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Topic Review (Newest First)
Today 12:50 AM
schaaf11t Hello Kyle,
As I mentioned before I'm currently writing a memoir, and so my memories of that time have been reignited.
I have a clear memory of that photo and surrounding circumstanes.
First of all, the photo was taken by my friend Bobby Shippen, and I wasn't even aware he took it. I didn't know it existed until a reunion many years later(1990's) in Vegas, when he showed it to me.
We were at a new launch site, Mai Loc, where we moved after abandoning Khe Sahn(FOB#3). It had become impossible to launch missions out of there because we were hit with NVA artillery nearly every day.

Mike Mein was killed after that mission with 5 others; their chopper was shot down on Nov30, 1968.

That particular mission was actually a Hatchet Force, 2 platoons of 40 men each, and my only non recon mission. I was the platoon sgt. It was in Laos, pretty shitty, lost a couple of guys, and I hated being out there with such a noisy group.

It was pretty late in my time in SOG, I had been on a team for nearly a year, and I was an old man by that time, at 23.

I carried a Car-15, with 20 mags on my web gear in canteen covers, and another 5 in my pack. You see the M-79, I carried 6-7 HE rounds and 2 double 00 buck for at night at RON. I also carried 3 time fuses and 1 Claymore mine, and some C-4 explosive. 4 quarts of water, a couple indig bags of rice, a bit of food.(I could never eat much out there.) . 6-8 HE grenades(m-26), 1 willie peter grenade, bandages, strobe light, signal mirror, 2-3 smokes, pin flare, maps, pencils, URC-10 emergency radio, signal panel, knife, code book, a poncho, morphine, med kit. Can't think of much else.

As far as weapons, we could take anything we preferred. Primarily car-15's, but we had shotguns, Sweedish K, Bren, Sten, Aks's, RPD, AK, SKS, Grease gun, M-14, even the old thompson and BAR. Probably more than that.
I liked the CAR just fine, as did most others.

No dog tags, sterile fatigues, no ID, No personal items. We were spies. No SOG recon man that was lost over the fence was ever seen again, that I'm aware.

Take care,

Yesterday 10:20 PM
bigbluekyle Hi Tim,

Thanks for all the information on the photo. I had it all wrong and I appreciate you correcting my errors. We also greatly appreciate all the incredible details and additional information. Thank you Sir!

I wanted to ask you about this photo:

This photo of you with the Painted Face is Very Well Known and probably one of the Most Famous MACV SOG photos Of-All-Time. As I am sure you already know this photo was first published in Vol 2 of Jason Hardy's series of books MACV Sog: Team History of a Clandestine Army. The photo was widely used by early Seiko SOG collectors in an attempt to identify the Seiko watch that is clearly visible on your wrist. Your photo is why we are here on this Seiko SOG thread right now!

I wanted to ask you about the "Handsome Devil" photo as it has become such an iconic image of MACV SOG. Over the years I've looked at many MACV SOG photos (unfortunately not many photos exist today) and I try to determine if a photo is Before a Mission or After a Mission. Just looking at the faces you can see a stunning difference. Before mission photos you can see an intensity and focus that is clearly visible in the faces. If I was going to be flown in by a chopper and dropped behind enemy lines knowing there were countless enemy troops waiting and trying their best to kill me I would be shaking or puking on the ground. There is also such a stunning change between Before and After Mission photos. After mission photos often show exhausted Recon Teams with celebratory cans of beer in hand and a look on the faces that can only be described as "Damn... I'm Lucky to Be Alive"

Tim we have all seen "The Handsome Devil" photo for many years now and it is Total "Bad Ass" - Bandana Headband, Camouflage Paint, M72 LAW portable rocket launcher, and extremely Focused Pre-Mission Face? I can also see Mike Mein (Thank you for the Identification) preparing a pack with what looks like Smoke Grenades?

Tim could you please walk us through that iconic MACV SOG photograph - what are we looking at, what gear are you carrying, and what is going to happen? Thank You!

Yesterday 08:02 PM
condor97 +1. Thanks Tim!

Sent from my SM-G975U1 using Tapatalk
Yesterday 08:00 PM
scubarob99 Now that's the kind of insight that's so incredibly informative. Thank you, Sir, for your service and for making this interesting thread even more so.

