I was there 2


Special Forces
Verified SOF
Apr 11, 2010
monterey, ca
was there when LRPS or LRRPS changed to Rangers. I was assigned to Company F, 5oth Infantry (LRP) in 1968 until 1969. In February of 1969 we became Company F, 75th Infantry (Ranger). No Ranger School or anything else. One day I was a leg and the next day, I was a Ranger.
Okay, you already posted that, anything to add to it? I would be interested in knowing more.
Okay, you already posted that, anything to add to it? I would be interested in knowing more.

That was an interesting time in history to be sure. Mike, other than a name change did your company see anything come from it? It has been 15 or more years since I read Lanning and the other authors who wrote a slew of LRRP books.
No, it was business as usual.

We did get a new company commander ( a captain) who didn't know how we operated. He took over the company. which was operating on Nui Ba Den (the black virgin mountain).

I wouldn't forget how I found out:

Two teams had attempted to recon the sides of Nui Ba Den before us and both had been compromised within an hour of beginning their missions. Now it was Team 1-5's turn. 1LT Bill Shannamon smiled at me and asked what my plan was. I explained that the other teams had tried to begin their missions at the beginning of the day but my team was going to leave at midnight and lay dog in the thick jungle about 150 meters from the perimeter until daylight and then begin our movement when we were sure that we hadn’t been observed. I also told Shannamon that we were going light with only 4 men instead of the usual 6.

At approximately 1400 hours the team, Steve Collier, Gary McFall, Darrell Gandy and I went through a “Brief-back” with the C.O., a red leg colonel, pilots from the Centaurs, and some S. F. People from Detachment B-34 (Tay Ninh). An S. F. Captain remarked that no free world force had successfully transited the sides of the “Black Virgin” since the French Army had prior to WWII.

Team 1-5 napped and tried to relax all afternoon. At midnight, we slipped through the wire and Gandy carrying a Swedish K 9mm took the pont. Ever so slowly, step by step, foot by foot the team moved toward the heavy bush in the saddle between the peak of Nui Ba Den and the Buddhist shrine on Nui Cau. Just before 0430 hours, Team 1-5 located a thick bramble of bushes and settled in to the center, back to back, facing out. There was no need to set a watch schedule because it would be light in less than an hour an no one was tired enough to sleep, yet.

At dawn, there started to be movement around us. First a Buddhist monk came near to shave his head. Then a squad of VC passed just before the rooster began to crow. We decided to “lay dog” during the day light hours. As the sun started to climb into the sky we started to notice snares set by the VC near where we were laid up. Soon there was the unmistakable squelch of a radio coming from a cave that we hadn’t noticed. Then we heard laughing from approximately three men (VC) coming from our rear. The day passed unusually slowly.

At 9:00 pm it was time to move again. Gandy moved out first then Collier. I was the third man and McFall was the “tail gunner”. We moved about 50 yards and stopped to listen. We moved another 50 yards and again stopped to listen. It went on that way until just before midnight. At 12:00 pm. I made a “Sitrep” (Situation Report) with Shannamon. He advised to “Charlie Mike” (continue mission). We moved approximately 50% of the way down the mountain and found another thicket of bushes to lay up in. The next day was a repeat of the previous one except there was a whole lot more presence of VC.

Again we moved out at 9:00 pm and moved 50 yards at a time. At approximately 0300 hours artillery started impacting near my team. We got to cover and radioed lLT Shannamon and asked what was going on. He advised to “Wait One”. And then he advised that an outfit out of Go Da Ha was firing H&I on to the side of Nui Ba Den and they had been ordered to stop. The rest of the night we were chased by VC trackers, who had apparently spotted us when we sought cover from the artillery. Just before dawn I called for a helicopter to pick us up. I was advised that the “NEW COBRA SIX” had ordered that we return to the top of Nui Ba Den on foot to discuss our mission. I decided that we were under fire at the time and called in that we were in “Contact” and requested emergency extraction. The Centauer’s flew the mission and took the team back to Cu Chi for our debriefing. I met the new C.O. (A Captain) when I got TDY orders to B-36. Collier and McFall were later KIA because of this “New COBRA SIX”.
The only things I know about "New Cobra six" are one - a barroom bowling game that I played in the late sixies and two some kind of video game from early 2000s. Please tell me more as I'm a student of military history.
The only things I know about "New Cobra six" are one - a barroom bowling game that I played in the late sixies and two some kind of video game from early 2000s. Please tell me more as I'm a student of military history.

