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Special Forces and CIDG Program, Vietnam, 1961-1970, Report 1971

Special Forces and CIDG Program, Vietnam, 1961-1970, Report 1971

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Published by: CWO4Mann on Dec 25, 2010
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Participation in the CIDG Program
I PREFACE1, (C) The purpose of this outline history and supporting annex?,? is to brieflyanalyze the role of USASFparticipation in the CIDG program,
Esse-ctial ts this
analysis is an examination of the role of the USASF-advised ClDG program -withinthe overall Vietnamese
2, (C) Certain problems have resulted in
limitations beiftS
placer? ~ipiln clle scopeand documentation of this history and supporting annexes.,
They iye:: I, the high
classification of certain operations and projects involving USASPpersonal, and
the non-availability in Vietnam of source documents and materials relevant tothe history,During the early years of USASFinvolvement in
the ClDG program,
few records were kept because few were required by higher
Additionallyrecords which were made in the early years,
have longsince
been retired to
Non-availability of records is also a limiting factor for +he period 1964-In fact; the period for which substantial source
documents ati materials
remain in Vietnam is the period 1969-1970.Therefore, this outline history andannexes deal mainly with the latter years of the CIDG program,jO (C) The outline history, itself is general in its scope a,nd quite limited inits documentation, oweing to the reasons previously explained.The sut.Ei,ne isbased upon three excellent government sponsored studies, some
offLAa2 XKI non-
offacial DA and 5th SF Gp (Abn) documents, numerous taped interviews and rxuestion-naires and personnel conversations which the author had with partic~pants~Theoutline is useful since it deals with major trends and events and
puts them into
the perspective of the larger Allied effort in South Vietnam.
The annexes to the
outline history are narratives written by USASFpersonnel, about ,~!.~rdinate f?and separate B detachments as well as Group Headquarters"
&aft‘ +i;x~onsO The
annexes examine in greater detail than the outline, trends and ev~nis which weresignificant to the subordinate detachments or Headquarters staff" activity,I;. (C) The bibliography contains source materials on hand af HQ, 3.h SF Gp (abn)at the time during which this outline history was written,To 81.A fut u.rehistorians, a disposition remark has been made for each docume!$.
8312 14
COP,; 3
? COpi.i%S
1, (U) Prior to 1961 USASFparticipation in the Vietnamese count~%==inzurgencywas limited to the temporary Mobile Training Teams dispatched f.r~ Okinawa toassist in the training of ARVNunits,2, (U) In November of
the Combined Studies Division 4~GSi.i:i 1.'tile US mar-ations Mission ititiated a project among the Rhade tribesmen of' !XON ENAOvillageinMR 2, By arming and training these Montagnards, together with dsve:loping andsupporting soeio-economic projects of benefit to the tribesmen, .i? W~C:hazed thatthey would resist VC proselyting activities,mSF a& IJmF pw:~~nw;:. were &a&e&with
and training missions, while logistical support wan ~":~~vfd& throughthe USASF,The program was well reveived by the Rhade tribeRn~~:;. .:-?W~;WWrap%dlyfrom one village in November
to over 200 villages by Novembw 1962,30 (U) Wing the period of the Buon Rnao experiment with the Rkde, a numberof other programs were initiated by the CSDin an effort to extarld governmentalcontrol over areas either lost to the GVN, or where control wan :ArongJ.y con-tested, The purpose of these other programs was to develop Jjtir:AKil'Zt.ary forces,among ethnic and religious minority groups,which could assist t.he counter-in-surgency forces of the GVN,These paramilitary support activxtLit.5 kgether ti;ththe Area Development Centers which extended out of Buon Rnaa in *,!b.mqx5ng of ,136;into the Montagnard tribal regions and elsewhere came to be o.r"fi~:-Jial.ly designatedas the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) Program,kc0 (U) In June of 1962 the Defense Dept decided to transferop%rXt3aoar r%arpa-rsr-sibility for the CIDG program from CSD to.the US Army,A one yes p"nusa;4nperiod completed the transfer in July
So (U) By February
HQ, USASF(P) V had assumed operatiOri?rreqx,nsibilityfor the CIDG program in all four Corps Tactical Zones.6, (U) The Horder Surveillance (BS) Program, generated by tkLc:!.lkiili; .fQr" i&al-ligence of increasing enemy troop and supply infiltration ink E:rky became partof the CIDG program in Nov
USASFin Vietnam were assigned (a:i 3;: kkiftionaI mia-zsion responsibility for the Horder Surveillance Program,
star-~3 .u~ JIGS 1962,
.under the operational control of CSD, units in this program WWP .i‘i~m~ly calkd"Trailwatchers" and later, "Mountain Scouts".Their general m;i;:: *:!w was to pro-vide a reconnaissance and intelligence screen along the Lacxtitir; ;I~~! Catitlndian bos--ders, As with the interior CIDG sites the Border Surveillancs <rc~ept; called foreventual integration into the Strategic Hamlet Program and absn:'p'.ion of StrikeForces into RVNAF,Starting with 4 RS sites in November,
Ix.MMr wa3 in7creased to 18 in the spring of
- on half the total CIDG s.%+z&s%afEed by USASF,8, (U) During July
211 villages of the Buon Enao complex were turnedover to Provincial controLDue to its relationship with the WE %rategic H,amle+
Program, it has been a characteristic of the CIDG program to phase itself out inan ar8a which has become sufficiently free of VC influence.This enables tbe province chief to assume responsibility for the trained irregulars and fortified camp&
(U) In May,
operational control over USASFWA" detachments was assignedto the Senior Advisor in each Corps Tactical Zone.This control was exercisedthrough the USASFWBndetachments then assigned at corps level.This new commandrelationship enabled the Corps comer to readily integrate CIDG operations.The highly efficient VNSF/USASFintelli.g8nce effort, based upon the participationof persons indigenous to the operational area of the CIDG camp, was to prove in-valuable to the Corps commanders. Many of the more productive ARVNand US oper-ations after
began as a result of CIM; contacts or intelligence,10. (U)
was the year that marked
beginning of the US conventional unitbuild-up in RVNeThis build-up was largely responsbile for a noticeable shiftin priorities in CIDG operations.The new US units, unfamiliar with the opera-tional environment of Vietnam came, out of necessity, to depend on the area know-ledge and intelligence capabilities of the WASF advisad CIDG program.This inturn, caused the VNSF/USASFto devote increas~efforts towards the militaryaspects of thair mission, at the
of the ndrea D8velq3mentw
Thusit came to be that the main contribution of the USASF/VNSF/CIDGtoward defeatingVC and Main Force units lay not in att8mpting to 8ngage and defeat them, but infinding them for conventional forces.The missions as assigned in
remainedbasically unchanged through
ll. (U) It was also in
that the 5th SF Gp (Abn) deployed to RVN to assumecommandand staff supervision over the USASFdetachments operating there, estab-lishing nCWteams in each Corps area to act as comma& control, administrative andlogistical headquarters.12. (C) The MIKE FORCESwere organized in
\mder unilateral USASFcommandand were brought uxxier joint USASF/VNSFeommarxiin D8cember
Strength, aa vof mid
was 19 companies.Mobile Guerilla Forces were created in
for8xtended reconnaissance operations.In
both were referred to and employedasMIKEFORClZS.13. (U) As the demands for support by US combat units increased, so too didrequirements relating to the GVRpacification program.In
MACVassigned asubsector advisory mission,co-equal with the CIDG advisory mission, to A det-achments situated near district capitols.Some detachments were even assignedto subsectors without a co-equal CIDG mission.In certain provinces in III andIV CT& the control B detachments w8re assigned the co-equal advisory mission,The mission of an A or B detachment cosm%%xier,in this role, was to advise andassist the district or province chief in the training and employment of his re-gional and popular forces.
UC. (U) In 1966,
at the direction of COMUSMACV,5th SF Gp (Abn) staffed andprovided facilities for a Long Range Reconnaissance school designated the MACVRecondo School.The school was highly successful at training selected US and
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