When conventional US troop units began deploying to Republic of Vietnam, the men of Project Delta (B-52) and its predecessor, Project Leaping Lena, had already honed their skills and gained experience in conducting reconnaissance and other special operations in Vietnam — as well as in training indigenous troops in these arts. It soon became evident that the conventional units would need a reconnaissance capability beyond their organic cav troops and infantry battalion recon platoons.
In September 1966, the 1st Brigade 101st Airborne Division sent ten paratroopers through Delta’s training program, and soon other units were begging to send some of their soldiers through the course.
By August 1966, things were getting out of hand. Delta’s CO went to Colonel Kelly — who at this time was reorganizing and expanding 5th SF Group’s intelligence operations, and in the process of organizing Project Omega (B-50) and Project Sigma (B-56) and a Group Recon School, and bringing them on line.
In the midst of all this, Project Delta was also training LRRPs for the conventional units. Colonel Kelly went to General Westmoreland (by then MACV’s commanding general), and on July 1st, 1966, Major A.J. Baker was given the job of forming and commanding the MACV Recondo School, based on Delta’s recon experience and the 101st’s Recondo School. From that beginning, the MACV Recondo School at Nha Trang was on its way.
But all that is history, and that history is well chronicled in Tom Halliwell’s A History Of The MACV Recondo School — which are still available in soft cover from www.specialforcesbooks.com. It is a wonderful work of history, full of information, photos, and detailed information about the training schedules, requirements, patrol procedures, historical facts, a list of Recondo Instructor/Advisers and cadre, and a similar list of Recondo graduates. Halliwell’s history is a priceless source for anyone interested in American special operations history. Halliwell’s history is a history, but this article is more of a grateful paean from an old Recondo School graduate.