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Hardcover Sog: A Photo History of the Secret Wars Book

ISBN: 1581600585

ISBN13: 9781581600582

Sog: A Photo History of the Secret Wars

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Book Overview

This is the companion photo history to SOG: The Secret Wars of American's Commandos in Vietnam. In 1972 the U.S. military took steps to ensure that such a book could never be printed by destroying all... This description may be from another edition of this product.

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

This is a fascinating book

This book tells the story of secret ("black") military operations run by the United States during the Vietnam War. Under the name Studies and Observations Group (SOG), the secret was kept so well that few veterans ever heard of it until long after the war. It was composed purely of volunteers from the best of the American military, including Army Special Forces and Navy SEALs. Their missions involved going behind enemy lines in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam, areas officially off limits to US ground troops. That's why all of their missions were classified. The North Vietnamese went to great lengths to keep the Ho Chi Minh Trail open at all times. Special military units, stationed from one end to the other, had the task of maintaining and defending a 20-30 mile stretch. If the US bombed a particular area one day, it would be fixed and open the very next day as if nothing happened. The task of a SOG team could be practically anything, from prisoner snatching, to confirming something seen in aerial reconaissance to placing sensors on a road to give Intelligence an idea as to the traffic level. Every mission was meticulously planned and rehearsed. From the moment they were on the ground behind enemy lines, the team members could assume that the enemy was seconds, or minutes, away. A number of teams made it out safely (the only escape route was by air), but they had to shoot their way out. Some teams were never heard from again. Since their missions were secret, nothing the soldiers wore or carried could be traced to America. There were no dogtags, no obviously American uniforms, and, in many cases, their weapons were foreign modified weapons. This book also profiles the people who risked their lives day after day. To most people, they wer just American soldiers who served in Vietnam, but, to those who were there, the following names are practically legend: Larry Thorne, Billy Waugh, Walter Shumate, Jerry "Mad Dog" Shriver and Dick Meadows. When SOG was disbanded in 1972, all the photo files were ordered destroyed. The interesting thing about this book is that the several hundred photos here are not the "official" photos. The photos were taken by the men who were there and kept in trunks and shoeboxes for many years. The author also knows something about SOG, having been a three-tour veteran. For military historians and those interested in special operations, this book is a requirement. For the rest of us, this is a fascinating look at an unknown part of the Vietnam War. It is highly recommended.

When Giants Walked the Earth

Some years ago one of my friends from 3rd Battalion, 12th Special Forces Group, and I were talking about the men we knew who served in SF during the war in Southeast Asia. My friend, an old sergeant with a lot of time "downrange," commented that it was a time when giants roamed the earth. The giants he was referring to were the old-timers in 3/12, some of whom were SOG veterans, a few of which are mentioned in John Plaster's second inspiring book. These giants don't talk much (even in a "safe bar") about their excursions across the battlefield, but Plaster has told their story again, even better than before. The photographs add a depth and detail that is nothing short of stunning. What he has given us is a big family album of the hardest of the hardcore SF community. This book gives you an idea of what kind of stress the experience of long-term direct combat with a skillful enemy is actually like, something no American units have encountered for nearly two decades. US Army Special Forces is a different kind of place today, and still a home for giants. But there was something about the pressure-cooker of Southeast Asia that filtered and distilled the very best qualities of the American soldier and turned him loose with lethal effect on the NVA and VC. They were ultimately betrayed by their chain of command, but before they were pulled out, they became the stuff of legend. John Plaster has preserved that legend twice, and this photo history is a wonderful contribution to the history of these amazing men and their accomplishments.

It's about time! A comprehensinve no-bull history of SOG.

I've waited a long time for book like this. Over the years I've bought quite a few books on special operations during the VN war, but none have provided all the information I sought in one comprehensive volume abounding with pictures. The chapters are logically divided by subject matter, such as history, missions, weapons and equipment, air support, etc.... Get this book!! It will change the way you see the Vietnam War. These SOG guys were the ultimate soldiers.

A precious visual reference...

If you already own John L. Plaster's 'SOG - The Secret History...' book then the text will be nothing new for you, but the photos most certainly will be. A unique and precious visual record of SOG classified ops' and fighting heroes. It truly would have been a tragedy if, as the US Government intended, none of these photos had ever seen the light of day, nor outlasted the end of the war. Thats what really makes this book so special I think. It's great that these photos have been brought together and published now, so they can serve as another vital and precious piece of SOG's 'public' history. A great addition to anyone's SOG collection.

Exotic Asian Vacation Trips Courtesy Uncle Sam by SOG Travel

If you thought John's first book was a trip (SOG: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam), this one is mandatory. It is bound to become required reading in every senior war college in every country in the world. It is covert operation best of breed techniques and tactics evolved by both sides over an eight year period. It also puts an evolutionary perspective on the development of those tactics and techniques. How to put em in, pull em out, what to wear, what to take, what to do while you're there, how to do it, and what to whistle while you're doing it. Moves and counter moves. "Hey John, what do we do about the dogs?" Because both books cover the same unit and period, there is a superficial duplication. The first book was primarily a collection of amazing, small, war stories in a historical framework with enough background and profile material to hold anyone's interest. While it had a little of the soldier's bias "from the bottom of the trench", the current book is a lot more objective with more history and substantial tactical and technical detail. Did I mention 700 photographs? Two of the photographs are mine and he actually spelled my name right - Thank you John. About half of the book could (and will) be used as textbook and manual for future recon operations. It also includes a lot of info on the intel/spy/psyops operations and miscellaneous odds & ends we occasionally got mixed up in. The photographs are unreal. Nothing like this has ever been done. It is an instant classic in military circles.This unit was unique in that it could only have evolved in the way that it did in the time frame and with the people as they existed. Almost all of the SOG commanders were either WWII OSS or jungle guerilla types. The last missions were run in '72 and in another 2 or 3 years, all of the experienced people from SOG left in the military will have retired. The Army in their infinite (and normal) wisdom evidently destroyed the photographs and most of the documentation. The senior brass that is left will not have the foggiest idea of what this is all about. You can recreate the TO & E and fill the slots, but you cannot order people to do what the men in this unit volunteered to do three or four times a day (or night). John does an excellent job describing that esprit de corps and comradery that makes men stand in line, without a thought to personal safety, to leap in harm's way to rescue another. There was a lot of James Bond and John Wayne in this outfit. What does live on exists in the spirit and knowledge imparted to and residing in the various Special Operations Command units. There is still some well deserved bitterness because we often had to fight our own senior military command, State Department, and politicians as well as the North Vietnamese, and any of the above could get you killed. There might be some more bitterness due to the fact that after the US pulled out of South Vietnam, a lot of th
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