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.
6 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
Can you share any memorable missions with our readers?
Jim Bolen: I will copy and paste one of my many missions that are in my book:
American Bronze Star Medal And Vietnamese award, Gallantry Cross with Palm Leaf
On 28 June 1968, my team was inserted into Cambodia for a reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines. Read my following military citations for a brief description of my actions. On the first day, moving through the jungle, I started noticing that every third or fourth tree had been cut off at ground level. The NVA did that so that the overhead canopy cover would not be unduly disturbed and noticeable from the air. That was the first time I had ever seen anything like that. Even my point man did not notice this. I knew that the enemy must be building something large close by. We started moving more slowly, expecting to come across an enemy compound close by. Within an hour, we spotted two large buildings under the canopy located on a high-speed trail. Both buildings were under roof, but the sides were left open. The buildings were only about 20 feet apart. We sat there and watched the compound for about an hour to make sure there wasn’t any enemy troop movement. We moved into the compound and found that one of the buildings was housing a huge cache of enemy weapons, the largest found in enemy held territory. The other building was empty. We took pictures of the weapons and moved out of the compound. During our next scheduled radio check, I reported to FAC what we had found. I requested that they support me with another team with demolitions to destroy the weapons. They contacted me and said they would start putting a team together right away. I moved out of the area for about a day in order to stay as far away from the enemy compound as possible and looked for a safe LZ to bring in the supporting team. The next day the second team was inserted and we spent that day preparing and going over where the demolitions would be placed.
On 30 June 1968, we headed back through the jungle to the enemy compound. Everyone, including our Commander at FOB 2 base camp, was worried if I could find my way back to the enemy compound without being detected. I have a good sense of direction and have always been good with maps, even the old French maps that we were using. We hit the compound dead center. To my dismay, when we got there, there was a small enemy unit cleaning the cache of weapons. I radioed back our predicament and our Commander said to abort the mission. I declined and said that we were going to try and wait the enemy out. We laid outside the compound for a couple of hours, and, sure enough, the enemy moved out. We immediately went into the enemy compound and placed our explosives. We selected certain of the enemy weapons to take back with us for intelligence purposes. (See picture of me with the captured weapons below the citations.) We moved back towards our original LZ. I had pulled the wire that was connected to the explosives along with me as we moved away from the buildings and hooked it up to the detonating device. Once my team was at a safe distance, I detonated the explosives, destroying the building and, hopefully, most of the weapons. Each team, along with the addition of the captured weapons, was border line overweight. Once we got to the LZ, I had the two recon teams with the captured enemy weapons get extracted with the first two choppers and I stayed behind by myself and waited for the third chopper.
This operation was extremely successful and important, so much so that they sent the three other Americans on the teams and me to Saigon to brief General Abrams. (See radio text message below). It was about a month later that we Americans on the two teams were alerted that the Commander of the Fifth Special Forces Group at Nah Trang was coming to give us our awards for this mission personally. We found out that the Bronze Stars that we would be receiving were for Achievement, not Valor. We were really pissed and almost decided not to accept them. His reasoning for this, the Commander of the Fifth Special Forces Group, was due to the fact that there were not shots fired by the enemy or us. So I guess that when you are behind the enemy lines and sneak into their compound while they are having lunch and blow up hundreds of weapons that were going to be used to kill Americans with about 80 pounds of C4 plastic explosives and get out unscathed, that is not considered as a valorous deed??????? We did, begrudgingly, accept the awards but, as you can see, it still bothers me to this day.
Can you tell us a little about your time in Rhodesia ?
About Rhodesia, while working as personal bodyguard for Larry Flynt, founder of “Hustler Magazine” I was getting bored. It’s hard to believe going to Hollywood VIP parties (including Hefner’s mansion), private jets, finest restaurants in the world, flying on the Concord plus unlimited expense account boring but it me it was. Larry was intense and demanding but I liked that, and we got along very well. When he heard I was leaving he offered any other job if I wanted if I would agree to stay on. He wrote me a very nice letter of recommendation (see enclosed letter).
The way I got to Rhodesia was through Bob Brown editor of Soldier of Fortune Magazine. Bob and I met through my background in the military, he is really a great guy. I told him I was getting bored and looking for something else. He said there was The World Pistol competition in Johannesburg South Africa and he was submitting a team, if I was interested, he would put me on the list for a visa as a competitor (see enclosed letter). He said from there I could go to Rhodesia where they were having trouble with communist infiltrators coming in through Mozambique. I said great lets do it. The competition starts in about six weeks. I told Larry Flynt the date I would be ending my employment, and he asked me for one last favor. He was leaving for England then France on the Concord and really wanted me to go with him, of course I agreed. I got home just in time to catch my flight to Africa.
After a very long flight myself and two other Americans landed in Johannesburg and made it to the Johannesburger Hotel. This is known where most of the “Mercs” say and hang out. We spent a little time in Johannesburg and met some people that could help us get to Rhodesia. You must remember I just got back from Cannes France a few weeks earlier, but I could not believe how beautiful the town was and had the finest cuisine from all over the world. Everyone dressed to a “T” and were in shape physically, I was really impressed.
We made it to Salisbury Rhodesia and again I was impressed by to town and people. We passed out our resumes and soon got offers.
We picked up the additional gear we needed along with the FN’s. We met our guide Samson and started our work. We were paid 125.00 for every terrorist we captured and 1250.00 for everyone we killed, we had no captures. We stayed there for a few months. We had to get back to South Africa because of the limit of our visas. In Johannesburg I spent a lot of time with an extremely sharp individual, I was very impressed with him. He offered me a job and gave me 24 hours to make my decision and If I decided to take his offer, I could not talk to anyone I knew or family member for 6 years. Obviously, I wonder what my life would be like if I took that job. I know what the job was as it is well publicized in the worldwide news years later. Of course, it is just another one of the things I cannot talk about.
Things worked out great for me because when arriving back in the US I met my wife now and have been together for over 42 years and have a wonderful family. There is more info in my book on Amazon if interested.
You can buy Jim’s book and read more details of his amazing life story . His book, No Guts, No Glory can be found at amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Guts-Glory-Mercenary-Businessman-All-Around/dp/1884532926/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364346996&sr=8-1&keywords=jim+bolen