Tag Archives: SOG

Five Stars for PROMIS: Vietnam

I found this really nice review of PROMIS: Vietnam today on Amazon, thanks Thomas!

The PROMIS series is an on-going issuance of short stories written by Jack Murphy, a United States Army Ranger and Special Forces veteran. It is the background of the author that gives the books their authenticity and feeling of immediacy and intensity.

Sean Deckard is a Studies and Observation Group (SOG) Team Leader, the one-zero of Reconnaissance Team Key West. The book starts (as do most Murphy books) right in the thick of things with a hot extraction of a downed pilot. The mission is going from bad to worse, and several casualties are suffered before success is achieved. This is a hallmark of the PROMIS series, quick hits of action that flow from one to another to build the story. Murphy has a way with violence that reaches closer and closer to Stephen Pressfield and similar masters of the genre.

This is not like Reflexive Fire, which spends pages developing background characters, describing things in detail, outlining the deep plans of other actors. The book focuses entirely on Deckard, and you can feel him running ragged around the edges as he hops from mission to mission, doing his best to win the war single handedly. When he eventually participates in striking a decisive blow, he is sorely disappointed by the reaction, and things close with a bang.

The book is best described as “special operations without cool toys,” in that the soldiers are all superb warriors, but do not yet have access to the technology that we so associate with top tier SOF units. It is a quick read, and well worth it. I own a Kindle and could have loaned it out for free, but the product that Jack Murphy produces is well worth paying for.

.99 cents on Amazon!

Sergeant Sean Deckard has been running recon with America’s ultra secret Studies and Observations Group for over a year, taking part in cross border operations into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Coming off a mission that nearly decimates his entire team, Sean is given yet another suicidal task. It is a mission that could end the Vietnam War, a mission that powerful forces will do anything to prevent from happening.

Issue One in an exciting new military fiction series.

Short Story / Approx. 45 pages.

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Filed under Action Adventure, Military Fiction, Writing

Kit Up with MACV-SOG and John Stryker Meyer

Since it was veterans day, I wanted to reach out to some of our vets to help us remember America’s previous conflicts.  It’s a great honor to be able to introduce to you my buddy, John Stryker Meyer.  John served in MACV-SOG, attaining the position of One-Zero, Team Leader, of Recon Team Idaho.  Having led cross border operations into Laos and Cambodia, John was sworn to secrecy for decades.  It is only now that he, and other SOG veterans, are able to tell their story.  Since Kit Up! focuses on weapons and equipment, I asked John to tell us a little about what he carried during his time in Studies and Observations Group:

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Filed under Pictures, Special Forces, Weapons and Tactics

Across The Fence, a SOG memoir

“Across The Fence” by John Stryker Meyer is one of the very few memoirs written by and about the highly classified Studies and Observations Group or SOG. Running cross border operations during the Vietnam war, small teams of Special Forces soldiers partnered with indigenous team members launched missions into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. These missions were so secret that it wasn’t until the 1990’s that information started to become available about this unit. To this day, details are somewhat hard to come by, only three or so former SOG members having written about their time running recon in one of the most dangerous assignments of the war.

As a former Ranger and Greet Beret myself I have a few patrols under my belt, but I can tell you that reading this book made me feel like a pansy. I don’t have anything on my predecessors, especially those who served on SOG conducting missions deep behind enemy lines, often outnumbered ten to one (on a good day).

“Across The Fence” recounts the authors personal journey through SOG, but also tells the stories of many of his fellow soldiers and comrades to include the South Vietnamese and American pilots who daringly flew into hostile fire again and again to extract Meyer’s team.

Eventually Meyer attains the coveted position of One-Zero, the Team Leader on SOG Recon Team Iowa. Although initially uncertain if he is ready for such a promotion he quickly adapts, leading his men through the exceedingly dangerous and extraordinary absurd, two characteristics that came to characterize the Vietnam War as a whole in my opinion. Meyer also has the unique experience of having led patrols into both Laos (his primary AO) and Cambodia, giving the reader a sense of how those two areas differed from each other. He also leads a patrol into the tri-border region that legendary SOG operator “Mad Dog” Shriver remarks to the author that no one had returned from alive in months!

You will also read about poor Lynn Black, who I think must have done something bad in a past life to have had drawn a short straw and literally got the patrol from hell. It seems like everything that could have gone wrong did. Black’s team had to stack dead NVA like chord wood as things continued to deteriorate, all while screaming at a fellow team mate to stop praying to God and fire back at the enemy!

There is plenty in here for the gear heads as well. The author gives extensive detail on the types of weapons and equipment that SOG teams carried, including highly specialized and advanced kit designed specifically for SOG teams by CIA technicians.

To date, I feel that this is the best book written about this secretive unit. The author tells it like it is and like it was, not sparing himself in the process. The book itself is well written and hard to put down. I also appreciated the fact that it was specially formatted for the Amazon Kindle, making this book a must have for those interested in the military. The Kindle edition also includes pictures provided by the author and his friends and although Kindle doesn’t do pictures all that great it is good that they are in there and give the reader some insight into visualizing the people and places. I would still like to have a hard copy for my collection but at 3.29 this is a no-brainer.

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Filed under Action Adventure, Special Forces

PROMIS Issue 1: Vietnam

As you can see the main page here at Reflexive Fire has been hit with a shotgun blast from my new short entitled PROMIS.  It is the first in a series that will follow Sean Deckard, the father of the protagonist in my novel, Reflexive Fire.  The first issue revolves around Sean’s time running recon with Studies and Observations Group (SOG) and taking part in cross border operations during the Vietnam War.  You will also be introduced to Leon Petraska, a CIA funded scientist with some big ideas that the brass isn’t quite ready for.  Remember, you can sample the first five pages right here on the website before buying PROMIS for 99 cents at Amazon.

Click the picture for the Amazon link.

Sergeant Sean Deckard has been running recon with America’s ultra secret Studies and Observations Group for over a year, taking part in cross border operations into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Coming off a mission that nearly decimates his entire team, Sean is given yet another suicidal task. It is a mission that could end the Vietnam War, a mission that powerful forces will do anything to prevent from happening.

Issue One in an exciting new military fiction series.

Short Story / Approx. 45 pages.

Also, don’t forget to check out the preview of Issue 2!

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Filed under Action Adventure, Military Fiction, Special Forces

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: ModernForces.com

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

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Filed under Pictures, Special Forces