SOG CCN Recon Team Mission to Laos 1970 Load Out


One of the fellas was kind enough to share his collection of Vietnam War SOG equipment. It’s a heck of a collection. His goal being to put together a recon team leader load out from late war.

bottle filled with CS powder to sprinkle on a back trail to dissuade tracking dogs is a very nice touch
survival radio and demo kit
webgear uses the STABO rig and various M1956 pouches, very common for SOG teams
sawed down M79 with various loads. V40 mini grenades, M14 “toe popper” mines, WP, Smoke and CS grenades


  1. Oh the joys of a long range patrol load out. A lot of people don’t believe me when I tell them that our LBE/LCE alone can be around 40 lbs…that doesn’t include the ruck sack, which is the heaviest item once mission critical gear is added. As an 18B, I never griped about the extra weight of the crew served/heavy weapons, since the 18E was stuck with the PSC-5 or 117 radio system and batteries. A couple others on the team would carry extra radio batteries.

    My Vietnam SF hero’s had it a lot worse than us, since our more modern equipment did shave some weight. Batteries for the bigger radio systems being one of them, since we use the lighter weight lithium batteries. I still look up to the Vietnam era guys, since they took me under their wings to provide as much leadership and training as they could to ensure my survival.

    Current warfare, there are a half a dozen more “Hi-Tech” items we add to the load out that I won’t post due to OPSEC.

    I always feel small when I’m at SFA events with legends like Kenn and Mark Miller, Tilt Meyer, Jim Duffy, Tom Turney and the list goes on.

      • I served in the post Vietnam Australian infantry. We were totally jungle warfare oriented, with a history stretching back through New Guinea in WW2, Malaya and Borneo, so I understand jungle warfare pretty well.

        Given that, and understanding that everybody’s war is different, that loadout seems awful gunned up and heavy to me for a recon mission. So many frags. And I don’t understand some of it at all. Like, why carry a demo kit on a recon patrol?

        Our SOP for a recon would be to travel light, move sneaky and avoid contact at all costs, and we’d normally carry less than a normal load out to assist in doing so. So were these guys going in to make contact and fight, even on a recon patrol?

        I feel like I’m missing something here.

        • That is close to a normal load out except I carried a lot more ammo as much as 1000 rounds on some missions. By 1970-71 almost every mission resulted in a firefight. I only ran one mission in which we did not have to shoot our way out. This was primarily because the NVA had a mole in our headquarters in Saigon and they were usually waiting for us when we hit the ground.

          • I’m amazed that the brass ones on you guys alone didn’t make you sink into the mud.
            Ammo alone would have been around 25lbs not even counting magazine and all the other goodies pictured.

          • That’s one of the things that’s always puzzled me: Why the hell did it take as long as it did for us to figure out how thoroughly penetrated our headquarters really were?

            Same-same in NATO; the friggin’ East Germans had more up-to-date battle plans than our line units did, when the Wall came down. They had the draft copies of the GDP, the ones that hadn’t even gone out to the various sub-headquarters for review…

            It’s ‘effing amazing how inept and idiotic our intelligence organizations were and are. I suspect they were thoroughly penetrated and suborned as far back as WWII, and God alone knows how badly they are today.

          • The issue with SOG operations being compromised wasnt at the HQ of MACV or SOG itself, it was the handing over of the target list to the SVN gov as a courtesy. Which was infiltrated by HAnoi,then handed it straight over to the communists. It was figured out pretty fast but the US Embassy didnt call them out on it.

        • Demo kit is essential. If S2 or G2 calls for a snatch to interrogate, you blow the M112 stick of C4 to put them down without killing them (sometimes). If you use a fragile or M18, you end up putting too many holes in them to interrogate. It can also be used as a GOOD charge – Get Out of Dodge. Works wonders for blowing heavy mud hut walls and can be used for clearing trees for an emergency extraction LZ. Can also be used on cache’s, although sometimes too time consuming to be on scene that long. Heavier weapons can be spiked. Thermite grenade works better, but isn’t as versatile, since you may have several 107 rockets in the cache. For 107’s, you use a small amount of C4 on each, tied in with a ring main or line main. Or you could leave the cache, but you’re screwing the next patrol or firebase, since they will use whatever you don’t destroy.

          You are correct, that is a heavy layout for a pure recon mission, especially when you are setting up a hide site to observe, report intell and call in a strike, but higher level C&C will often call in FRAGO’s on a mission to request(more PC term for Order) PIR that is outside of a pure Recon mission. There are always the “Good Idea Fairys” that are HUA since they haven’t operated in the field in years or they are conventional and don’t know how SOF units operate.

          • I’m sure every soldier or former soldier on this website are very familiar with and hold severe disdain for Command and Control elements being “Good Idea Fairey’s” that change mission parameters AFTER the mission CONOP is both approved and the team has launched. Be it a Recon where they FRAGO and want a hit, or just as bad, a hit that they FRAGO to a Recon. I even had a KLE mission that got FRAGO’d to moving up a ridgeline to take a bunker complex…that was surrounded by a mine field.

            Don’t get me wrong, not all of the Command and Control were mission Good Idea Fairey’s. In fact, most of the C&C over us (too include conventional) were good solid leadership that took care of us and pushed assets our way to support the mission. I don’t want people to think I consider most C&C are Good Idea Fairey’s, since very few were and it was rare that a mission parameter was FRAGO’d that severely…but it did happen on a few occasions

  2. I love it when you post those articles on the SOG guys. I read through all of them.

    A couple years ago, I told Kenn Miller that his book, Six Silent Men, was one of the motivators for my military career path.

    Those Vietnam SF hero’s used to assist me when I ran Special Forces tryouts. When the SF hopefuls would see these legends, it definitely kicked up the intimidation factor.

    During the stress interview panels, I used to love when Jim Duffy would be on the panel. Any time he would speak, nobody dared to make a sound. Including me and I was president of the board.

  3. Nice set up.


    I left a comment on the Black April story last night. It was there and now it’s gone.

    Just wondered if you saw it as it was a question for you.

      • I think you posted a picture sometime back taken by a SOG team in Laos. One of the team members stepped out in the trail and took a picture of the backside of an NVA patrol after they passed.

        I thought I had saved a link but I can’t find it. I was hoping you still had a link for it.

  4. Very cool
    I’m in the middle of reading John Stryker Meyers Across the Fence, so it’s timely.
    He talked about carrying over 25 magazines on missions, so if anything, the ammo load looks light.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here