"COBRA" was the company call sign. "Cobra 6" was the company commander (In the Army, all commanders are 6 on the radio). My team was team 5 in the 1st platoon, hence "Cobra 1-5.

I hope that this helps.

RLTW. Mike
One day I was a leg and the next day, I was a Ranger.

The Marines were doing that with Recon in VN, too; if they needed bods they'd take 03s from rifle companies...but I think they put them through some kind of rudimentary Recon work-up in Danang, although I'm told they did not have to get jump qualled. The needs of the service.
Wasn't there a LRRP in-country OJT mini Ranger course around that time?? You lived, you were a bonafied Ranger kinda school??
There was a MAC-V Recondo school in Nha Trang. It was taught by the 5th SFG (Airborne) and General Westmoreland was the official commandant. There was a LTC who actually ran the school and enough SF Instructors from Delta Project to teach each phase.

The 1st week was mostly classroom. We were awakened at 0400 for PT and then we force marched (ran) the Recondo Mile with full equipment including a 40 pound sandbag in our rucksacks. The 1st day we force marched a mile in 8 minutes. Each day we increased the distance by one mile until at the end of the week, we were doing 7 miles in less than 30 minutes. The classroom subjects were map reading, 1st Aid (including starting IVs), Arty adjustment, Communications (including antenna theory) and other subjects.

The second week was mostly out doors (the morning PT was still in force along with the Recondo Mile). Subjects included:
Rapelling on both a wall and from a helicopter, Rope ladders, McGuire Rig, RB-12 (rubber boats), Actual Arty adjustment and a myriad of other subjects.

The third week was an actual combat mission! My team was made up of six LRRPs from the 101st Airborne Division and from the 82nd Airborne. Our mission was to infiltrate the Secret Zone south of Nha Trang and capture a prisoner. We liaised with the Navy for the use of a Swift Boat. The Swift Boat left Nha Trang at 0300 hours and we met a south Vietnamese submarine about a half hour later. We transferred to the submarine and sailed with the RVN Sailors until BMNT (beginning of Morning Nautical Twilight).

The teams then transferred into the RB-12 and we rowed the boat to the beach. At the beach, six LRRPs and one Instructor got out and the other team rowed the RB-12 back to the submarine.

Our team moved into the double canopy jungle and lay dog until it was fully daylight. We carefully moved in a westerly direction unti it was time for lunch. The team formed a wagon wheel and every other LRRP started eating his Lurp ration.

I was one of those who was providing security and I observed a NVA walking along with his head down and his MAT submachine gun over his shoulder. The NVA was a courier and had a map case hanging from the other shoulder. The NVA walked right up to the perimeter of our circle. He then noticed the barrel of a CAR-15 sticking into his belly. The NVA was disarmed and he was tied up with 550 cord and gagged. SFC Roberts (the instructer) called for an extraction and it arrived approximately an hour later. The team was extracted and after turning in equipment and being debriefed, we were allowed to stand down and drink beer for the rest of the week.

Some LRRPS didn't bother going to Ranger School because they figured that Recondo School was good enough.
I'm kinda surprised to hear the South Vietnamese had submarines, interesting.
The RVN Navy had several former U.S. Navy diesel subs. The bulkheads were originally Haze Grey but the South Vietnamese painted them with any color enamel paint that they could get their hands on. The sub that I was on for this mission had powder blue, orange and yellow bulkheads.
The RVN Navy had several former U.S. Navy diesel subs. The bulkheads were originally Haze Grey but the South Vietnamese painted them with any color enamel paint that they could get their hands on. The sub that I was on for this mission had powder blue, orange and yellow bulkheads.

lol Did the north capture them at the end of the war?
Do you by any chance know Jerome Conners (Chinese Bandits)

Wow, you mean THE Ranger Conners? Everything to everyone and my hero!

Jerry Conners สติสัมปชัญญะCivil Engineer, PE at NDOT

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