were ill advised, so I had to devise a method of making my orders known and understood. Basic hand and arm signals I learned during my basic training came out of memory and proved to be very effective. Now I could give instructions while in the jungle to the point (lead) man as well as the rest of the team. I could not speak the Montagnard language, but I could speak and communicate with them using French as the common denominator. All Vietnamese, of course, spoke French.
Next came the big test As team leader, I informed the operations section that my team -Team Nevada -- had completed training and was ready for a field training exercise, a simulation of actual patrol conditions to test individual competency. This exercise would be conducted in what was considered to be a "safe" area, just in case something went wrong.
After completion of the training exercise, we returned to the base camp. It was then time for either the acceptance party or assignment out of special operations. This applied to the Americans and Montagnards equally, for if any one of them failed in the "safe" area he might fail on real patrols, where his own life and the lives of the other team members would be at stake. Errors that were not of an extreme nature were identified and discussed, worked upon and resolved, until the team functioned as a well-oiled unit with all members thinking and acting as one.
Here was a situation where one's life was in the hands of the guy next to him, whether American or Montagnard. Errors had to be identified and dealt with immediately, even when the team was deployed on a mission.
After conducting missions with my own recon team for a period of six months and advising other teams on their missions, I was released from Recon duties. From that time forward, I devoted my attentions to being the detachment's communications officer, thus finishing out my tour of duty.
As I reflect upon some very trying times in Vietnam, I find myself grateful that I came out of there alive and well, and able to tell about them. I can honestly say that I was not responsible for any grave mistakes. Some of my men may have been injured, as was I. BUT... AT LEAST THEY STILL LIVE ............
This essay was constructed and submitted to meet the requirements of my undergraduate studies at the University of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona.