Book Review: “SOG Kontum” (Vietnam)

Book Review SOG Kontum

A book published in 2022, SOG Kontum, details the some of the top secret missions that were conducted in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during the 1968 – 1969 time period. The authors are Joe Parnar and Robert Dumont; with a foreword by John Plaster. The book is an excellent account of the men who served in the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG).

MACV-SOG was very classified, mult-service unit that conducted secret missions during the Vietnam War. The men who served in this unit were members of the U.S. Army Special Forces, U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S Marine Corps recon units, and other specialized units. They were supported by dedicated Airmen who infiltrated and exfiltrated these small teams into dangerous conflict zones via helicopter, flew medical evacuation flights, provided ‘Covey’ forward air controller support (communications and situational awareness), and close air support with rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

This book focuses on the special operations teams that operated out of FOB-2 Kontum located near the tri-border area (Google Maps) of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during the a year span from 1968 to 1969. These ‘Recon Teams’ and ‘Hachet Forces’ of Command and Control Central (CCC) conducted missions “in-country” and “over the fence” to gather intelligence, capture enemy assets, recover downed pilots, rescue allied prisoners of war, conduct personal recovery, and conduct psychological operations.

Little was known about MACV-SOG while the Vietnam conflict was ongoing. For several decades the American public and most people in the military had no idea of the secret missions the SOG operators were engaged in. Within the Special Forces community, certainly the word got out over time. Part of the secrecy about MACV-SOG can be traced to the decision to destroy the classified records of the unit and its operations in 1972 when SOG was disbanded. This, of course, has made it difficult to document the activities of MACV-SOG. It has fallen to several book authors to reconstitute the history of MACV-SOG through researching the personal stories of the ground and air participants. This book, SOG Kontum, does this; with the authors conducting numerous interviews of the participants of the SOG operations in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

The book contains the first-person accounts of the ground teams, FACs, close air support (rotary and fixed-wing) pilots and crewmen, MEDEVAC crews, and others. Although several books have been published about SOG, they cannot possibly tell all of the thousands of stories about the activities of the men who belonged to MACV-SOG. SOG Kontum is an excellent oral history of the men of MACV-SOG CCC during a year that spans 1968 to 1969.

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SOG Kontum, by Joe Parner and Robert Dumont, December 2022. Available on Amazon.com.


About John Friberg 197 Articles
John Friberg is the Editor and Publisher of SOF News. He is a retired Command Chief Warrant Officer (CW5 180A) with 40 years service in the U.S. Army Special Forces with active duty and reserve components.