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Interview With Army Green Beret & SOG 1-0 Jim Bolen

Statement by LTC Lindsey when taking command of CCS.


1.     Would you mind giving a quick introduction to what you did In Vietnam And Rhodesia for our readers not familiar?

In Viet Nam I was in the 5th Special forces and attached to the SOG project. I was team leader of recon team “Auger” at CCS. The FOB was located outside of Bam Me Thout. I had over 45 missions as team leader. Our missions were all classified. Each mission had a different objective, area recon, prisoner snatch, wiretap or monitoring trails, roads, river traffic. In Rhodesia I was considered a “Range Detective” working along the Mozambique, Rhodesia border. Our mission was to stop communist infiltrators from crossing over the border into Rhodesia. We were paid by the capture or kill.

2.     The Colt CAR15 is well known for being used by SOG, how well did you like it or prefer something else? By most accounts it seems to have been well loved .

My secondary MOS was light and heavy weapons so I think I have fired just about everything. I have killed the enemy with 9mm, 45, 7.62 and 223 rounds and believe me the 223 is by far the best. It took me a few months in country to get my CAR 15 instead of using my M 16. As far a getting though the jungle and being able to maneuver again the CAR 15 is the best. It is light weight and you can easily carry 400 rounds of ammo.

3.     Did you make any changes to your carbine for you personally? Many pictures  have been seen with forward grips attached to CAR15s among other things        and I   wonder if that was done by the users or an armorer.

First thing I did was rig up a jungle sling to carry my weapon at waist level   ready to fire. I also took and made the selector switch easier to move so I  could do it with my thumb, I’m left-handed. I got an old BAR belt and rigged it to fit my purpose. The 20 round magazines fit perfectly in the pouches, I never used the 30 round mags, I heard there was some problem with them causing jamming.  Another thing I did was load every magazine with tracer rounds. An older Korean war vet at our FOB said you will give away your position, I told him in the jungle every kill is eye to eye.

      I remember my first 3 kills. My point man was crossing a small NVA trail and I went next, there was a slight bend in the trail, as soon as I stepped on the trail 3 NVA regulars rounded the bend, they were walking abreast to each other. We saw each other at the same time While they were bringing up their weapons I fired from the hip on full auto. I could see just like a laser where the rounds were going. I put at least 3 rounds in each man. Believe it or not I could see smoke coming out of the holes in their uniforms where the bullets went in, I will never forget that.

4.     When on missions did you or your peers carry a sidearm/pistol as a secondary weapon? And if so what was it and where was it normally carried? Many books mention carrying handguns but few photos give any indication where on the body or field gear it was carried.

I always carried a Browning 9mm high power along with a folding Buck knife. The Browning was in a hip holster and Buck knife was on my left suspender. Some missions were dictated to certain weapons such as silenced.

5. Could you tell us what other weapons you   carried and use during your time in Rhodesia and how you liked each?    

   In Rhodesia we did not have the selection of weapons we had in Viet Nam. Belgian FN was the only weapon we had plus again I carried my personal Browning 9mm and Randel 6” knife.

Always an ongoing topic of interest, the individual gear and items is something people who read about SOG are curious to learn . Can you tell us what was carried on your person for mission?

As you can see in my pictures, I wear glasses. I took 3 pair with me on missions, wore one, put one in the side pocket of my pants and one in my pack. We used a indigenous ruck sack, much smaller than the US. I carried a jungle sweater for sleeping at night along with a camouflaged poncho liner. For meals I liked LRRPs, especially the spaghetti, ours were made outside the US and had no marking. The most important things to carry was water and ammunition. I had 2 plastic OD canteens along with a one-gallon bladder for water and 400 rounds of tracer ammunitions. We had a special pill kit that would treat just about everything. I carried a mirror and small neon flag for helping identify us from the air. We also carried a strobe light for emergency. Last we carried smoke, WP and frag grenades. Lastly, I had 6 vials of morphine in the pistol grip of my weapon.  I remember weighing our gear one time on an industrial scale and it was 110 pounds.

7. During the Vietnam War era some very early optics were used like the colt 3x and 4x and the early red dots, did you use or see used any of those early optics?

The only thing I saw as far as optics was a night scope that would work off moon light, I was not impressed at that time.

If interested in more stories my book can be purchased at Amazon.

Buy Jim’s Book Here: Amazon: No Guts, No Glory.

Other books with stories and information about me and my team.

MACV SOG by Jason Hardy

Secret Green Beret Commandos in Cambodia by LTC Fred Lindsey

(the small excerpt along with my pictures was from his book)

US MACV-SOG Reconnaissance Team in Vietnam by Gordon Rottman

U.S. M3/M3A1 Submachine Gun by Michael Heidler

       

        Mister Bolen Was very gracious with his pictures of his years in Vietna and Rhodesia. I will have more in Part 2 with his Rhodesian photos.

        

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