Vietnam/SOG reenactments

In conducting research for the first short in a series I am writing (more about that later) I came across this website:

I have to confess that I never really “got” reenactments before.  I had heard stories about Civil War reenactors starving themselves and spooning with each other in their confederate war camps in the name of authenticity.  I had a SERE instructor who was a great guy, but his descriptions of the Rev War reenactments he participated in, namely sleeping in a lean to’s  in January, sounded pretty nutty.

Studies and Observations Group, or SOG, was highly classified during the Vietnam War.  In fact, not much information about them was available at all until the 1990’s.  Reading between the lines, I suspect that there is still a fair amount of activity that SOG was involved in that has not been made publicly available.  There are a couple of books out and some grainy photos released, but the Modern Forces website really brings history to life.

The attention to detail is pretty amazing and I’m sure the people involved spent a lot of time putting together the uniforms and equipment to such a high degree of historical accuracy.  The full color images and close in shots of the equipment used really gives an idea of how SOG operated, a perspective you don’t really get from the older 1960’s era photography.  When you have the chance I highly recommend taking a look at the pictorials in the SOG section of the website.  A few Vietnam veterans who served in SOG have also contacted the website and provided exclusive photographs and interviews, a must read for anyone researching Special Forces units and missions during the Vietnam War.

Take a look at Modern Forces: MACV-SOG


Filed under Pictures, Special Forces

11 responses to “Vietnam/SOG reenactments

  1. Heh, funny enough, just a couple of days ago I bought SOG by John Plaster:

    One of the main characters in KI was in SOG, and he returns as the main character in my 70’s era sequels. I think there’s something in the blog-water!

  2. I’ve read “SOG” by John Plaster and went back to reference it while I was writing the first issue of PROMIS. I’ve got the sample up now if you want to take a look, it should be out on kindle next week. I definitely plan on getting “Across the Fence” by John Stryker Meyer, that one looks great. I wish more veterans would write about their experiences with SOG, it’s an important part of US military history and arguably the greatest accomplishment in the history of Special Operations. I’m also pre-ordered “Viscount Down” ( written by Keith Nell, formally of the Rhodesian SAS. I also ordered a book about the Aussie SAS. I’ll jot some words down about it here after I read it.

  3. Stepping away from reference works for a moment, if you’ve never read them, Stirling Silliphant’s utterly awesome trilogy Steel Tiger, Bronze Bell, Silver Star makes for excellent reading. The main character is a former SOG captain, who lives on a sailing ship in the southeastern pacific.

    What strikes me about the series is that Silliphant did an amazing amount of research; his character’s remembrances of Vietnam, his tactics, gear, the environment, the culture, food, language; all done with meticulous detail.

    Probably my hands-down favorite book trilogy, I’ve read Steel Tiger at least four times, although I’ve only read the other two books once apiece. Just like the A-Team, if you can find them, buy them.

  4. Sweet, thanks for the recommendation. I’ve never heard of that series before. I got a lot of reading to do this summer and over spring break.

  5. Jeez, thanks a lot Mr. Badelaire. My TBR stack just grew AGAIN. Sounds pretty cool.

    I still kinda’ don’t “get” reenactments, but I know they come in handy on Mail Call 🙂 and I won’t hesitate to ask them for photos if/when I need them.

    Hey! I should go look for some reenactors who might could provide cover photos for my alternate history series.

  6. Paul over at Modern Forces has been extremely helpful and even read over my short story for historical accuracy. He caught a few things, like for for instance that SOG operators wore OD uniforms spray painted with black stripes rather than the actual tiger stripe uniforms. I especially like the photo set they did where they recreated one of SOG’s HALO jumps. That still gets talked of today and pictures of the event are hung up in the wind tunnel at Ft. Bragg that you train in during HALO school.

  7. than the HALO front we have an interview coming up with one of the SOG guys who was on the last mission. Should be a good one in terms of details of those missions.

  8. Seems my post got garbled there…

    What I meant to say was…

    Thanks for the post Jack, much appreciated.

    and on the the HALO front we have an interview coming up with one of the SOG guys who was on the last mission. Should be a good one in terms of details of those missions.

  9. Wow, that’s wild. Tell me it isn’t Billy Waugh? He’d be a great guy to get in touch with. SGM Waugh may actually be the first SF HALO jumper in history. I will be looking forward to the interview, thanks Paul.

  10. Paul,

    Awesome reenactment material on your website, and a wealth of good research material. I’ll definitely be pointing others towards

  11. I did some pimping for Modern Forces in a interview I did last night for another blog. I’ll throw the link up here when it’s published.

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