Original U.S. Vietnam War Special Forces Counter Insurgency Support Office Bolo Machete - Banana Knife

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Counterinsurgency Support Office was established on Okinawa in 1963 to supply clothing, weapons and equipment to Special Forces operating in Vietnam. Principally run by Ben Baker, the office issued standard and untraceable (sterile) gear as well as locally developed items such as the bolo knife, the indigenous rucksack, tiger stripe fatigues and Viet Cong style black pajamas.

The SOG Bolo was sourced by Conrad B. (Ben) Baker of the Counter-Insurgency Support Office also known as CISO. Baker was named the Deputy Chief of CISO in June 1963. He also designed the famous SOG Bowie Knife. The Bolo was a shorter replacement for the US Issue Machete and was based on traditional Asian designs, sometimes called a banana knife. The Bolo was often worn stuffed in the rucksack along the spine to protect the wearer.

The bolo shows signs of very little use, being in near unissued condition. The wooden grip scales are in excellent condition, without damage and are attached to the tang by 3 flathead brass bolts. The bolo still retains all of its original black finish on the blade and still has the original leather loop tied through the bottom of the handle. The nylon sheath displays some fading and wear, with a small tear at the bottom. The top metal “guide” still retains all of its original black finish, but is missing 1 rivet.

This is truly a wonderful example, offered in beautiful condition. Comes ready to display!

Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was a highly classified, multi-service United States special operations unit which conducted covert unconventional warfare operations prior to and during the Vietnam War.

Established on 24 January 1964, it conducted strategic reconnaissance missions in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), Laos, and Cambodia; took enemy prisoners, rescued downed pilots, conducted rescue operations to retrieve prisoners of war throughout Southeast Asia, and conducted clandestine agent team activities and psychological operations.

The unit participated in most of the significant campaigns of the Vietnam War, including the Gulf of Tonkin incident which precipitated increased American involvement, Operation Steel Tiger, Operation Tiger Hound, the Tet Offensive, Operation Commando Hunt, the Cambodian Campaign, Operation Lam Son 719, and the Easter Offensive. The unit was downsized and renamed Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team 158 on 1 May 1972, to support the transfer of its work to the Strategic Technical Directorate of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam – part of the Vietnamization effort.
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