Original U.S. Vietnam Green Beret Operation Tailwind MACV-SOG Hatchet Force Recon Knife Named Grouping

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind set. Sergeant David L. Young was one of only a handful of U.S. Green Beret Special Operations Group Hatchet Force soldiers who took part in the infamous Operation Tailwind a covert incursion into southeastern Laos during the Vietnam War, conducted between 11–14 September 1970.

A Hatchet Force or Hatchet Team was a special operations team of American and South Vietnamese members of MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War, who operated in small covert operations along the Ho Chi Minh trail from 1966. The units specialized in search and destroy missions and in locating missing American servicemen in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam.

Hatchet Force teams were organized under three field commands: Command and Control North (CCN), Command and Control Center (CCC) and Command and Control South (CCS). Operating in small groups, usually three American Special Forces soldiers – a team leader, a radioman and a medic – and 20–40 indigenous soldiers, the teams' purpose was to "probe the border areas looking for a fight". Hatchet Force teams remained in operation until each field command was deactivated; for CCN this was on 16 October 1972, CCC on 18 October 1972, and CCS in January 1973.

Operation Tailwind was a covert incursion into southeastern Laos during the Vietnam War, conducted between 11–14 September 1970. The purpose of the operation was to create a diversion for a Royal Lao Army offensive and to exert pressure on the occupation forces of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN). It involved a company-sized element of US Army Special Forces and Montagnard commando (Hatchet Force) of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG or SOG).

Nearly 30 years later, Peter Arnett narrated a CNN/Time magazine investigative report about Operation Tailwind produced by April Oliver, Jack Smith, Pam Hill, and others. The report Valley of Death claimed sarin nerve gas had been used, and other war crimes had been committed by US forces during Tailwind. The reaction to the controversial assertions prompted an internal investigation that ended in retraction of those claims by both news organizations, the firing of the producers responsible for the report, and the reprimand, followed by the resignation, of Arnett. Sergeant Young was interviewed for this report and denied any use of Sarin Gas by U.S. troops. 

Included in this historically important set include:

- Original Recon Knife provided by the Counter Insurgency Support Office (CISO) early in the war. It is engraved SGT. DAVE YOUNG and has the original Leather scabbard with sharpening stone. Most Recon knives had 7 inch blades, but there were a some early production models made with 6 inch blades, such as this one. The sharpening stone also has been repaired, having once been cracked in half.

- Original MACV SPECIAL FORCES CCC embroidered patch uniform insignia that measures approximately 4 in x 3 in. Patch has the correct cheesecloth backing and stains from age.

- Original photo printed on 1970s Kodak Velox paper of Sgt. Young in full combat gear. The reverse of the photo reads in typed print; Sgt Dave Young 1/1 Operation Tailwind Laos 1970. This very photo is featured on page 362 of the book. SOG: A Photo History of Secret Wars by John Plaster. The caption in the book reads; Hatchet Force Sgt. Dave Young during a lull in the fighting along Highway 165 in Laos.

- Original photo printed on 1970s Kodak Velox paper of Sgt. Young in full combat gear taking a photo with his Kodak camera, M16 slung over his shoulder. The reverse of the photo reads in typed print;SGT. Young Knotum Sept. 1970.

A truly incredible historically significant set. Visit this link to read a recounting of Operation Tailwind as told by Maj. John L. Plaster, USAR (Ret.)

A Roster of Heroes: The Green Berets of Operation Tailwind
Captain Eugene C. McCarley
First Sergeant Morris Adair
Sergeant Gary Michael Rose
1st Lieutenant Pete Landon
1st Lieutenant Robert Van Buskirk
Sergeant First Class Bernard Bright
Sergeant First Class Jim Brevelle
Staff Sergeant Donald Boudreau
Sergeant Michael Hagen
Specialist Five Jim Lucas
Sergeant First Class Denver Minton
Sergeant Manuel Orozco
Staff Sergeant Keith Plancich
Staff Sergeant William Scherer
Specialist Five Craig Schmidt
Sergeant Dave Young

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