SOG Command History Excerpt

Tailwind 69th Armor Page Ray's Home Page E-Mail Me

Below is an excerpt (three pages) from the MACVSOG command history that producer Jack Smith claims the DOD will not give him. These documents are in fact in the National Archives and are available to anyone ambitious enough to go to the archives and photocopy them. This document is no longer classified. Smith claims he submitted a FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) request in order to obtain these documents but that probably slowed things down since a FOIA request is not necessary to obtain them since they were declassified quite some time ago.

This document is consistent with other documents that describe Tailwind, including the briefing prepared by Robert Van Buskirk and given to USARV Commanding General Creighton Abrams after the mission. In fact, it appears that most of the text is taken directly from Van Buskirk's briefing (which see).


2. In September, an operation on Route 966 on the western edge the PFAO yielded 34 documents. Some 400 pages of these were evaluated by the MACV Combined Document Exploitation Center as Category A, containing significant intelligence. They were described by MACV J2 as "appearing to be the most significant collateral intelligence on the 599th Transportation Group since the beginning of the war."

3. A POW captured in October provided further information on the 559th Transportation Group, which has the highest intelligence collection priority in Laos. He was a former member of the D2 Engineer Battalion, Binh Tram (Military Station) 34, 559th Transportation Group, and provided information on the unit's OB, its training and tactics, and on the effects of allied interdiction efforts.

4. In November, another operation in Base Area 609 found and destroyed an estimated 40 tons of rice. The cache was in an area which has been extensively used by enemy units during the periodic attacks against 5th SFGA units at Dak Seang and Ben Het, and it is believed that the rice had been stored for use by units in similar future attacks.

(TS) During 1970, fewer IIR's on enemy activity and terrain in the PFAO were prepared by the PF section due to revised criteria for the submission of terrain IIR's. Whereas such reports were previously written on each mission, they are now prepared only when held information is more than six months old, or when there is a discrepancy between current maps and the actual terrain.

(TS) PF Intelligence Reports written and distributed during 1970

1. 10 spot reports on enemy activity, provided to MACV J2 (CIIB).

2. 558 IIR's on enemy activity and terrain.

(TI) Target selection and development included:

1. A total of 645 targets as compared to 864 targets in 1969.

2. Ten wiretap operations were conducted under the CIRCUS ACT program; seven were successful.

(TS) A total of 436 missions were conducted during the year, as compared to 458 in 1969.

1. 540 trails were reported.

2. 39 active and inactive bivouac areas and way stations were reported.




The column was struck with 6 sorties of F-100's resulting zone. I in an estimated 100 enerny killed by air (KBA). On 25 April 1970, JCS authorized the expansion of tactical air s rikes throughout Zone Alpha and on 29 April 1970 expanded the authority to use artillery and helicopter gunships in an offensive rol e. On 5 May 1970, JCS rescinded the requirement for close hold security on tactical airstrike reporting in Cambodia. Air strikes were then reported through norinal SALEM HOUSE channels. On 27 May 1970, JCS authorized expansion of the tactical air strike authority to what is now known as the air interdiction zone (AIZ) through 30 June 1970. This authority was later extended to I 1 May 1971.

Operation TAILWIND

(TS) On 4 September 1970, CCC was alerted for the requirement to conduct a company sized operation in Support of a [REDACTED] operation near Chavane, Laos. Project nickname was "Operation TAILWIND."

Following LZ preparation by TAC AIR and the insertion of a pathfinder team, CCC, Company 3, was inserted about 20 km SE of Chavane at 1232 hours 11 September 1970. Four CH-53's were used for airlift and four AH-1G Cobras for gunship support. Small arms fire was received from southwest of the insertion LZ. All CH-53's and AH-1G's received hits, but all aircraft were able to return to base.

(TS) The company moved northwest 600 meters where they encountered a series of hootches used for the storage of 140mm rockets, 82mm mortar ammunition, 23mm AAA ammunition, B-40 rockets, small arms ammunition, and approximately 40 dismantled bicycles. Charges with delay fuses were placed on the 140mm rockets, and the company moved northwest 1,500 meters. The company counted 30 secondary explosions immediately following detonation and 75-100 during the following five hours. Later the company made contact with approximately 40 enemy. The engagement lasted an hour and tactical air strikes were employed. When the enemy broke contact, the company moved south where they began preparation of an LZ for the extraction of wounded. The LZ was completed when the company again came under attack from 140-150 enemy. Nine US were wounded in this encounter, but extraction of wounded was not possible due to adverse weather.

(TS) Enemy contact continued throughout the night and fire support continued to be provided by Spectre (C-130) gunships. When enemy action decreased, the company moved to secure an LZ at a different location. A CH-53 helicopter attempted to land for medevac of wounded but was struck by numerous small arms and B-40 rocket rounds causing it to lose power and crash. The crew was successfully extracted by ladder. The company was directed to another LZ but weather prevented extraction.




(TS) Contact was again made with enemy units. This time they appeared to be defending. The company advanced on the enemy who withdrew beyond a battalion sized base camp containing 8,000 kilo- grams of rice, as well as numerous hootches and latrines. There was evidence that the area had beer used as a truck park and maintenance Point as some vehicle parts were found. A 120mm mortar was found and destroyed.

(TS) The company, still receiving small arms and B-40 rocket an extraction HLZ. Thirty-six sets of TAC-AIR were used during the extraction. The company was extracted using 3 CH-53's and returned to Dak To. Total casualties for the operation were 3 SCU KIA, 33 SCU WIA 15 US WIA, 144 enemy KIA, 50 enemy WIA (estimated) and 288 enemy KBA (estimated).

Parachute Insertions

(TS) Parachute insertions were started in late summer with four static line and one High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) insertion being conducted as a means of altering the method of entry into the PFAO.

1. HALO. Chief, SOG approved the HALO insertion technique or, 18 July 1970. A pilot training program was conducted after equipment, requirements were determined, Personnel were selected. and coordination was effected for 14 (7 US, I ARYN, and 6 SCU) personnel to receive training presented by the 1st Special Forces Group, (Airborne), 1st Special Forces on Okinawa. The training program was completed at Cam-, Lon- Thanh where final mission preparation took place. A six man (3 (3 US and 3 SCU) team was inserted from a C-130 at 0200 hours on 28 November 1970 at 14,000 feet AGL. %ring descent the team members became separated because of poor visibility caused by clouds and drizzle. The team members remained separated and were extracted from four separate locations on 2 December 1970. As a method of entry this technique was considered proven as a means of entering the PFAO undetected since en active enemy search was not made to locate the team.

2. Static line. The four static line insertions were proven as successful methods of entering the PFAO but were marred by dispersion of personnel and difficulty in assembly on the ground. Each of the missions terminated in an effort to locate and group team members. As an alternate method of insertion, parachute insertions have created a new threat that enemy LOC security forces must be prepared to counter.



T O P Tailwind 69th Armor Page Ray's Home Page E-Mail Me

Creation Date: Saturday, July 25, 1998
Last Modified: Saturday, July 25, 1998
Copyright © Ray Smith, 1998