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5th SFGA
The Montagnards
SOG 1968
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 people.
 
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 Special Forces.
 
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.

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 Children at play.
Montagnard children at play

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At the well.

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Djak; ST Delaware.

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Relaxing with my team.

Team Cutlass

OOOPS!

Although this section is devoted to the Montagnards, I wouldn't feel right omiting Sgt Son.  Son was an NCO in the LLDB.  Few have much good to say about the LLDB, but they are usually refering to officers.  In the ARVN officers bought their rank. 
 
Son was a true Special Forces Soldier who happened to be Vietnamese.  He got along well with the team and was essential to our mission in Special Projects. If you look close you will notice he is wearing our team patch on his pocket.

A Montagnard/American party.  This particular party was to celebrate the graduation of Tm. Cutlass (Mine) and Tm. Saber from Jump School.  The drinks you see is rice wine.  This is a marvelous invention -- just keep adding water and continue drinking the wine through the reed.

Bru we brought down from Khe Sahn for a Special Project.

The well was a center of activity for the camp.  As I said the families lived right in the camp. The well was the only source of running water for the Montagnards -- drinking, cooking and washing.

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Girls at play.

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Just a little Horse Play

Every team had its "Cowboy". Djak was the resident "cowboy" on my Recon Team: Delaware.  The black and white was taken on an operation right after we had cut an LZ (Landing Zone) at the top of a mountain

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Hard to see but this is a Communist Pig we captured outside of Khe Sahn.

The Montagnards had a game where they would place a pole (baseball bat) on the ground, grasp it with both hands and rotate their body 360 degrees without letting go of the pole of falling on the ground.  Try it!

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My Special Projects Team spent a lot of time at the Launch Site.  We were slated for a deep, semi-permanent insertion and everything had to fall into place including weather and air support. Supporting aircraft had less than ten minutes on station.  We had many attempts aborted due to weather, and hostile fire.  They shuttled us between Kontum and Phu Bai in an attempt to launch.  These pictures show the attitude of my warriors when resting or horsing around before launches and even after being "shot out". These pictures were shot at LS-1 at Dak To.

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The man at the bottom was our one LLDB NCO.

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Sgt Vo-Kim Son

Guest of Honor.

Village Near Kontum.

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At the well.

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My Team :Cutlass" with their families.

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Djak

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Montagnard Tank

Drawing chutes.

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That close!! Ksor showed no fear, ever.

Writing on back of picture.

For information of programs to help the Montagnards please go to this site:

A letter from the Special Forces Association (SFA) dated:
Sept. 3, 2003.
"The Montagnard Land Project is a GO!!  Association contributions exceeded our GOAL, Total Amount $40,512.ll, a great job in a short period of time.  The 90 acres of land has a large farm house and 2 barns, a gravel road, a well, and electricity.  1/3 of the property is farm land and the remaining timbered.  The property is bordered by Toms Creek and the Euwharrie River.  STMP has received permission from NC State to have a Montagnard cemetery. Plots would be reserved and another source of income other than perm culture farming and timber.
     STMP has given us approximate figures from there drive as $23,000 (of which approximately $10,000 came directly from the Montagnards) one $25,000 anonymous donor and one $25,000 grant from a foundation.  TOTAL:  $73,000 plus SFA contribution of $40,512.11.  GRAND TOTAL:  $113,512.11.
CONGRATULATIONS!!
Jimmy Dean
Secretary"