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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Vietnam War > Vietnam War Videos

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Vietnam War Videos Videos and documentaries about the Wars in Vietnam 1945-1975

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  #1  
Old 05 Apr 10, 01:39
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Arrow Video: Green Hornets, Ban Me Thout Special Forces Camp

Here's one for lirelou:

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  #2  
Old 07 Apr 10, 20:48
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Thanks Boonie, Technically speaking, that is not the US SF Camp at Ban Me thuot, which was Detachment B-23, whose compound was within BMT City. You are looking at Project Omega and its supporting USAF 21st SOS, which flew the November model Hueys. Flew with them twice. Felt funny to have a LTC and MAJ in the front seats. You can see the Project Omega insignia on the podium, and I believe that Major Lauren Overby's face flashed past. I always thought he was up in CCN. Anyway, Omega became MAC-V-SOG's Command and Control South (CCS) in 1968. I believe that the air strip you see onthe video is the present BMT airport.
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Old 08 Apr 10, 08:48
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Correction, 20th SOS.
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Old 07 Aug 14, 09:54
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Ltc. Lauren Overby

How well did you know my grandfather, Ltc(ret.) Lauren Overby?
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Old 07 Aug 14, 11:02
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We met during Project MASSTER at Fort Hood. I was the Ranger Controller for one of the exercises, and he was up on staff. At that time, IIRC, he was the G-1 at III Corps. I was a Battalion S-4 in the 1st AD. I had met LTC Jack Warren on a visit to CCN at Danang, and as your Grandfather knew him, that kick-started out conversation.

In those days, there was no Special Forces Association. There was the Decade Association which required ten years in Special Forces to join. Since the majority of SF troopers returning from Vietnam had far less than that, we decided to form a Special Forces Association at Fort Hood, and your Grandfather showed up at our meetings, and being the senior officer, was elected "Detachment Commander". I served as the XO (Sec/Treas). We did two annual Special Forces dinners, bringing Martha Raye out for the second. Colonel Earl Trabue was also a member, as were well over a hundred officers and NCOs stationed at Fort Hood. (In those days, SF NCOs returning from Southeast Asia could be assigned anywhere. Company A, 75th Rangers, had a whole bunch of Cambodian wing wearers from the FANK program.)

Our very first association dinner was a rousing success. The stateside main Army Officer's clubs in 1970 were still old fashioned and dull. The annexes could get wild. But during our dinner (at the Main Club ballroom), which started with a bottle of wine for every couple with every attendee giving a toast, things really kicked off. The wait staff served our meal through the toasts and everybody kicked back and relaxed. Your Grandfather gave a toast to Mad Dog Jerry Shriver ("Greatest Recon man in the business") on the second round, some discussion ensued between the C&C Vets present over whether Shriver had been KIA, or defected to the NVA for some enormous amount of money (remember, no one was really sober by this time), and to defuse the situation LTC Scroggins, a USAF pilot (Raven FAC?) got up and called for everyone to "chute up". We were seated at long tables, due to our numbers, so the tables were pushed together end to end to form a long Ramp. (Remember, we were all in Blues or service Dress Uniform), and with Scroggins giving the jump commands, we climbed up on the table "ramps", airborne shuffled down to the end, and executed a PFL to the cheers of ourt wives and girlfriends.

The Club employees never saw anything like it. The Club Officer arrived to voice his complaint and was shouted down. After that the party adjoined to the bar. The employees actually kept the club open an hour or so later than normal because they too were having a good time. At the club bar (02:00ish), one of our number, a very tall Major (An MI SF Major at that), had fallen asleep at the bar. Recognizing me as one of the two guilty parties (or maybe, as a Captain, an easier target than your Grandad) the Club Officer came over to complain that the club was legally closed. He had the poor judgment to announce that the passed out Major was a 'disgrace to the Army', thereby irking the Major's wife, who had gone through two combat deployments alone, and she, being an SF wife, she hauled off and hit the club officer in the face.

