The true natives of Vietnam were the Montagnards. At one time they inhabited the entire region but the Vietnamese
(Chinese) migrated to Vietnam and forced the natives into the mountains. Thus the name "Montagnards" or Mountain People.
Special Forces in Vietnam worked mostly with the Civilian Irregular Defense Group -- CIDG. These were hired soldiers,
recruited, trained and paid by us. They consisted of Vietnamese, Cambodes, Lao, Montagnards, and Chinese Nungs.
By far, the majority were Montagnards.
The Montagnards were fierce fighters, fiercely loyal to their American Advisers and, at the same time, a friendly and
fun loving people. A strong bond formed between the "Yards" and USSF. Many former Special Forces returned to Thailand
and Laos to work for these people, as well as institute programs for them here in the U.S. (Please read the letter at the
bottom of the page.)
Despite their living conditions, I don't believe I ever saw a Montagnard child cry.
Following is a series of pictures of the "Yards", or "Little People" which I hope will depict the character of the Montagnard
The families lived right in the camp with their husbands. The camp pictures were shot at a place called "The Yard
Camp". The reaction forces, as well as our other Special Projects teams stayed here rather than at the FOB which was about
5 miles to the north. The Montagnards had nothing to do with Vietnamese. No Vietna,mese were allowed in the Yard
Camp. One exception was our project S2/S3 LLDB member. He was an NCO. There was even an LLDB Montagnard
Captain assigned to the Camp and the Montagnards didn't even trust him. I forgot to mention that the LLDB were the Vietnamese
The pictures of my team on a landing strip were taken at LS-1 (Launch Site 1) which was located at Dak To. We marshalled
there in preparation for insertion.