A Special Essay
B. R. (Ray) Chambers

This essay is based upon the experience I gained during the years from 1967 to 1969, while assigned to a Special Operations base located south of the hamlet of Kontum in the central highlands of South Vietnam. Forward Operations Base Number 2 (FOB 2), as this base was known, was established to train and equip indigenous personnel, and conduct long range reconnaissance patrols into denied areas of "French Indochina."

Staffing of this FOB consisted of American Special Forces personnel and Montagnard tribesmen, with aviation support assigned from other units in the same area of operations. These Rhade tribesmen and many of their families were relocated from several areas within the central highlands. The men were organized into one of two units, one known as the "Hatchet" Force (or "Regulars"), and the other as Recon Team. Those who had families with them were part of the "Hatchet" Force, a small unit of company size, approximately 200 men strong. This unit had its own command staff. American involvement with this unit was to advise and, if necessary, assume operational command.

The Long Range (Recon Team) Patrol members were located on the other side of the compound, totally separate from the "Regulars." The men who made up each Recon Team had already been fighting in this war, or at least some part of it, for many years. For some of them, fighting dated back to the time when the French were involved and were trying to do the same thing the Americans were trying to accomplish. Each team had its own separate identity, and each was named after one of the States in our country. American involvement with these teams was to "COMMAND." Each team had an American team leader, known as the "one-zero," and an American second-in-command and team radio operator, known as the "one-one." If a team was "Fat" and had a third American, he was the "one-two." American and indigenous personnel at times were in short supply, especially those who were trained in this type of operation. Most teams had only two Americans at any given time. Sometimes. teams had to borrow from other teams in order to remain operational.

As a result of attrition -- voluntary, by orders, or KIA (Killed In Action) -- I had to recruit replacements and train them in order to sustain my operational capability. Experienced team leaders like myself were tasked to train these new recruits. In order to do this a training schedule, along with the subjects to be taught had to be reviewed and approved by the team leader(s) and the S-3 (Operations and Training) before training could commence. Typical training subjects are illustrated below: