Vietnam War Bibliography:

Special Forces, Special Operations, and Intelligence

W. R. Baker, "The Easter Offensive of 1972: A Failure to Use Intelligence." Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, 24:1 (Jan-March 1998), pp. 40-42, 60.
D 101.84:24/1

W. R. Baker, "HUMINT: A Continuing Crisis?" Published online by Small Wars Journal, May 8, 2017. Baker was assigned in 1971 to the 571st Military Intelligence Detachment at Danang, which ran HUMINT operations in I Corps. The unit provided warnings of the Easter Offensive in 1972, but these warnings were largely ignored, due in part to a lack of respect for HUMINT.

W. R. (Bob) Baker, Break in the Chain: Intelligence Ignored: Military Intelligence in Vietnam and Why the Easter Offensive Should Have Turned out Differently. Philadelphia: Casemate, 2021. xi, 251 pp.

Jim Belshaw, "Doris 'Lucki' Allen in Vietnam." VVA Veteran, 19:2/3 (February/March 1999), pp. 19, 40. A brief profile of an African-American enlisted woman who spent three years (October 1967 to September 1970) in U.S. Army intelligence in Vietnam. Her story is told at slightly greater length in Keith Walker, ed., A Piece of My Heart: The Stories of Twenty Six American Women who Served in Vietnam (Novato: Presidio, 1985), pp. 245-260.

Col. William G. Benedict, Col. Douglas C. Dillard, Lt. Col. Richard E. Evers, and Lt. Col. Leonard A. Spirito, A Critical Analysis of US Army Intelligence Organizations and Concepts in Vietnam, 1965-1969. Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania: US Army War College, 1971. v, 183 pp. A group study project written at the War College by four military intelligence officers. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in four sections: front matter and pp. 1-44, pp. 45-94, pp. 94a-142, pp. 143-183.

Major Donald G. Bennett, USA, "Spot Report: Intelligence, Vietnam" Military Review, August 1966 (vol. XLVI, no. 8), pp. 72-77.

Henry Billings, Vietnam Follies: A Memoir of an Intelligence Officer. 1stBooks, 2002. viii, 150 pp. Billings was commissioned through ROTC at the University of Massachusetts. He was trained at Fort Holabird, and arrived in Vietnam in December 1965 with the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion. He worked on B-52 bombing effectiveness, Cambodia, and enemy morale in the Research and Analysis Branch of MACV Intelligence at Tan Son Nhut. He had, and has, an anti-military and anti-war attitude.

W. Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.

Terrence M. Burke, Stories from the Secret War: CIA Special Ops in Laos. Durango, CO: La Plata Books, 2012. 150 pp. I believe this deals mostly with Burke's work with Hmong forces in Laos, 1963-65; I am not sure to what extent there is discussion of the rest of his CIA career.

Joseph DiLeonardo, Vietnam War: Defining Moment for America: Remembrances and Reflections of an Army Intelligence Officer. Denver, CO: Outskirts Press, 2013. viii, 254 pp. DiLeonardo was in Vietnam May 1969 to June 1970. He was head of the Order of Battle Section of the 635th MID, 23d Infantry Division (Americal).

Panagiotis Dimitrakis, Secrets and Lies in Vietnam: Spies, Intelligence and Covert Operations in the Vietnam Wars. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2016. vii, 312 pp.

Fred L. Edwards, Jr., The Bridges of Vietnam: From the Journals of a U.S. Marine Intelligence Officer.  Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2000.  xv, 273 pp.  Edwards, a Captain, arrived in Vietnam in August 1966 and was assigned to the III MAF G-2 shop.

"The Fate of an Internal Spy." Translation by Merle Pribbenow of an article from Quan Doi Nhan Dan, 22 July 1995, p. 7, about Nguyen Van Thong, a North Vietnamese who came south after the Geneva Accords, was recruited by the CIA, and in 1969 became the CIA's handler for Vo Van Ba, an extremely important CIA spy who was a member of the District Party Committee for the Tay Ninh City Holy See District.

Christopher Ford and David Rosenberg, The Admirals' Advantage: U.S. Navy Operational Intelligence in World War II and the Cold War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2005. 219 pp. I don't know how much this says about Vietnam, but I doubt it says much.

Ralph A. Garcia, Harbor Knight: From Harbor Hoodlum to Honored CIA Agent. iUniverse, 2013. 234 pp. Garcia arrived in Vietnam in October 1968. A Marine sergeant, he was assigned to Company L, Marine Support Battalion, an intelligence unit at Phu Bai. While there, he applied to join the CIA.

John Gargus, The Son Tay Raid: American POWs in Vietnam Were Not Forgotten. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2007. xv, 332 pp. Gargus was involved in the planning for the mission, and then flew as lead navigator.

W. C. Garrett, Jr., and Lynn Vickers, The Night Belongs to Charlie [subtitle on cover but not on title page: Vietnam 1967-1968]. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse, 2005. ix, 167 pp. Garrett, an intelligence sergeant, arrived in Vietnam in April 1967 and was assigned to Advisory Team 94, in An Xuyen province at the southern tip of South Vietnam. Names and places have been changed.

Kevin M. Generous, Vietnam: The Secret War. New York: Gallery Books, 1985.  192 pp.

Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham, Confessions of a Cold Warrior. Fairfax, VA: Preview Press, 1995. 228 pp. The part at which I have looked, the discussion of the 1967 dispute over enemy strength estimates and the 1968 Tet Offensive (pp. 51-57), appears to me to be nonsense.

Otto Heilbrunn, "Tactical Intelligence in Vietnam" Military Review, October 1968 (vol. XLVIII, no. 10), pp. 85-87.

Col. Hoang Ngoc Lung, Intelligence.  McLean, VA: General Research Corporation [on a contract with the U.S. Army], 1976. vi, 245 pp. Colonel Lung had been the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence to the RVN Joint General Staff. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in five parts: front matter and pp. 1-42, pp. 43-92, pp. 93-142, pp. 143-192, and pp. 193-245.

Michael I. Hobbs, Through Eyes of Stone: A Memoir. Warrensburg, Missouri: Sweetgum Press, 2003. 84 pp. Hobbs served April 1968 to May 1969 with the Army Security Agency (330th Radio Research Company, 313th Radio Research Battalion, II Corps). The book avoids substantive discussion of the work he did--it is a diary of personal experiences.

W. Dean Howells, Dorothy Avery, and Fred Greene, "Vietnam 1961-1968 as Interpreted in IRN's Production." A massive history of how the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) dealt with Vietnam from the spring of 1961 through the end of 1968. The study as a whole was classified "Top Secret." Several Special Annexes that used information from SIGINT were classified "Top Secret UMBRA."

William C. Howey, Hard Knocks and Straight Talk: From the Jungles of Vietnam to the American Classroom. Marco Island, FL: Keller Publishing, 2008. xii, 339 pp. Three chapters (pp. 59-146) cover Howey's service in Vietnam. He went for the first time in late 1964 as a Marine counterintelligence sergeant, working in IV Corps under the Army's 704th CI Detachment. During his second tour, July 1966 to August 1967 with Marines in I Corps, mostly at Dong Ha, he became an officer. His third tour, July 1968 to August 1969, he headed CI for Danang East TAOR.

Douglass H. Hubbard, Jr., Special Agent, Vietnam: A Naval Intelligence Memoir. Washington, D.C: Potomac Books, 2006. xiii, 269 pp. Hubbard became a civilian agent of the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) in 1968; began a three-year stint in Vietnam in 1969. This is partly a memoir, partly a broad study of NIS in Vietnam. It includes stories of NIS investigations going back to 1962, based on interviews (he was unable to obtain access to documents). There is a pretty favorable review by Michael J. Sulick in the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence, 51:2 (2007), pp. 81-83.

