Stanton Shelby - U.S. army special forces A-Team

Author : Stanton Shelby
Title : U.S. army special forces A-Team Vietnam combat manual
Year : 1988

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Throughout the past decade, the officers, noncommissioned officers, and men of the United States Army, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) have trained with, advised, and fought beside the Vietnamese Special Forces. We have lived among the Vietnamese people, whom we have learned to respect and understand. Over these long and difficult years, Special Forces troopers have unreservedly given themselves to this new and struggling Republic in its fight for survival against oppression. The unmatched, heroic battlefield exploits and the countless humanitarian civic action accomplishments that came from the hearts of so many brave men have been a major contribution to the building of this young nation and have indelibly written a new and glorious page in the history of the American soldier in defense of freedom. Ten years ago, in the remote and isolated reaches of Vietnam, a handful of gallant, tough-minded, superbly trained men wearing Green Berets initiated the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) program. They established a relationship and a dialogue with the ethnic minority tribal groups throughout Vietnam, especially in the nearly inaccessible highlands, who at the time were being subjected to an enemy campaign of terror which was intended to coerce these people to stand against their government. These hardy and resourceful Vietnamese tribal people, who hunted with spears and crossbows and primitively farmed the highland countryside, were separated from the mainstream of the Republic by their location and by the incursions of hostile enemy forces. These people were extremely vulnerable. After untold sacrifices and unimaginable difficulty, the United States Army Special Forces soldiers, side by side with the gallant Vietnamese men of Vietnamese Special Forces (LLDB), slowly gathered these people together and led them in a new commitment of resistance against the communist terrorists. The CIDG soldier became a very important part of the initial defensive mechanism of the Republic of Vietnam at a time when there were few others to fight in defense of the remote areas. Today, the men who began as Civilian Irregulars have been assimilated into the regular Army of the Republic of Vietnam. They are manning the outpost line of resistance along the international borders of the Republic, the first line of Vietnamese in the continuing battle to remain free of oppression. The uplifting of these wonderful and heroic people of Vietnam to a realization of full citizenship status is a truly outstanding accomplishment. You can be justly proud of this magnificent contribution to these, our fellow men. In the face of seemingly impossible obstacles, your spirit has never dampened, your gallantry and soldierly courage has never faltered. Many whom we have marched with, and their loved ones-their wives, children, and parents-have given years of happiness and personal dreams, and some their very lives, so that others could realize this precious freedom. The sacrifices have forged a bond between those of ts who continue and those who preceded us and set the standards so high. A relationship tempered and hardened by adversity and the heat of battle has become an irrevocable commitment and a singleness of purpose for all Green Beret soldiers who have served here-Freedom for the Oppressed. General Douglas MacArthur, speaking of the Long Grey Line of West Point, admonished the Corps of cadets never to fail in their performance of their Duty. His statement is applicable, of course, to every soldier of our Army and at this time, especially appropriate for we who wear the Green Beret to recall: "Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and grey, would rise from their white crosses, thundering magic words: Duty, Honor, Country." Remember always the mantle you have assumed and the proud men who wore the Green Beret in this war-those gallant men whose names are enshrined in our memories of countless patrols and battles. Let us ask ourselves each day, and truthfully answer with the performance of whatever duty we are assigned, that nothing will ever tarnish the Green Beret nor the memory of our fallen comrades. You have performed your duty in an examplary manner and you shall continue to do so. Now we have successfully completed this mission, our tasks accomplished. We depart this battlefield with our heads held high, with dignity and pride in our accomplishments, yet with a sense of humility. This has been a team effort, and our part, though a vital contribution, was only one part of the greater overall sacrifice and accomplishment of the United States Army in the field. In parting I say to each and every one of you I am humbly proud for the privilege you have afforded me these past seventeen months as your Commissioned Officer-just to march among you has been great; thank you. You are the greatest soldiers in the world, real professionals. I wish you and your families a Happy and Prosperous New Year. God bless you all and the very best always. De Oppresso Liber. Colonel Michael D. Healy. ...

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