Force Reconnaissance and CIA personnel. Special operations were conducted in North Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam.
MACV-SOG grew in size and scope over the next eight years. Missions evolved over time, and included strategic reconnaissance, direct action, sabotage, personnel recovery, Psychological Operations (PSYOP), counter-intelligence, and bomb damage assessments. Maritime operations covered the coastal areas of North Vietnam. PSYOP missions included ‘Voice of Freedom’ radio broadcasts into North Vietnam, to publicize the advantages of life in South Vietnam.
After 1970, the scope and intensity of SOG operations were affected by the ‘Vietnamization’ of the war, and steady withdrawal of U.S. forces from Southeast Asia. In March 1971, 5th Special Forces Group, the largest source of volunteers for the unit, returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Congressional restrictions prevented U.S. personnel from accompanying operations into Cambodia and Laos. On April 30, 1972, the unit was deactivated. Colonels Clyde R. Russell, Donald D. Blackburn, John K. Singlaub, Stephen E. Cavanaugh, and John F. Sadler served as SOG commanders.
Nine ARSOF SOG soldiers received the Medal of Honor and the unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. Some sources credit the organization with providing upwards of seventy-five percent of intelligence on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. SOG innovative tactics, personal equipment, and lessons learned influence SOF to this day.
Listen to episode 2609 and discover more about the MACV-SOG story.