Review of the book Inside Special Forces

Page Title - green Berets in the Vanguard
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Inside Special Forces, 1953-1963
Chalmers Archer, Jr., Naval Institute Press


The author of the award winning Growing Up Black in Mississippi has written Green Berets in the Vanguard: Inside Special Forces, 1953-1963. Archer was one of the first operational SF NCOs in U.S. Army Special Forces and details the early missions of U.S. Army Special Forces in South East Asia. His narrative includes details on the planning and operations of the earliest missions into Laos, Thailand, and South Vietnam, which until recently were shrouded in secrecy. His perspective is unique, not only one of the first to wear a green beret but also as one of the first African-Americans to serve in the elite unit. Chalmers Archer witnessed the first actual American combat death in Vietnam and as a medic and trainer with the Vietnamese Special Forces at Nha Trang, treated the first wounded in the war. This is a fascinating book about the early days of SF and chronicles the complete history of the 14th Special Forces Operational Detachment that set the standard for foreign training missions. Green Berets in the Vanguard also details the changes in Special Forces doctrine from unconventional warfare to counterinsurgency warfare.

Review submitted by Rob Krott
Chief Foreign Correspondent, Soldier of Fortune magazine
(former 11B infantryman 1980-1983, 11A Infantry officer 1983-1997)

 

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