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02 November 2006

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Ralph Hitchens

I was asked to review Tiger Force for Vietnam magazine, & my review was just published in the December issue (which may be available online soon, at thehistorynet.com). My conclusion was that the platoon leader & his team leaders instigated a series of small-scale atrocities over a period of months, operating with limited supervision from their company commander, who was in charge of HHC of 1/327. Both this officer and the battalion exec blew off reports from soldiers in or attached to the platoon, and no one at HHC or battalion HQ thought to enquire about the embarrassing disparity between reported enemy casualties and the small number of weapons recovered. The two journalists from the Toledo Blade who wrote the Pulitzer-winning series (later turned into the book) know virtually nothing about the military or the war; their only goal is to accuse the Army of a top-down coverup. Sadly, they can't produce any proof that knowledge of these incidents was elevated up the chain of command, and despite the best efforts of a dedicated CID investigator, the JAG had nothing useful to take into court, although they did seriously consider bringing charges against the platoon leader and the HHC commander. About all one can conclude is that this was a failure of leadership not unlike My Lai and many other incidents in US military history.

Michael(Mickey) J. Allums

I was an RVN in-country transfer, from the 9th Pathfinder Detachment, 9th Infantry Division, to Tiger Force, from May 1967, until January 1968.
1st Bde. was on jump status,I received 55 dollars a month extra for jump pay. The rest of the 101st was still in Fort Campbell, Ky. and under- going the change to become Airmobile. I was there during the period investigated by the "Blade". I have not read the book on Tigers, only an extract from chapter one.I did not witness any atrocities. After the Air Force dropped leaflets in villages, stating for them to be at a place, on a certain day, to be re-located to a new village, then we were told to patrol thru, and look for signs of VC. We burned the village to the ground, in order to expose any spider holes or tunnels. On one occation, I was called forward, with my M-79, 40mm Grenade Launcher, to fire a round thru the window of a hootch where a black pajama clad person ran into. After the round exploded, the person stumbled out the door, and collapsed. We checked, it was an old lady. We wondered why she stayed behind. Speculation was that perhaps a relative of hers was VC. We Were told by higher chain of command, to consider all people in the area to be hostile. All the villagers had been re-located, and this was VC country. Please go to the web site; tigerforcerecon and read entries in the guestbook.
Thanks for your time. Mick

Jean Soucy

I was interviewed by the blade but had no horror stories for them. I spent the entire time the 1/327 was in Song Ve Valley. First with Cobra Company, then with Tiger Force. I left the Tigers when I was wounded in Chu Lai in August 1967. As I understood the Relocation Program, it was an RVN Government program, They dropped leaflets and did the Loudspeaker announcements to Leave the Area. Most did, and we helped them Move by Air and Land and even conducted a large cattle drive to move their Water Buffullo out. The Area was severely bombed and defoiliated, and we returned. Everyone in that Valley after June 1967 was VC or VC supporters. We were still getting Wounded and Killed in Song Ve Valley in June and July 1967 by the stay behinds. It is regrettable if any innocent was killed by a choice they made to stay when the duly recognized government of RVN had told them to relocate, temporarily, and the good villagers could return to their ancesteral lands, once the VC were removed. Also we had Regular Army of RVN (ARVN) Soldiers and Civillian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG), These were Local citizen/Farmer/Soldiers who were basically local Reservists who farmed and defended there hamlets, working with us.
I saw No attrosities, absolutely no Necklaces of ears, in that heat unthinkable to keep peices of flesh, No Scalps.

W. Patrick Lang

Jean

Thanks.

PT

Jean Soucy

A Comment on The Organization of Tiger Force and why it was so large. The Bn Cdr and S-3's intention was to have a 4th Rifle Company. The Battalion TO&E was three Companies and an HHC at the Time. So You had the Recon Platoon, combined with the Anti-Tank Platoon. No Armor threat. No where to drive the Jeeps in the Field, so the AT Jeeps went to staff and the Platoon dismounted with Recon Platoon. Add Medics, Artillary FO's, Engineers, sometimes Intepreters a Dog Team and a Photographer, you have a Large Unit. A lot of soldiers new to Tigers were confused that we had Two Platoon Leaders and Two Platoon Sergeants authorized, but it was because we combined two Platoons. Both of which were larger than a Rifle Company Platoon, so togeather we were almost as large as a Rifle Company. Sometimes the HHC XO or an Asst S-2 or Asst S-3 would come out also.

