Overview: In mid 1965, MACSOG's Ops 35's Shining Brass reconnaissance training program was begun at Kham Duc "B-53" was the cover name for the training program which was derived from Detachment B-53, 5th SFGA who was responsible for the camp, that took place during 1966. The first SOG Reconnaissance mission was conducted on 15-18 October 1965 by SGM Charles Statst Petry and SFC William Card of Detachment B-53.
Upon assignment in-country, in Dec 1969, SOG personnel were sent to Hon Tray Island for Recondo Training acclimation to the jungle heat, afterwards assigned to their various SOG units. From the SOG unit, special selected individuals who were to run operations were then sent to Long Thanh. The Kham Duc SOG Reconnaissance training camp and school was transferred to Long Thanh -- the Kham Duc camp and school was abandoned due to it's location and enemy activity.
No one could run operations until they completed this select reconnaissance training program as Bert Moore, Senior Medic, B-53 (Jul 69 - Jul 70) stated; "Our training program includes 'real pop-up, shoot-back targets!"
In Continued Memory
Killed en route or while in training with SOG Reconnaissance Training Program as a direct result of enemy action:
18 Oct 65 - Major Harley B. Piles, Crashed in an 0-1 Birdog aircraft with Captain Winfield W. Sisson, USMC (?) Observer flying support for the 1st Recon mission.
18 Oct 65 - CPT Larry Alan Thome, FOB-l, Crashed in the first SOG Recon Mission into Laos along with the Vietnamese pilot, co-pilot, and door gunner.
10 Apr 68 - Killed In Action in an aircraft carrying five FOB 4, Da Nang, SOG soldiers to the SOG?s One Zero Reconnaissance Training program at Kham Duc when it was shot down by enemy fire.
Bryan, Aubrey A. SFC E-7
Cardosa, Crecencio, SFC E-7
Deverall, George N. CPT 0-3
Padgett, Samuel J. SFC E-7
Wilcox, Charles E. SFC B-7
30 Jul 69 - Killed In Action while at the One-Zero Reconnaissance Training Program at Long Thanh:
Walthour, Samuel W. Jr. SP/E4, B-53
22 Jan 71 - Killed In Action while on a Recon Training Mission during the One-Zero Reconnaissance Training Program at Long Thanh. These individuals were engaged by an unexpected enemy which overwhelmed them by number.
Lovelace, Kenneth, SSG E-6, B-53, Instructor
Celano Frank A, SGT E-5 CCC, Kontum, Student
Opperman, Hugh D, SGT B -5, CCC. Kontum, Student.
The photo below is a recon element consisting of individuals from CCC and CCN who had just completed the training program and was to be inserted into an area for operations at the juncture of the Son Bay (sp?) River and Rang Rang Road. This team was inserted directly on top of an underground enemy Vietnamese Transportation unit's headquarters and had to battle their way out in May 1970. Everyone on that Recon team won their Combat Infantryman's Badge during that SOG's Training Recon Mission. Note: The above information was provided courtesy of Mr. Robert Noe, pictured below on the front row, far right.
picture to enlarge. Top Row: L to R: Lawrence W
"Larry" Predmore; Bruce D. Adams; Patrick D "Pat" Lucas;
Donald M. "Bucky" Ramsey; Larry Cano. Bottom
Row: Samuel Helland; Robert Noe.
Noe was from CCN, everyone else was from CCC in the
Posted Sep 22, 07 from Marine Corps Times: Maj. Gen. Samuel Helland, has been nominated to take command of I MEF and MarCent and to receive a third star. Helland, 59, is a helicopter pilot by training and is no stranger to ground combat and unconventional warfare: A former Army Special Forces operator, he saw combat in Vietnam with 5th Special Forces Groupís Military Advisory Command (Special Operations Group. For more on Sam, click Samuel Helland's Bio