R. Gerald Hughes, Peter Jackson, and Len Scott, eds., Exploring Intelligence Archives: Enquiries into the Secret State. Routledge, March 2008. 352 pp. Partly texts of original documents, partly analysis by scholars. There are two sections dealing with Vietnam: one on the early development of Vietnamese intelligence, with an very impressive group of scholars (Christopher Goscha, David Marr, and Merle Pribbenow), and one comparing American and British intelligence on South Vietnam in 1963, with Andrew Priest and R. Gerald Hughes.

Thomas L. Hughes, interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy, Perilous Encounters: The Cold War Collisions of Domestic and World Politics: Oral History Interviews with Thomas L. Hughes. Xlibris, 2011. 215 pp. The largest part of this book (pp.81-189) deals with Hughes' years as deputy director (1961-63) and the director (1963-69) of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). Most of the Vietnam-related material is on pp.142-80.

Intelligence and National Security. Serial, published by Frank Cass, in the United Kingdom, beginning in 1986. Issues since 2001 are available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution that has paid the fee for Taylor & Francis Journals.

International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. Stroudsburg, PA: 1986- . Authors are reputedly more often current or former members of the intelligence community than scholars. Issues since 1999 are available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution that has paid the fee for Taylor & Francis Journals.

Col. William E. LeGro, U.S. Army, Retired, "Intelligence in Vietnam After the Cease-Fire." INSCOM Journal, 20:2 (March-April 1997). The text has been placed online at a Federation of American Scientists web site. LeGro went to Vietnam in December 1972 as adviser to the ARVN's director of training. Early in 1973 he shifted jobs, assigned to organize the intelligence branch of the Defense Attaché Office (DAO). He remained until 1975.

Jean-Marc LePage, PhD, and Elie Tenenbaum, "French and American Intelligence Relations During the First Indochina War," Studies in Intelligence, 55:3 (September 2011), pp. 19-27.

Timothy Lomperis, The Vietnam War from the Rear Echelon: An Intelligence Officer's Memoir, 1972-1973. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2011. xviii, 270 pp. Lomperis, a military intelligence lieutenant, arrived in Vietnam in March 1972 and worked at MACV. Early in 1973 he left the Army so he could be officially a civilian, not counted under the quota of U.S. military personnel allowed in Vietnam under the terms of the Paris Agreement, while working as liaison betweeen the U.S. Defense Attaché Office (DAO) and several Vietnamese intelligence organizations.

Gene McCarthy, ed., Special Operations Association. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company, 2005. 160 pp. A commemorative book containing material on special operations from 1942 up to the early 21st century.

Alfred W. McCoy, with Cathleen Read and Leonard P. Adams II, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.  xii, 464 pp.

Patrick J, McGarvey, "DIA: Intelligence to Please", Washington Monthly, July 1970, pp. 68-75.

William H. McRaven, SPEC OPS: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice. Novato: Presidio, 1995. 402 pp. There are 45 pages on the effort to rescue US POWs from Son Tay, North Vietnam, in 1970.

Willis Fred Marshall, "Interview with Willis Fred Marshall." Oral history interview, conducted by Richard Verrone, January 3 and February 18, 2003. 76 pp. Marshall was in Vietnam 1967-68, doing intelligence work and advising the ARVN 5th Division, in Binh Duong province. The text is copyright by, and has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of, the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University.

Sewall Menzel, Battle Captain: Cold War Campaigning with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos, 1967-1971. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007. xi, 358 pp. (Previously announced as At the Cutting Edge. Booksurge, 2006.) Menzel arrived in Vietnam late 1967 with 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne. He became intelligence officer for the 1/506. He was in the Tet Offensive. In June 1968 he was shifted from the 101st to command an MAT training PF troops in Lam Dong province. He returned to Vietnam in December 1969 to serve with the 11th Armored Cavalry; he was in the Cambodian Incursion. From late 1970 to mid 1971 he was at J-2 (intelligence) at MACV, assigned to the Laos desk. He was there for the planning of Lam Son 719, then transferred to MR IV desk, but kept track of the Laotian incursion even after the transfer. This is not just a recounting of his experiences; he has a lot of dicussion of the context, events before he arrived and after he left.

Captain Bryant E. Middleton, "Undercover Adviser to the Rats." Vietnam, August 2000, pp. 22-28. Sergeant Middleton, of the 4th Infantry Division, was in 1967 made the only U.S. adviser to a small unit of Jarai Montagnards, "Cowboy-4-Juliet," which CIA had helped establish but which apparently was under the 4th Division at that time.

Military Assistance Command Vietnam: Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (MACJ2). Chronology of the organizational structure of MACV-J2, with dates various directorates operated under various names. Accompanied by item-by-item lists of the contents of twenty boxes of CICV reports on widely assorted topics in RG 472, National Archives, plus contents (may not be item-by-item) of fourteen boxes of reports on individual VC/NVA units. Posted on Facebook by Erik Villard.

John P. Murtha, with John Plashal, From Vietnam to 9/11: On the Front Lines of National Security. Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. 244 pp. The first chapter includes Murtha's Vietnam service. In 1966, he was a major in the Marine Corps Reserve. He volunteered to return to active duty and go to Vietnam, where he was made the intelligence officer of the 1st Marine Regiment; he held that job for a year. In 1974, he became the first Vietnam veteran to be elected to Congress; he was a Democratic Party hawk.

David Grant Noble, Saigon to Pleiku: A Counterintelligence Agent in Vietnam's Central Highlands, 1962-1963. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2020. viii, 196 pp. Noble enlisted in the Army in 1961, was trained in intelligence, and was sent to Vietnam in May 1962 as an agent of the Counterintelligence Corps.

Jacamo [John L.?] Peterson, A Hard Place (A Sergeants's Tale). Trafford, 2007. Peterson says he was assigned in 1970 to command a special operations platoon, based at Chu Lai. The few pages of this that I have seen looked to me like fiction.

Michael B. Peterson, The Vietnam Cauldron: Defense Intelligece in the War for Southeast Asia. Washington, DC: Historical Research Division, Defense Intelligence Agency, 2012. Defense Intelligence Historical Perspectives, Number 2. iii, 48 pp.

Bernard W. Poirier, Witness to the End: Cold War Revelations 1959-1969. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2000. 405 pp. The main focus is on the Polaris missile, but the chapter "Vietnam, CIA, and Naval Intelligence" might be interesting.

Major Marc B. Powe, USA, "Which Way for Tactical Intelligence After Vietnam?" Military Review, 54:9 (September 1974), pp. 48-56. Most of this is a history of U.S. Army intelligence before, and especially during, Vietnam. Quite interesting.

VADM Rex Rectanus et al., "The NILO Program: Tailoring Naval Intelligence to Fit the War." Written summary of the presentations of a panel of former Naval Intelligence Liaison Officers, at the Vietnam Symposium hosted by Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, March 14, 2008. The summary was accompanied by a collection of documents on a CD. Includes information about Sihanoukville, infiltration from Cambodia, etc.

Mark Riebling, The Soldier Spies: The Secret History of the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 2006 this was announced as forthcoming, supposedly from Knopf, but I can find no indication it was ever published.

