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Saigon Recon - 1970 - US Special Forces - Mobile Strike Force
Mike Force - Elite Airborne Recon
BLACK JACK 21 – GREEN VARIANT
Officially set up in 1965 Mike Force was originally called the ' Mobile Guerrilla Force' due to the nature of the actions performed by this group in conjunction with the Nung Tribesmen since early 1964.
Headquartered at Nha Trang, Mike Force had the selection of the best of the Indigenous forces available including tribesmen of the Rhade, Raglia, Koho, Nung and Cham with the entire contingent of both the Nung and Rhade rated as 'Superb' in their jungle fighting skills and all airborne qualified.
The standards of the other tribesmen allocated/chosen to fight with Mike Force was well above that of the normal Indigenous combatant.
In total, approximately 40% of the indigenous combatants were Special Forces trained and qualified. (totalling over 1,000 men at Nha Trang alone).
Unusually, the area of operation of the 5th Mike Force at Nha Trang was 'Vietnam' and not restricted to operations in any particular zone.
Used for re-inforcement of indigenous positions the Mobile Strike Force (Reaction Force) was also used for Recon Ambush, Recon and Combat, Rapid Insertion, Jungle Tracking and Neutralization and were capable of operating in areas considered as VC / NVA Strongholds for period of more than 60 days without re-supply or contact if necessary.
Developed as a theory of operation and first put into action in November 1966, 'Blackjack' saw considerable success during it's five years of operation until 1971.
Further to intelligence provided by Recon teams on long insertion missions a 3 to 4 man Recon Team would be sent to survey an area followed shortly by a 150 Man 'Mobile Guerrilla Force' (MGF) made up of Mike Force Trained Indigenous Soldiers commanded by a US Special Force Command Group.
The first such Blackjack operation was 'Operation BLACKJACK 21' in Kontum province in October / November 1966.
Having been air-dropped into the Plei Trap Valley on the 13th of October the entire action force was eventually airlifted out of the area. Having run into 3 NVA on bicycles (who were killed ) the force shortly afterwards came under intense fire from a large enemy force and spent four days attempting to prevent itself from been surrounded.
Enemy casualties (apart from the three cyclist) are unknown, no allied wounded or KIA. They were airlifted out on the 9th of November.
Not deemed a disaster (in fact having returned with a full contingent of personnel after almost a month in the field it was considered a considerable success) and in mid 1967 the Mobile Guerrilla Force was integrated into and came under the command of the Mobile Strike Force.
Blackjack 21 was followed by Blackjack 22 and later Blackjack 31.
Titles of Distinction