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Murder in War? The Green Beret Affair. Vietnam. 1969.

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During the Vietnam War, Special Forces often worked with the CIA on covert intelligence gathering missions. One of those units was Project GAMMA. On 6 August 1969, the commander of 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and 7 other Green Berets were arrested and charged with the murder of a Vietnamese double agent.

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Murder in War? The Green Beret Affair. Vietnam. 1969.

  1. 1. The Green Beret Affair and the Execution of a Double Agent
  2. 2. During the Vietnam War, Special Forces often worked with the CIA on covert intelligence gathering missions. One of those units was Project GAMMA. On 6 August 1969, the commander of 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and 7 other Green Berets were arrested and charged with the murder of a Vietnamese double agent.
  3. 3. GAMMA was responsible for running intelligence gathering teams into Cambodia, initiated in 1967. It’s estimated GAMMA produced 65% of usable intelligence on Cambodia and 75% on South Vietnam. Because these missions were technically illegal since Cambodia was off limits to the US, these missions were supervised by the CIA. GAMMA was careful not to allow the South Vietnamese military in on these ops as they were known to be deeply compromised with enemy agents.
  4. 4. In 1969, GAMMA teams were getting ambushed on a regular basis. As if the NVA knew the ops ahead of time. A picture was captured from an NVA base camp and it showed on of GAMMA agents, Thai Khac Chuyen, with North Vietnamese intelligence officers.
  5. 5. Chuyen was brought in for questioning and a polygraph. He was also administered Sodium Pentothal. It was discovered Chuyen was working as a triple agent, not just supplying intelligence to the NVA but also the South Vietnamese about GAMMA’s operations. GAMMA reported the problem to its CIA handlers in Saigon. The response was “terminate the agent with extreme prejudice”, a term that has moved into our lexicon.
  6. 6. Several SF personnel drugged Chuyen, took him on a boat into Nha Trang Harbor, and executed him. They wrapped his body in chains and threw it into the sea. The cover story was that he’d disappeared on a cross-border mission.
  7. 7. Unfortunately, Chuyen’s handler, not a Special Forces soldier, became fearful for his own safety and reported the incident. It reached General Abrams, the commander of US Forces in Vietnam and no fan of Special Forces.
  8. 8. “Get up there and clean all those bastards out!”, General Abrams ordered. He had Colonel Rheault, the Group Commander (and later the model for Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now) and seven other Green Berets arrested, confined in Long Binh Jail, and charged with premeditated murder.
  9. 9. Reporters found out about the arrests and the story went public. The sentiment was that the Green Berets were being made scapegoats by the CIA and the Army. After all, isn’t it a soldier’s job to kill the enemy? The defense made a motion to dismiss, given there was no body. General Abrams, in the midst of the war, diverted naval assets to drag Nha Trang Harbor and divers to search for the body.
  10. 10. NY Times 15 August 1969
  11. 11. The key problem for all the politicians, the Army, and the CIA was that at the same time, President Nixon was conducting illegal, covert B-52 bombing of Cambodia. This was so secret that nuclear Fail Safe bombers were diverted from that mission to conduct the bombing.
  12. 12. Fearing the political fallout, the Secretary of the Army dismissed the charges against the Green Berets. This was done, but the careers of all were ruined. Colonel Rheault retired. Col. Robert Rheault upon returning to the US with his then wife in 1969.
  13. 13. Daniel Ellsberg is reported to have been motivated by the Green Beret Affair to make his decision to release the Pentagon Papers to the media.
  14. 14. In New York Minute, the main character, William Kane, participated in a fictional event based on the Green Beret Affair. This has had large implications in his life, even as the story begins in New York City in 1977. He’d been arrested, dishonorably discharged and discredited. Things heat up, especially when the CIA handler from the Affair shows up at his apartment.
  15. 15. The last time former Green Beret Will Kane was involved in killing someone it made the cover of LIFE Magazine. New York City, summer 1977. It begins when he takes a compromising picture as part of the job. As the long hot summer boils, so does Kane as the mob, the CIA, the IRA and other forces are brought to bear on him. What they all seem to have forgotten, and Kane wishes he could, is that he is a highly trained and experienced warrior. A skilled killer. What should a good man do when faced with evil that the law can't touch? On 13 July 1977, the Blackout occurs and Kane explodes.
  16. 16. Print Book Free downloadable Powerpoint slideshows on survival, history writing, and interesting information are available HERE THE GREEN BERET PREPARATION AND SURVIVAL GUIDE
  17. 17. New York City. 1970s. Jack Reacher meets the Equalizer by NY Times Bestselling Author, West Point graduate and former Green Beret One of the top five new series of the year. http://bobmayer.com/fiction/
  18. 18. www.bobmayer.com About the author: Bob Mayer up in the Bronx, New York City; graduated West Point, served in the Infantry including leading a recon platoon in the First Cav Division, and then Special Forces (Green Berets), commanding an A-Team and other assignments. After leaving active duty he studied martial arts in the Orient and was brought back for numerous ADSW (Active Duty Special Work) tours in Special Operations. He’s lived on an island off the east coast, an island off the west coast, in the Rocky Mountains, the hill country of Texas, the hills of New England, the Appalachians and other places. They haven’t caught up to him yet. He is the New York Times bestselling author of over 80 books.

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