William Rosenau, Special Operations Forces and Elusive Enemy Ground Targets. MR-1408-AF. Santa Monica: Rand, 2001. xi, 60 pp. Chapter 2 (pp. 5-27) is "U.S. Air Ground Operations Against the Ho Chi Minh Trail, 1966-1972"

Benjamin F. Schemmer, The Raid. New York: Harper & Row, 1976. x, 326 pp. The raid by U.S. forces November 21, 1970, on Son Tay prison near Hanoi, where U.S. prisoners of war were believed to be being held. It failed because the prisoners had all been moved elsewhere.

Peter Scott, Lost Crusade: America's Secret Cambodian Mercenaries. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998. 194 pp. Scott, an Army lieutenant working for and trained by the CIA, was assigned in 1968 as a Phoenix Program advisor in Tri Ton district, Seven Mountains region, Chau Doc province, where he worked with Khmer Krom Kit Carson Scouts. But this book goes well beyond his personal experiences.

Thomas M. Slawson, In Pursuit of Shadows: A Career in Counterintelligence. London: Athena Press, 2006. 205 pp. Slawson was a USAF counterintelligence officer. His tour in Vietnam was around 1970.

Eric McAllister Smith, Not by the Book: A Combat Intelligence Officer in Vietnam. New York: Ivy Books, 1993. 214 pp. Smith arrived in Vietnam as a military intelligence lieutenant with some training in the Vietnamese language, July 1968, assigned to the 23d Infantry (Americal) Division.

J. Perry Smith, The Unlikely Priest. Jacksonville, Florida: Padre Nuestro Books, 2011. 286 pp. One of the sixteen chapters of this book deals with Smith's 1967-68 tour with the 9th Military Intelligence Detachment, at Bear Cat, III Corps.

Myron J. Smith, ed., The Secret Wars: A Guide to Sources in English, volume II, Intelligence, Propaganda and Psychological Warfare, Covert Operations, 1945-1980 (ABC-Clio, 1981).

William Spracher, ed., Interrogation: World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq. Washington, DC: National Defense Intelligence College, 2008. viii, 253 pp. The section by Special Agent David P. Shoemaker, U.S. Air Force, "Unveiling Charlie: U.S. Interrogators' Creative Successes Against Insurgents" (pp. 77-145) is only partly about Vietnam; there is considerable comparative discussion of other wars, and the general theory of interrogation.

Shelby L. Stanton, Special Forces at War: An Illustrated History, Southeast Asia 1957-1975. Charlottesville, VA: Howell Press, 1990.

James L. Sullivan, Ph.D., Tanked. Xlibris, 2003. 140 pp. Sullivan, a Major in military intelligence who arrived in Saigon in January 1972, and was assigned to the Current Information and Intelligence Branch ("The Tank") at MACV J-2, and who was suffering from alcoholism, soon got in severe trouble when his superiors came mistakenly to believe he was planning to leak military secrets to the journalist Jack Anderson.

Richard Taylor, Prodigals: A Vietnam Story. Havertown, PA: Casemate, 2003. xviii, 331 pp. Taylor as a first lieutenant was an adviser to the 2d Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, ARVN 7th Infantry Division, in the Mekong Delta 1967-68. He was in the fighting in My Tho during the Tet Offensive. During his second tour, 1970-71, he initially commanded B Company, 1/7 Cavalry, 3d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, then (pp. 268- ) was his battalion's intelligence officer.

William C. Thomas, "Operation Kingpin: Success or Failure?" Joint Force Quarterly, no. 15 (Spring 1997), pp. 120-124. The raid by U.S. forces November 21, 1970, on Son Tay prison near Hanoi, where U.S. prisoners of war were believed to be being held. It failed because the prisoners had all been moved elsewhere.

William C. Thwing, Vietnam Days: Memoir of an American Military Intelligence Officer. Self-published, 2020. 160 pp. Thwing arrived in Vietnam in July 1967. The short text includes numerous illustrations, and numerous haiku written by the author.

Sedgwick D. Tourison, Jr., Talking with Victor Charlie: An Interrogator's Story. New York: Ivy Books (Ballantine), 1991. 291 pp.  Memoir by a US Army interrogator who arrived in Vietnam in mid 1965, one of the few Americans who really knew the Vietnamese language. Seems to be quite an important book.

Michael Uhl, Vietnam Awakening: My Journey from Combat to the Citizens' Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007. viii, 255 pp. Uhl was promoted to 1st Lt. just as he arrived in Vietnam in November 1968, assigned to the counterintelligence section of the military intelligence detachment of the 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, based at LZ Bronco, adjacent to Duc Pho, Quang Ngai province. Some discussion of atrocities such as the use of electric shock torture in interrogation.

Peter S. Usowski, "Intelligence Estimates and US Policy Toward Laos, 1960-1963." Intelligence and National Security, 6:2 (1991).

Lucien S. Vandenbroucke, Perilous Options: Special Operations as an Instrument of U.S. Foreign Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. 272 pp. Considers four cases, two of which are the Son Tay Prison raid and the Mayaguez operation of 1975. The author works for the Department of State.

Michael Warner, "'US Intelligence and Vietnam': The Official Versions(s)". Intelligence and National Security, 25:5 (October 2010), pp. 611-37. A very useful review essay.

Daniel C. Webster, The Pucker Factor: One Noncombatant's Vietnam Memoirs. Bloomington, IN: 1stBooks, 2003. xi, 310 pp. Webster arrived in Vietnam, a 35-year-old SP5, in August 1967 with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th Engineering Brigade, which was stationed at Bien Hoa. After about 5 months he was transferred to the 13th Combat Assault Helicopter Battalion, at Can Tho, in which he served as information specialist and photographer, later as intelligence sergeant. Then he was sent to Soc Trang to be the intelligence sergeant for the 336th Combat Assault Helicopter Company; later his job there was changed to perimeter sergeant. He was there until early 1969.

Ken Welch, Tiger Hound: How We Won the War and Lost the Country. Denver, CO: Outskirts Press, 2010. 146 pp. The cover blurb states, "A Military Intelligence Professional, Ken Welch served in Vietnam from 1963 until 1971." I have not read the book, but the "Post Script" (pp. 145-146) is so inaccurate as to make me suspicious of the work as a whole.

The Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, has placed online some documents of military intelligence units, and daily intelligence summaries (INTSUMs) from a variety of U.S. military commands in Vietnam. The listing that follows is incomplete:


CIA Publications

 Congressional Committee Documentation: Intelligence and Special Operations

Bibliography of Intelligence in the Vietnam War. This is just one section of a very extensive bibliography The Literature of Intelligence compiled by J. Ransom Clark, of Muskingum College.

The Central Intelligence Agency

Thomas L. Ahern, Jr., after retiring from the CIA's Operations Directorate, went to work for the agency as a contract historian, writing a series of classified histories of CIA activities during the Second Indochina War. These have been declassified (more or less sanitized) as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests filed by historian John Prados, and placed online by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

George W. Allen, None So Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2001. 320 pp. A very valuable memoir by a top intelligence analyst . Allen worked on Vietnam full-tim in the office of the U.S. Army's Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence from 1950 to 1957, combined work on Vietnam with work on other areas for the next few years (his accounts of his visits to Vietnam in 1960 and 1962 are especially valuable), and returned to working full-time on Vietnam at the CIA from 1964 to 1968. He was in Vietnam for a two-year tour from mid-1964 to mid-1966, and then returned to CIA headquarters to become the deputy of George Carver, the Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs (SAVA) to the Director of Central Intelligence, from 1966 to 1968. Combines revealing eyewitness accounts of particular events with sophisticated analysis of the underlying patterns. I strongly urge you to read this book. The full text of my review of Allen's book, written for H-Diplo, is available online.

