United States Marine Reconnaissance in the Vietnam War

Ghost Soldiers and Sea Commandos, 1963–1971


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SKU: 9781476690964 Categories: ,

About the Book

Tracing the history of U.S. Marine Force and Battalion Reconnaissance from its formation in 1898 through its operations during the Vietnam War (1963–1971), this book provides insight into Force Recon’s selection, training and deployment. Emphasis on actions with the South Vietnamese ARVN highlights important lessons for today’s Special Forces community, illustrating the inter-service cooperation of Recon operations. Firsthand accounts of Marines who served are included, along with photographs, maps and appendices.

About the Author(s)

Leo J. Daugherty III is the Senior Command Historian for the United States Army Cadet Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

Leo J. Daugherty III
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 352
Bibliographic Info: 97 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9096-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5013-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Glossary of Terms xiii
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Birth of a Concept: The Origins of Marine Force Reconnaissance (1898–1943) 5
2. Amphibious Reconnaissance Company Goes to War (1943–1945) 41
3. Reconstitution and Expansion: Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance (1946–1963) 64
4. Vietnam: The Early Years (1963–1964) 86
5. “Land the Landing Force”: Recon Goes to War (1965–1967) 93
6. “The Year of the Offensive”: 1st Marine Reconnaissance Battalion in Action (1966–1967) 126
7. “Anatomy of a Reconnaissance Patrol” 137
8. The Year of the Offensive: Recon and the Fight for the Hills (1967) 149
9. “Some Hard Fighting”: Marine Reconnaissance and the Year of Tet (1968) 190
10. The Eyes and Ears of the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions: Reconnaissance from the Air 215
11. High Mobility and Standdown: Recon’s War (1969–1970) 220
12. Redeployment and Deactivation (1969–1970) 241
13. “A War by Detachments”: U.S. Army ­Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrols in Vietnam (1966–1973) 253
14. “Ghost Soldiers” and “Sea Commandos”: Marine Recon’s War in Vietnam (1963–1971) 275
Appendix A: Marine Reconnaissance Equipment 279
Appendix B: The Medal of Honor Citation for 1st Lieutenant Frank Reasoner, USMC 281
Appendix C: Summary of Event Concerning VC Contact 21–22, 1966 282
Appendix D: The Strategic Importance of An Hoa Combat Base 284
Appendix E: “A Reconnaissance Patrol in ‘Happy Valley’ by ‘Killer Kane’ 1st Force Reconnaissance Company by 2nd Lieutenant Andrew R. Finlayson, USMC, Commander, 5th Platoon, 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, III MAF” 288
Appendix F: Lessons from Marine Recon’s War in Vietnam: Colonel Andrew R. Finlayson, USMC (Ret.) 292
Appendix G: Weapons of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army 296
Appendix H: Reflections of a Reconnaissance Marine—Lieutenant Colonel Berwick Babin, USMC (Ret.), 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company (1967–1969) 298
Appendix I: “My Story”: One Reconnaissance Marine’s War in Vietnam—Sergeant William Moss and Team Atlas 300
Chapter Notes 303
Bibliography 319
Index 327