We were Paratroops, on Jump Status, Pay jumps were waived, We drew Jump PayWe belonged to the 1st Brigade,(Seperate) 101st Airborne Division from Jul 1965 to at Least January 1968. That was when the Rest of the Division arrived. We were attached to the Americal Division during Mai Lai which was in the Same Province as Song Ve Valley. I heard the same tired "War Stories" over and over,sometimes the same one 3 Times at the NCO club in the same night, by three different people. Those "War Stories" have come back to haunt some people. They have told them so long they have come to beleive them.
When William Calley got busted you sure did not hear many "War Stories", Not for Decades anyway.

Hank

Weiss and Salah exagerated, and made up someof the stroy, that is for sure.
Tiger Force was made up of highly experienced soldiers from the line companies, as well as experienced individuals from LRRPS, SF, Pathfinders, 101 Recondos, and other specially trained crews. We had dog handlers, Snipers, and numerous Rangers.
Mr Lang's statement is inaccurate.
I spent hours and hours visiting with men who were present during the exact times concerned. I have reviewed official documents and even reviewed line by line, the book with the men who are in it. Most of the book is highly inaccurate, and some even made up. fictional at best. I wouldn't wipe my ass on the Blade's Pulitzer.

W. Patrick Lang

Hank

It was my intention to defend this unit from the attack on it in the "Blade." Were you actually in this unit? Am I not correct in thinking that this was the recon platoon of 1/327 Inf? If that is so, then I would like to know why it had in it the kind of men that you describe. In particular, SF soldiers were in very short supply and were not usually released to duty with line troops. Is there a history of the unit, either official or unofficial? pl

Jean Soucy

Col Lang, I have a copy of the After Action Report of the Time from May to Nov 1967. Also a copy of the Transcripts of the Radio Logs. Both From the CID Investigations and the same that the Blade used. Nothing particularly damning. These are some of the same documents Hank has seen. The Radio Logs are just the Tiger Force Extracts so it looks like we are the only ones in the Valley, But all three Line Companies are also there, but not mentioned. If you look at the After Action Report you can see what the rest of the battalion did.

Period 1 may to 10 Aug 1967, Body Counts from just Tiger Force Log: "66 Enemy KIA, 19 Weapons Captured. 184 Enemy PW and Suspects evacuated."
From the After Action Report for the entire Battalion: 178 Enemy KIA,35 Weapons Captured" that means the rest of the Battalion had 112 Enemy KIA and 16 Weapons Captured. I think we did better than the Battalion Average. Numbers are deceiving though. A lot of the dead are discovered until some time has past since the firefight, Many are killed by Indirect Fire, and Air strikes, so just because you report KIA's does not mean you killed them. A lot of weapons were recovered by the Enemy. I see in the log where Tigers got credit for 20 KIA"s they were assisted by 2 Platoons of B Company. and the duplication of reports as diferent units discovered the same KIA's.

The most important document that I have seen was one I saw at SGM (Ret) Harold Trout's house last week. The 1975 Letter from the Court Martial convening athority informing Trout and his Commander that ther was insufficient evidence to go to Court Martial and that witnesses by name were not credible and would be poor witnesses. These named individuals are the same ones The Authors name and believe are credible, 30 years Later.

At the time I went to Tigers, you had to volenteer and go to a board, basically an interview. They preferred that you had some time in a Line unit first. Experienced soldiers was what they wanted. There were no SF folks there when I was, a Lot of us went to SF Later, but remember SF was Branch Immaterial in those days and you could be assigned outside SF and Viet nam was an "individual replacement" War. So it could happen, but they would be assigned to the unit (1/327) and have to Volenteer for Tiger Force.
We were a strange mix of MOS's, MP's, Mortars, Anti-Tank. Heck, the "notorious Sam Ybara" so demonized by the Blade was a Commo wireman by MOS. Did you all catch that the Necklace he took from the Baby in the Article became a bracelet in the book.

Keep up the good work, Jean Soucy

Jean Soucy

Yes, You're correct in thinking The Tiger Force was in fact the Recon Platoon of the 1/327. Combined with the Anti Tank Platoon from 1965 to 1968. When it had the Airborne D Series TO&E. After the 1st BDE rejoined the Division around Jan 1968, the Battalion transitioned to the H Series and later J series Airmobile TO&E's.
Today the Recon Platoon of the 1st Bn 327th still goes by the name Tiger Force.

Jean Soucy

Angel

I would like to find out if anyone new my uncle Joaquin Lares i don't remember his rank but he was part of the 1/327 Tiger Force Recon A Co i want to say that was 1st Batt 327 Inf.If you have an photo's as well. Thank you all so much for everything you have done. My Husband is in the 3/187 Delta Company Rakkasans here in Fort Campbell. You all are true hero's again thank you so much!
V/R
Angel Lares Isbell

turcopolier

Angel

The recon platoon, aka, the "Tiger Force," was in Headquarters company, not A comnapy. pl

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