David M. Barrett, The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story from Truman to Kennedy. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005. 544 pp. Covers the period from 1947 to 1961.

Larry A. Bell, Dead Horses in the Sun. Bloomington, Indiana: 1stBooks/Authorhouse, 2003. x, 302 pp. The cover says: "Gripping true story of a CIA 'foot soldier' operative in Vietnam for seven years from the Mekong Delta to the DMZ".

Richard M. Bissell, Jr., with Jonathan E. Lewis and Frances T. Pudlo, Reflections of a Cold Warrior: From Yalta to the Bay of Pigs. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. viii, 268 pp. Bissell was the CIA's Deputy Director for Plans up to early 1962, and thus had some involvement in policy toward Laos and to a lesser extent Vietnam.

Scott Breckenridge, CIA and the Cold War: A Memoir. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993. 336 pp. Contains some information about covert operations in Indochina in the Nixon years, but does not reveal much.

William Colby and Peter Forbath, Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978. Memoir by William Colby, who became CIA Deputy Chief of Station in Saigon February 1959, and was Chief of Station June 1960 to 1962. He returned to Vietnam in 1968 first as deputy head, then as head of Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS); he served until 1971. He was Director of Central Intelligence from 1973 to the beginning of 1976. (See also biographies by Prados and Woods, below; Colby oral histories, below; and Colby's overall history of the Vietnam War, Lost Victory.)

Ken Conboy, Spies on the Mekong: CIA Clandestine Operations in Laos. Philadelphia: Casemate, 2021. vii, 246 pp. Looks at a variety of the things not paramilitary in nature that the CIA did in Laos.

David Corn, Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. 509 pp. Shackley became CIA Chief of Station in Vientiane in mid 1966, then shifted to Saigon in December 1968, where he remained until early 1972.

Orrin DeForest and David Chanoff, Slow Burn: The Rise and Bitter Fall of American Intelligence in Vietnam. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990. According to the dust jacket, DeForrest arrived in Vietnam in 1968, was chief of CIA intelligence activities for Military Region 3, did very well at his work, and has very bad things to say about some of the other elements of CIA performance in Vietnam.

Peer DeSilva, Sub Rosa: The CIA and the Uses of Intelligence. New York: Times Books, 1978. Primarily a memoir, despite the title. The author became CIA station chief for Saigon in December 1963, served there until injured in a car bombing attack on the US Embassy March 1965.

Alessandro Giorgi, Vikings in Vietnam: Norwegian Patrol Boat Captains in CIA Clandestine Operations. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2024. 112 pp. Three Norwegians were hired by the CIA in 1963 to serve as captains of small vessels conducting covert raids against the North Vietnamese coast. They served until June 1964. By that time the program had been transferred from the CIA to SOG and had become part of OPLAN 34A.

Donald P. Gregg, Pot Shards: Fragments of a Life Lived in CIA, the White House, and the Two Koreas. Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing/Vellum, 2014. xii, 332 pp. Gregg headed the Vietnam desk at CIA headquarters from 1962 to 1964 (pp. 65-77). Later, he was the CIA's Regional Officer in Charge of Military Region 3 [III Corps] from 1970 to 1972, based at Bien Hoa (pp. 95-127). In the latter job, he was less optimistic about the war than his boss, Ted Shackley.

David P. Hadley, The Rising Clamor: The American Press, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Cold War. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2019. 265 pp.

Richard W. Hale, "A CIA Officer in Saigon." Vietnam Magazine, June 2003. Hale arrived in Vietnam in June 1973. The text was at one time online at

Richard Helms, with William Hood, A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency. New York: Random House, 2003. xvi, 478 pp. Helms was Director of Central Intelligence from 1966 to 1973.

Wayne G. Jackson, 5-volume CIA internal history (title unknown) of Allen Dulles' tenure as DCI, February 1953 to November 1961, written 1973, declassified June 1994. Jackson had been a special assistant to Dulles during the Eisenhower administration.

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2022. The chapter on Vietnam (pp. 76-86) is startlingly inaccurate. Notably it exaggerates the role of Edward Lansdale in rigging an election in South Vietnam in the mid-1950s (77); exaggerates the role of the CIA in running covert operations against North Vietnam in mid-1964 (79); and seriously misunderstands a dispute between MACV and the CIA over estimates of enemy strenght in late (83-84).

Joseph B. Kelly as told to Ben R. Games PHD, Confession of a CIA Interrogator. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007. Kelly was a CIA contract agent in Vietnam 1968-1971; he was in IV Corps for part or all of that time. Neither the publisher's blurb on Amazon nor the sections of the book I have skimmed looked at all convincing.

Edward G. Lansdale was a senior CIA man who became involved in Vietnam late in the French war against the Viet Minh, and was then heavily involved in the early consolidation of Ngo Dinh Diem in power. He was involved again in Vietnam policy, no longer working for the CIA, in Washington under Kennedy and in Saigon under Johnson.

James Lilley, China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure, Espionage, and Diplomacy in Asia. New York: Public Affairs, 2004. xiv, 417 pp. Lilley was primarily a China specialist (he was U.S. Ambassador to China at the time of the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989), but he served as a CIA officer in Phnom Penh 1961-1963, and as deputy chief of station in Vientiane 1965-1968.

Patrick McGarvey, CIA: The Myth and the Madness. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1972. 240 pp. McGarvey had worked as a CIA analyst on Vietnam, and had quit, apparently in disgust. The lack either of an index or of chronological organization prevents this from being used as a reference work.

Ralph McGehee, Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA. New York: Sheridan Square Publications, 1983. xii, 231 pp.  Memoir by a CIA officer who served both in Thailand and in South Vietnam during the 1960's. Very hostile to the CIA.

Stuart Methven, Laughter in the Shadows: A CIA Memoir. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2008. xii, 177 pp. Memoir by a CIA officer. The chapters on Laos in the late 1950s have a really bizarre quirk: he does not say openly that the country was Laos. He refers to Laos as "Cham," to the Pathet Lao as the "Pathet Cham," to Vientiane as "Viensang," and so on. The chapter on his 1962-66 service in Vietnam at least calls the place "Vietnam."

Karen M. Paget, Patriotic Betrayal: The Inside Story of the CIA's Secret Campaign to Enroll American Students in the Crusade Against Communism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015. CIA involvement with the National Student Association.

Martha D. Peterson, The Widow Spy: My CIA Journey from the Jungles of Laos to Prison in Moscow. Wilmington, NC: Red Canary Press, 2012. 253 pp. Martha Peterson's husband, CIA paramilitary officer John Peterson, was sent in July 1971 for what was intended to be a two-year tour at Pakse, in southern Laos, advising GM 42 (and perhaps other Laotian units?). Martha accompanied him, and once in Pakse, she was hired to do secretarial work in the CIA office there. Chapters 1-2 (pp. 7-48) deal with this. Chapter 3 deals with the death of John Peterson (killed in October 1972 when the PAVN shot down the helicopter on which he was returning to Pakse from a visit with troops in the field) and its aftermath.

Eugene Poteat, "The Use and Abuse of Intelligence: An Intelligence Provider's Perspective." Diplomacy and Statecraft, 11:2 (July 2000), pp. 1-16. Poteat joined the CIA in 1959. His essay includes brief comments on Tonkin Gulf, traffic flow rates on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and an incident in which he says Robert McNamara publicly pre-announced a U.S. air strike.

Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA.  New York: Knopf, 1979.  xv, 393 pp.

John Prados, Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. xvii, 380 pp. Republished as William Colby and the CIA. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009.

John H. Richardson [Jr.], My Father the Spy [I have seen the subtitle variously listed as An Investigative Memoir or as A Family History of the CIA, the Cold War, and the Sixties. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. 336 pp. Richardson Sr. was the CIA station chief in Saigon in 1963, who opposed the idea of the U.S. backing a coup against Diem, who was recalled to Washington and outed in the press.

Ted Shackley, with Richard A. Finney, Spymaster: My Life in the CIA. Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2005. xviii, 309 pp. Shackley says a great deal about his time as CIA station chief in Vientiane from 1966 to late 1968 (pp. 104-231). He says much less about his next post, as station chief in Saigon late 1968 to early 1972 (pp. 232-264).

Joseph B. Smith, Portrait of a Cold Warrior. Putnam, 1976; Ballantine, 1981. Memoir, only part of it dealing with Indochina, by a long-term CIA officer.

Russell Jack Smith, The Unknown CIA: My Three Decades with the Agency. Washington: Pergamon-Brassey's, 1989. x, 221 pp. Foreword by Richard Helms. Smith replaced Ray Cline as DDI in 1966. The book looks interesting and informative, but the account of the 1967 order of battle dispute is seriously misleading.

Warner Smith, Covert Warrior: Fighting the CIA's Secret War in Southeast Asia and China, 1965-1967. Smith says he was a member of FRAM-16, a unit of Naval personnel (not SEALs) under CIA command. The review in Proceedings, March 1997, p. 112, says the whole book is a lie and no such unit existed. (See also Stolen Valor, by B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, pp. 400-402.)

Frank Snepp, Decent Interval: An Insider's Account of Saigon's Indecent End Told by the CIA's Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1977. xii, 590 pp. Reprinted, with foreword by Gloria Emerson: Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002. xxv, 590 pp. Excellent book by a CIA man who was in Saigon during the last part of the war. He was very careful not to spill the identities of agents, or other facts that he regarded as genuine secrets, but he didn't go through the review process he was legally supposed to go through to let the government make sure he wasn't spilling any secrets. He believed (in my opinion correctly) that if he had gone through the review the government would have tried to cut out of his book his statements that the government behaved with disgusting stupidity and immorality in not making adequate preparations to get Vietnamese who had worked for the CIA, or who were for other reasons in danger, out of South Vietnam before the Communists took over. The U.S. didn't even bother to destroy a central file listing the names of Vietnamese who had cooperated with our intelligence operations; the Communists captured this file intact. The government sued Snepp for not putting his book through the review, and won.

Frank Snepp, Irreparable Harm: A Firsthand Account of How One Agent Took on the CIA in an Epic Battle over Secrecy and Free Speech.  New York: Random House, 1999.  Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001. xx, 391 pp. Story of the legal battle over the preceding item.

Jon Strandquist, "Governmental Re-organization in Counterinsurgency Context: Foreign Policy Program Transfer and Operation Switchback in South Vietnam," Small Wars & Insurgencies 28:2 (2017), pp. 337-360. The CIA has established several paramilitary programs, the most important being the Civilian Irrgular Defense Groups (CIDG), in South Vietnam in the early 1960s. Operation Switchback transferred control of these programs from CIA to the US military between November 1962 and June 1963.

John F. Sullivan, Of Spies and Lies: A CIA Lie Detector Remembers Vietnam. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002. xvi, 250 pp. Sullivan joined the CIA and became a polygraph operator in 1968. He made one TDY to Laos in 1969, checking members of road-watch teams to see whether they had actually been seeing the things along the Ho Chi Minh Trail they claimed to have seen (most admitted they had been filing exaggerated or false reports). He served four year (April 1971 to April 1975) in South Vietnam, with occasional trips to Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. His work as a polygraph operator gave him a good overview of the CIA's human intelligence operations in Vietnam, which he considers pretty pathetic, due in part to the lack of language skills. The CIA officers who were supposed to be recruiting Vietnamese agents didn't speak the language, and had to talk with their agents through interpreters. He, and the other polygraph operators checking the veracity of the agents, didn't know the language and had to question them through interpreters. A useful book.

Charles Eugene Taber, Get Out Any Way You Can: The Story of the Evacuation of House Seven. Infinity, 2003. 84 pp. In March 1975, Taber, a CIA officer, was responsible for getting the Vietnamese employees of the Agency's propaganda radio operation out of Vietnam.

Joseph J. Trento, The Secret History of the CIA. Roseville, CA: Prima, 2001. xviii, 542 pp.

Ralph E. Weber, ed., Spymasters: Ten CIA Officers in their Own Words.  Tynedale House, 1998. Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1999. xlii, 355 pp. Oral histories. The Vietnam-related ones are Samuel Halpern (just a bit on Order of Battle early 1960s), Ray Cline, John McCone, Richard Helms, and William Colby.

Randall B. Woods, Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby and the CIA. New York: Basic Books (Perseus), 2013. vii, 546 pp.

Oral histories for many important figures of the 1960s have been collected by the LBJ Presidential Library. Some of these have been placed online at an Oral History Collection Web page at the LBJ Presidential Library. Far more of them have been placed online in the Lyndon B. Johnson Oral History collection at the Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia. If you are hoping to find online an oral history not specifically mentioned in the listing below, check the Lyndon B. Johnson Oral History collection first; its holdings are by far the most complete. Among the CIA officers whose oral histories are included in these collections are:

see also CIA Documents

see also CIA Publications

See also Air America and Civil Air Transport

Communications Intelligence and the National Security Agency

Army Security Agency internal histories. ASA produced classified histories of its own organization and activities for each fiscal year. NSA has released sanitized copies of these histories for fiscal years 1946 through 1963, including:

James Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War through the Dawn of a New Century. New York: Doubleday, 2001. 721 pp. Chapter 9, pp. 283-353, covers the SIGINT aspects of the Vietnam War, including not just U.S. operations, but also the very successful enemy exploitation of U.S. communications.

Douglas W. Bonnot, The Sentinel and the Shooter. Livermore, CA: WingSpan Press, 2010. vi, 331 pp. The 265th Radio Research Company, an ASA unit attached to the 101st Airborne Division.

Donald A. Borrmann, et al., The History of Traffic Analysis: World War I – Vietnam. For Meade, MD: Center for Cryptologic History, NSA, 2013. 55 pp. The section on the vietnam War (pp. 38-44) deals mostly with the battles near Dak To (1967) and the raid on Son Tay (1970).

Stephen Budiansky, Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union. New York: Knopf, 2016. xxi, 389 pp. The section on the Vietnam War (pp. 249-70) is extremely interesting, but contains several minor factual errors.

William Cahill, "Strategic Air Command SIGINT Support to the Vietnam War," Air Power History, 66:4 (Winter 2019) pp. 29-42. Also includes a little information on photographic reconnaissance.

Walter G. Deeley, "A Fresh Look at Purple Dragon," Signal, 38:8 (April 1984).

Tom Glenn, "Was the Tet Offensive Really a Surprise?" New York Times online, November 3, 2007. In 1967, Glenn, a Vietnamese linguist with NSA, was in Pleiku province, assisting the US Army SIGINT team that supported the 4th Infantry Division and the 173d Airborne Brigade. In October they attempted to warn the commander of the 4th Infantry Division about an impending offensive in the vicinity of Dak To, but the warning was ignored. In December he shifted to Bien Hoa, where he soon saw similar signs of an impending enemy offensive in that area, but Westmoreland rejected that warning.

Tom Glenn, "Bitter Memories: The Fall of Saigon, April 1975," Studies in Intelligence 59:4 (December 2015), pp. 9-20. Glenn rans NSA's SIGINT activities in South Vietnam 1974-75.

Ronald Griffith, Vietnam Was Boring. CreateSpace, 2014. 146 pp. Griffith was a Morse Intercept Operator for the Army Security Agency, stationed at Phu Bai from April 1967 to May 1968.

Headquarters United States Air Force Security Service produced three historical studies that have been placed online as a single .pdf   by

Tracy Kidder, My Detachment: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 2005. 192 pp. Kidder entered the Army through ROTC at Harvard. He commanded an ASA detachment, attached to the 198th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, beginning June 1968. Stationed at Landing Zone Bayonet, SSE of Chu Lai in Quang Tin province, for most of his tour. Many names have been changed.

Captain Norman Klar, U.S. Navy (Ret.), "Fighting Forces: The Naval Security Detachments . . ." Vietnam Magazine, February 2003, pp. 18-22. Navy communications intelligence.

Scott Laidig, Al Gray, Marine, vol. 1, The Early Years, 1950-1967. Arlington, VA: Potomac Institute Press, 2012. xxii, 440 pp. Gray (later Commandant of the Marine Corps) first went to Vietnam in 1964 as a major, leading a SIGINT detachment assigned to establish a listening post on Tiger Tooth Mountain, in Quang Tri province.

Lonnie M. Long and Gary B. Blackburn, Unlikely Warriors: The Army Security Agency's Secret War in Vietnam, 1961-1973. iUniverse, 2013. xiv, 475 pp.

John E. Malone, Top Secret Missions. Victoria, B.C., Canada: Trafford, 2003. 292 pp. The 400th Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachment (Airborne), 1962-1975. The impression I get from reviews on is that the book has a lot of personal details about individuals, not so much about the actual missions.

Charles R. Myer, "Viet Cong SIGINT and U.S. Army COMSEC in Vietnam", Cryptologia, Vol.13 No.2 (April 1989), pp. 145-146.

John Prados, "The Vinh Window and the Ho Chi Minh Trail," Vietnam 27:2 (August 2014). In late 1967, US COMINT aircraft orbiting over the Gulf of Tonkin were able to intercept radio traffic of units of the PAVN Rear Services Department operating the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Jim Robarts, letter on Army Security Agency (ASA), including 337th RRC, 371st RRC, communications security. Veteran, July 1995.

William E. Rowe, "Defending Long Binh." Vietnam Magazine, February 1995, pp. 46-52. The 856th Radio Research Detachment. Some interesting details on the "ditty-boppers" who used PRD-1 direction finders to locate Viet Cong radios.

TANS: The TANS Collection. Personal accounts by veterans of the Army Security Agency (ASA), which did a lot of the signals intelligence work for the United States in the Vietnam War. The Southeast Asia ASA Association holds the copyright to Volumes III and IV. Some of the stories by Jack Waer, in Volumes I and II, were apparently fictionalized, but I am not aware of any other problems with the collection.

W. Charles Truitt, Pop a Yellow Smoke, and Other Memories. Ozark, AL: ACW Press, 2005. 222 pp. Truitt, a Marine, served in Vietnam with the 1st Radio Battalion, a SIGINT unit, 1969-1970. He was in northernn Quang Tri, initially at Vandegrift Combat Base, later closer to the coast. The book deals more with living conditions and events at these bases than with his work in radio direction finding.

Rick A. Waters, 05h-20: The 96% True Journal of a Military Spy. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2014. 278 pp. Waters was a Morse Intercept Operator for the Army Security Agency. He arrived in Vietnam in July 1972.

National Security Agency Declassified Publications. This usually very secretive agency, responsible for United States signals intelligence (SIGINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT), has recently released a number of its internal histories, originally published as highly classified documents, to the public. Sanitized versions of several were placed online in 2008 on NSA's Declassification Initiatives web site. There is no way to tell how many of the ones not yet released may be released, or when. A recent reorganization of NSA's web sites invalidated most of the links below. I imagine these items are still available somewhere, but I have not yet been able to find new links for most of them.


The Phoenix Program

Dale Andradé, Ashes to Ashes: The Phoenix Program and the Vietnam War. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1990. xviii, 331 pp.  The subtitle added on the dust jacket, "Cover for Assassination or Effective Counterinsurgency?", describes the author's view: he seems to feel that if the Phoenix program was an important and effective means for fighting the Communist organization during the war, this means that the accusations of assassinations and atrocities that have often been made against it are unfounded. Despite this defensive attitude, he has produced a very useful study of the program, formally established in 1967 and 1968 (though previous programs had existed, which were absorbed into Phoenix), to destroy the Communist infrastructure in the villages of South Vietnam.

Dale Andrade and Lt. Col. James H. Willbanks, USA, Ret., "CORDS/Phoenix: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Vietnam for the Future." Military Review, 86:2 (March/April 2006), pp. 9-23.

Alex Caine, Befriend and Betray: Infiltrating the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Other Criminal Brotherhoods. Thomas Dunne Books, 2009. 304 pp. A portion of chapter 1 gives Caine's story of his service in Vietnam, beginning December 1969. He says that he was a Marine, sent initially to Bearcat on arrival in Vietnam, and assigned to a unit that was nominally part of the 2d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division, working in Operation Phoenix. I am deeply suspicious.

Lt. Col. John L. Cook, The Advisor. Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1973. 287 pp. pb New York: Bantam, 1987. 307 pp. Reprinted as The Advisor: The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1997. 316 pp. Cook arrived in Vietnam May 1968, and was assigned as the Phoenix advisor for Di An district, Bien Hoa province. He stayed until 1970.

G. LaVerne Crowell, ICEX Intelligence: Vietnam's Phoenix Program. Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2006. 156 pp. Crowell served 1967-68 in Go Vap district near Saigon, and in Khiem Hanh district of Tay Ninh.

Colonel Andrew R. Finlayson, USMC (Ret.), "A Retrospective on Counterinsurgency Operations: The Tay Ninh Provincial Reconnaissance Unit and Its Role in the Phoenix Program, 1969-70.". Studies in Intelligence, 51:2 (2007), pp. 59-69.

Colonel Andrew R. Finlayson, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), Marine Advisors with the Vietnamese Provincial Reconnaissance Units, 1966-1970. Quantico, VA: History Division, United States Marine Corp, 2009. vii, 71 pp. Finlayson as a Captain was an advisor to the Tay Ninh PRU in 1969.

Zalin Grant, Facing the Phoenix: The CIA and the Political Defeat of the United States in Vietnam. New York: Norton, 1991. 395 pp.  This book centers on the career of Tran Ngoc Chau, who according to Grant was highly effective in political warfare against the Communists, but who was in the end rejected by the Americans.

Stuart Herrington, Silence was a Weapon: The Vietnam War in the Villages. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1982. Re-issued in 1997, same publisher, under the title Stalking the Vietcong: Inside Operation Phoenix, a Personal Account. Herrington, then a captain in the US Army, was involved in trying to uproot the Communist organization in the villages of Hau Nghia province, a little northwest of Saigon, from February 1971 to August 1972.

Ralph William Johnson, "Phoenix/Phung Hoang: A Study of Wartime Intelligence Management."  Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, American University, 1985.  xi, 496 pp.  DA 8514487.  The author, a career CIA man who had participated in Phoenix, died in 1982.  His Ph.D. committee formally accepted his dissertation in 1984; his degree was awarded in 1985.  I really wish that whoever put a note into the abstract of the version of his dissertation distributed by University Microfilms International, mentioning that Johnson had died in 1982, had also put in a note saying whether or not there had been any posthumous editing of the manuscript.

Alan S. Levin, M.D., J.D., and J. B. Gentry, Flight Quack: The true story of the Vietnam War's most decorated flight surgeon, who became a CIA assassin. Austin, TX: Phaktory, 2022. After Levin finished medical school, he was drafted. He was sent to Vietnam in February 1967, and assigned as a flight surgeon in northern I Corps, serving aboard USMC medical evacuation helicopters of HMM-265. He says he later served in a CIA assassination team as part of Operation Phoenix. I am suspicious of this story.

Mark Moyar, Phoenix and the Birds of Prey: The CIA's Secret Campaign to Destroy the Viet Cong. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997. xx, 416 pp. Rev. ed., with a new preface by the author, a new foreword by Col. Harry G. Summers, Jr., and a new chapter "Lessons Learned" bringing in comparisons with the recent Iraq War: Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007. xxi, 448 pp.

John Prados, "The Flight of the Phoenix", Veteran, 8:8 (August 1988), pp. 13-16, 28.

John Prados, "Phoenix and the Drones," Passport 43:3 (January 2013), pp. 36-38.

William Rosenau and Austin Long, The Phoenix Program and Contemporary Counterinsurgency. OP-258-OSD. Santa Monica: Rand, 2009. xii, 27 pp.

Peter Scott, Lost Crusade: America's Secret Cambodian Mercenaries. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998. 194 pp. Scott, an Army lieutenant working for and trained by the CIA, was assigned in 1968 as a Phoenix Program advisor in Tri Ton district, Seven Mountains region, Chau Doc province, where he worked with Khmer Krom Kit Carson Scouts. But this book goes well beyond his personal experiences.

Thomas R. Searle, "Targeting Civilians: When and Why U.S. Military Forces Have Deliberately Killed Enemy Civilians, 1863-1973." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Duke University, 2004. vi, 386 pp. AAT 3177306. Chapter 5, pp. 261-341, is "Counter-Guerrilla Warfare: The Phoenix Program and the Vietnam War, 1967-72." The author is or was a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army Special Forces. The text is available online if you are browsing the Internet through an institution that has paid for a subscription to ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

Tal Tovy, "The Theoretical Aspect of Targeted Killings: The Phoenix Program as a case Study," Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 11:4 (2009).

Douglas Valentine, The Phoenix Program. New York: Morrow, 1990. 479 pp.  Reprinted by iUniverse in 2000. It is possible to purchase a bound copy from the website, or simply read the full text online, without charge. Based to a large extent on interviews with participants, this study is more critical of the Phoenix Program than Andradé's book is. Overly sensationalized, especially in its later chapters, but still quite useful.

A variety of documents relating to the Phoenix Program have been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.


There were also a few Congressional committee hearings during which Operation Phoenix was discussed. Go to Congressional Committee Documentation: Main List and do a keyword search for "Phoenix".

Army LRRPs

James R. Arnold, Rangers. Illustrated History of the Vietnam War, no. 10. New York: Bantam, 1988. 158 pp. Includes a section toward the end on RVN rangers.

Frank Camper, L.R.R.P.: The Professional. New York: Dell, 1988. 254 pp. Camper arrived in Vietnam in August 1966 as a private in the 2d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. He has some LRRP training in Pleiku December 1966 (Recondo at Nha Trang was just getting started, and he couldn't get permission to go there) and joined the brigade's LRRP platoon early in 1967. He returned to the US in early June 1967.

Ed [Edwin L.] Emanuel, Soul Patrol. New York: Ballantine/Presidio Press, 2003. Foreword by Gary Linderer. xiv, 285 pp. Emanuel, an African-American from California, joined the army shortly after graduating from high school in 1967, arrived in Vietnam in June 1968, and was assigned to F Company, 51st Infantry, the LRP company serving II Field Force. It was probably about late August when he became a member of the all-black Team 2/6 within the company. In the reorganization of February 1, 1969, he was sent to O Company, 75th Infantry (the LRP unit of the 3d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division), with a lower average quality of leadership and personnel, and racial tension within the unit that F Company had not had. He did not attend Recondo School until late in his tour, March 1969. His tour lasted until early June.

Gary Douglas Ford, 4/4: A LRP's Narrative. New York: Ivy Books, 1993. x, 274 pp. Ford arrived in Vietnam in July 1967, was assigned to 173d Airborne Brigade, and soon transferred to Company F, LRP, 51st Infantry, the airborne LRP company attached to II Field Force, Vietnam. He served until early 1969.

Bill Frey (Bradshaw Frey, ed.), Letters from Nam. pb New York: Warner, (1993?). William Frey, a 25th Divison LRRP, was killed in April 1968; his tour was almost over at the time.

James F. Gebhardt, Eyes Behind the Lines: US Army Long-Range Reconnaissance and Surveillance Units. Global War on Terrorism Occasional Paper 10. Ft. Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute Press, (2006?). vi, 177 pp. Chapter 3, on Vietnam, is pp. 45-110.

Bill Goshen, War Paint. New York: Ballantine, 2001. xxiii, 231 pp. Goshen joined F Company, 52d Infantry (which became I Company, 75th Infantry), the LRP unit of the 1st Infantry Division, in October 1968. He served until heavily wounded near the Fishhook at the end of February 1969.

Michael Lee Lanning, Inside the LRRPs: Rangers in Vietnam. New York: Ivy Books, 1988. vi, 246 pp.

Gary A. Linderer, Phantom Warriors: LRRPs, LRPs, and Rangers in Vietnam, Book I.  New York: Ballantine, 2000.  xii, 372 pp.  Linderer tells the story of one combat mission for each of the units he covers.  The book needs a table of contents (hint to publisher for future volumes).  The first few chapters (for each I give the initial page number, the identity of the unit, and the month of the operation described) are:
  1       B-52 (Project Delta), 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)        12/65
  14     LRRP Detachment, 1st Infantry Division                                     11/67
  32     LRRP Detachment, 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate)               12/67
  45     Company F, 51st Infantry (Abn), II Field Force                          8/68
  55     Company F, 52d Infantry (LRP), 1st Infantry Division               6/68
  67     Company I, 75th Infantry (Ranger), 1st Infantry Division          12/69
  80     LRRP Detachment, 1st Cavalry Division                                      9/67
  95     Company G, 75th Infantry (Ranger), 23d (Americal)                   ?

Gary A. Linderer, Phantom Warriors, Book II. New York: Ballantine, 2001. xxi, 360 pp.

Gordon L. Rottman, illustrated by Adam Hook, US Army Long-Range Patrol Scout in Vietnam 1965-71. Osprey, 2008. 64 pp.

Shelby L. Stanton, Rangers at War: Combat Recon in Vietnam. New YorK: Orion, 1992. xv, 382 pp.

David Walker, Cyclops in the Jungle: A One-Eyed LRP in Vietnam. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 2010. xii, 219 pp. Walker's first tour in vietnam, as a LRP, was cut very short at the beginning of 1968 by a wound that cost him an eye. He managed to return in 1970, again as a LRP, for a tour that lasted much longer.