Monday morning, I got a call from your Grandfather, telling me we were scheduled to see LTG Powell, the post commander, that afternoon. We did. We both got our butts chewed royally. And as we left the building, I commented that that was the end of my career. And your Grandfather said words to the effect of: "Don't sweat it. Powell's a leg, but he's not bad, and he knows what it's like to get shot at. I'll bet the Army took more than a few years to tame him after (his) war. He's just getting the process started with us."

I left Fort Hood in April 1972 (following another personal courtesy from then retired LTG Leslie Powell). A year or two later the SF Decade Association changed its name to the Special Forces Association, and whatever we had at Fort Hood either went away or became a Chapter.

Anyway, that's where I know your Grandad from. Years later, we spoke on the phone while I was researching his role in over-the-beach operations during the Korean War as part of the UNPFK / UNPIK effort.

ps: In 1970-72 Fort Hood had your Grandfather, Col Trabue (CCS) and LTC Van Sickle (Another SOG commander). Makes one wonder if Hood wasn't some sort of MACVSOG zoo. But it also had Project MASSTER, which must have had some connection to the Army's decision to bring back Ranger battalions.
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Last edited by lirelou; 07 Aug 14 at 11:11..
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Old 07 Aug 14, 18:38
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Thank you for the story. He never discussed his service with me while I was growing up so it is nice to hear a good story about him. Sounds like he was a fun guy to serve with. Do you have any pictures or other stories with him? Thank you again for your time and I know my dad and his brother will enjoy this story as well.
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Old 08 Aug 14, 11:53
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I don't have any photos from that period. From 1972 to 1980 I lived and moved through several countries, using Puerto Rico as my base. After returning to active duty, first in recruiting and then Special Forces, my first marriage fell apart. Between Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, Utah, Fort Bragg, a second marriage, Panama, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Korea, and finally Florida, lots of things got lost.

As mentioned, during the Korean War your Grandad was based at Yang Yang, which you can google. It was a small base for insertions further up into North Korea by parachute or across the beach. Based on what he told me, he and another American (and presumably one or two Korean resistance members) would get up to the highest mountain from which they could observe their targets (railroad tunnels, bridges, etc.) and call in naval gunfire on anything worthwhile, usually trains. The Soviets taught both the Chinese and North Koreans modern battlefield logistics during the war. The U.S. controlled the skies, but Korea is extremely mountainous and deep rock railroad tunnels were fairly common. The resupply trains would move from tunnel to tunnel at night-time, holing up in the tunnels by day. The U.S. would bomb the bridges, but the North Koreans would either rebuild them at night, or move the trains close enough to the bombed bridges so that the pre-packaged supplies (roughly 80 pounds each) could be unloaded and carried across by hand or "A Frame", to trucks or another train on the other side.

Your Grandad and his men would observe their target area, and when they saw a train or trans-loading activity, they would call it in to U.S. (and one Thai) ships with naval guns, who would shell the target. Then would come the hard part, getting the Hell out without getting caught. Just think of him as an early earthmobile version of the armed reconnaissance 'drone' ;-)

ps, He looks pretty young at 00.10 of the film clip. He looked much older a few years later. Also, I thought he retired as a Colonel O-6. I never asked him his rank in the Korean War, presuming it to be a corporal or sergeant. Yet I found this listing for the 9th Infantry at Kapyong, 1951. Understand that there were some very young senior grade sergeants in the Korean War (when grades E-8 and E-9 did not exist):

EM on TDY


Pvt Wladyslaw Zawisza Pfc Delbert Gautney
Sgt Paul L. Hoyt Cpl Roger C. Moody
Cpl Maynard G. Morrow M/Sgt Lauren Overby
Sgt George A. Rowlette Sfc Ray H. Wolfe


http://koreanwar-educator.org/memoirs/brown_charles/
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Last edited by lirelou; 08 Aug 14 at 12:36..
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