LRRPs in the Airborne and Air Cavalry

Robert C. Ankony, Lurps: A Ranger's Diary of Tet, Khe Sanh, A Shau, and Quang Tri. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2006. 306 pp. Company E, 52d Infantry (1st Cavalry Division), 1967-68.

John Burford, LRRP Team Leader. New York: Ivy, 1994. 214 pp. The book does not make Burford's biography clear; he joined the Army in 1960, but may have left it and then rejoined it at some point, before being sent to Vietnam in July 1968 to join Company F, 58th Infantry, the LRP company attached to the 101st Airborne Division. (This company was later reorganized as Company L, 75th Infantry (Ranger); presumably Burford made this shift.)

Larry Chambers, Recondo: LRRPs in the 101st Airborne. New York: Ivy Books, 1992. 279 pp. Chambers joined 101st and was assigned to its LRRP company—F Company, 58th Infantry—in September 1968.

Larry Chambers, Death in the A Shau Valley: L Company LRRPs in Vietnam, 1969-1970. New York: Ivy, 1998. viii, 240 pp.

Ronald Lee Christopher, Above All Else. Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2006. 293 pp. Staff Sergeant Christopher (see Airborne and Airmobile) was assigned in November 1966 to begin work on establishing a LRRP unit for the First Cavalry Division. The first combat missions were in January 1967.

Company H, 75th Infantry, was the LRRP unit for the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). A number of rather brief monthly "Lessons Learned" reports and operational reports from this unit have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University:
     June 1969 Lessons Learned,
     July 1969 Lessons Learned,
     August 1969 Lessons Learned, Operational Report,
     September 1969 Lessons Learned, Operational Report,
     October 1969 Lessons Learned, Operational Report,
     November 1969 Lessons Learned. Operational Report,
     December 1969 Operational Report,

Don Ericson & John L. Rotundo, Charlie Rangers. New York: Ivy Books, 1989. A joint memoir by two men both of whom arrived in Vietnam in September 1969 to join the 173d Airborne Brigade (both had in fact wanted to go to Vietnam), and went to Company C, 75th Infantry (Charlie Rangers), a large and highly regarded recon company. Ericson was happy to leave at the end of his one-year tour; Rotundo chose to extend his tour voluntarily to March 1971.

Don C. Hall and Annette R. Hall, I Served.  Bellevue, Washington: A.D. Hall Publishing or Trafford Publishing, 2001.  This is a paperback; there was a previous limited collector's edition in hardcover (Bellevue, Washington: A.D. Hall Publishing, 1994.  iii, 566 pp.).  Don Hall arrived in Vietnam in 1967, already a sergeant.  He was initially assigned to B Company, 4/503 Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade.  He quickly decided he wanted out of this unit; he became one of the initial members of Company F, 51st LRP (Airborne) Infantry (a LRP unit in III Corps that provided crucial warning of the attacks aimed at Saigon in the Tet Offensive of 1968), and briefly trained with B-36.  Well written.

Leo Joseph Heaney, Tiger Force: "Inward Season Three...Over": A Vietnam Memoir. 2018. 348 pp. Heaney served in the Tiger Force, a special reconnaissance unit of the 1/327 Infantry, 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, from June 1966 to October 1967.

Frank Johnson, Diary of an Airborne Ranger: A LRRP's Year in the Combat Zone. New York: Ballantine, 2001. vii, 255 pp. Johnson was in Vietnam September 1969 to September 1970, with L Company, 75th Infantry (Ranger), 101st Airborne Division, in I Corps.

Kregg P.J. Jorgenson, The Ghosts of the Highlands: 1st Cav LRRPs in Vietnam, 1966-67. New York: Ivy, 1999. 242 pp. Deals with the formation and early days of the 1st Cav's LRRP company, long before the period when Jorgenson himself was in the unit. Conversations have been reconstructed (I am not enthusiastic about an author who was not present at the events doing this) and there are some renamed and/or composite characters.

Kregg P.J. Jorgenson, LRRP Company Command: The Cav's LRP/Rangers in Vietnam, 1968-1969. New York: Ballantine, 2000. x, 273 pp. Company E, 52d Infantry (LRP), which in 1969 became Company H, 75th Infantry. It was commanded by Captain George Paccerelli during the period covered by this book, October 1968 through August 1969. Jorgenson himself was in the unit at a slightly later time.

Gary A. Linderer, The Eyes of the Eagle. New York: Ivy Books, 1991. 230 pp. The author served in an LRP Company (F Company, 58th Infantry) of the 101st Airborne Division. This book covers his service in Vietnam from June to December of 1968.

Gary A. Linderer, Eyes Behind the Lines. New York: Ivy Books, 1991. 307 pp. Sequel to The Eyes of the Eagle. Covers the months up to the author's departure from Vietnam in June 1969.

Gary A. Linderer, Black Berets and Painted Faces: The Story of a LRP in Vietnam. Book club edition combining both of Linderer's books in a single volume.

Gary A. Linderer, Six Silent Men: 101st LRP/Rangers, Book Three. New York: Ivy, 1997. 372 pp. L Company, 75th Rangers, 1969 to 1971 (this unit had formerly been called F Company, 58th Infantry--see book by Kenn Miller below).

Reynel Martinez, Six Silent Men: 101st LRP/Rangers, Book One. New York: Ivy, 1997. xviii, 362 pp. Martinez was a LRP in the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne, from late 1966 to 1968. Most of this book is the stories of other LRPs who served in the unit between 1965 and early 1968, as told to Martinez.

Kenn Miller, Six Silent Men: 101st LRP/Rangers, Book Two. New York: Ivy, 1997. viii, 293 pp. Covers F Company, 58th Infantry, the division LRP company for the 101st Airborne, from its formation in 1967 up to its redesignation in early 1969 as L Company, 75th Rangers.

Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss, Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War. Boston: Little, Brown, 2006. The recon platoon of the 1/327 Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. The unit committed extensive atrocities May to November 1967. For accounts by men who served in the Tiger Force before the period when it behaved atrociously, see Heaney (above) and Howard (in Airborne and Airmobile).

Bill Shanahan and John P. Brackin, Stealth Patrol: The Making of a Vietnam Ranger, 1968-70. Da Capo, 2003. 288 pp. Shanahan served with N Company, 75th Infantry, the LRP unit of the 173d Airborne Brigade.

Lt. Bob Stein, Ghost Warriors: Long Range Patrol Airborne Rangers. CreateSpace, 2016. 338 pp. Stein arrived in Vietnam in 1967 and initially was a platoon leader in B Company, 1/5 Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. In November he was transferred to a newly forming Long Range Patrol company.

James W. Walker, Fortune Favors the Bold: A British LRRP with the 101st. New York: Ivy, 1998. xii, 330 pp. Walker was a British subject, but had immigrated to the United States, and was living in Indiana when he enlisted in the US Army in 1962. He arrived in Vietnam in January 1967 with the 218th Military Police Company, and was based at Cam Ranh until he transferred to the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne in May, and once there, quickly shifted from MP to the Brigade LRRP unit.

See also Airborne and Airmobile, in which section particularly note the books by Jorgenson and Leppelman.


Marines in Recon and Special Operations

Army Special Forces

Air Commandos, Air America, etc.


Navy SEALs and UDTs

Combined Document Exploitation Center (CDEC) and Combined Military Interrogation Center (CMIC)

The Order of Battle Dispute and the Westmoreland Lawsuit

Communist Intelligence Organizations

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Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Opinions expressed in this bibliography are my own. They could hardly be the opinions of Clemson University, since Clemson University does not have opinions on the matters in question. Revised March 18, 2024.