Yesterday 07:41 PM
schaaf11t For further clarification on that photo of "Anaconda".
Although the photo is apparently Vietnam, there are 4 Americans in the photo. There were usually 3 U.S. on a team and 4-7 indiginous team members. There are no indig in the photo, and there would never be 4 Americans together one after another.
The order in which a SOG team would normally move would have an indig running point, then another indig or the 1-0, then another indig, then 1-2 (radio man), then a couple more indig, then the 1-1 back with indig tail gunner in the rear.
That photo is more likely a team of LRRPs, because they do look like a recon team, they're wearing trimmed flop hats with the brims cut back, which was pretty common, and coming back from a patrol of some sort. I don't believe they are in a area where they expect the enemy contact, otherwise they wouldn't remain so exposed. The second man is the radio operator and is probably carrying a PRC-25 radio with a whip antenna in his rucksack.

Hope that helps
Yesterday 06:42 PM
schaaf11t Hello Kyle,
I don't know where you got that photo of recon team "Anaconda" but that's not it, and that's no SOG recon team. All of our teams carried Car-15's, and those are M-16's in the photo.
Also, Anaconda was my first team. I was assigned at FOB#4, DaNang in December 1967. I was the 1-2, a Spec4 radio operator. Charlie Wilcox was the 1-0 (team leader), Bob doherty was 1-1 (asst team leader). Our teams were called Spike Teams then. They changed the names to "Recon Teams" about halfway through 68. Still the same makeup, just changed the names. I don't know why, we all liked "Spike Team". Probably a name commander trying to impress his wife.
I never wore tiger strips on missions. They were neat looking, we had them, and sometimes I wore them at the club, but not enough pockets for the field.

Wilcox was killed in Feb 68, and Doherty quietly got reassigned. I was then assigned to Team Krait as a 1-1 with Kim Budrow as 1-0.
By the time I left in Feb 69, I had been on 5 teams: Anaconda, Krait, Alabama, and 2 no name Bru teams.
Take care, Tim
Yesterday 07:53 AM
bigbluekyle The Tiger Stripe Uniform was never officially adopted by the US Miliary and and has not been used by US Special Forces since the end of the Vietnam War nearly 45 Years ago.

In August 2019 Green Berets of the 5th Special Forces Group were photographed during a training exercise with the 101st Airborne Division wearing throwback Vietnam War Era Tiger Stripes with Teal Special Forces arrowhead insignia patch and tab and black-and-yellow Airborne and Ranger tabs on their sleeves.

“These uniforms were nonstandard in nature, which demonstrates the uniqueness of U.S. Army Special Forces and their mission,” said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, U.S. Army Special Operations Command spokesman.

Green Berets of 5th Special Forces Group wearing Vietnam War Era Tiger Stripe Pattern Uniforms during a joint exercise at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

5th Special Forces MACV SOG Recon Team Anaconda - Vietnam War

Yesterday 02:18 AM
Originally Posted by schaaf11t View Post
Maybe someone could tell me why the photos are sideways. Sorry about that.
My Seiko, as it appears today. When I got back from Nam I gave it to my brother, who kept in a box and never wore it. Then about 15 years ago he gave it back to me, for which I'm very grateful. It's been serviced and has a new crystal, but it's in great shape, especially for what it's been through. I still have the old crystal.
schaaf11t thanks for the photos, but could you actually take some from the side of the watch (from the side of 12, 3, 6, and 9 oclock haha). Seems like everyone taking from photos the fron or the back of the watch.
02-21-2020 10:09 AM
02-21-2020 01:34 AM
ramairthree Is thread just keeps on delivering.
Thank you to all contributing.

I wish I had kept my day/date version. But I just can’t seem to keep interested in watches without a dive bezel.

I would love a dial just like this with super Lume in, say, a new turtle.

I made something similar out of a 7s26 Seiko 5 and an SKX diver but the extra markings just made it too busy.

02-17-2020 12:11 PM
Seiko Shepherd Pictured today is my period correct SOG set up as worn in the field. Issued 6119-8100 from June ‘68 worn in tandem with a late ‘60s Waltham WCC wrist compass and strap, obtained from a USMC NCO.

To those who served, thank you, respectfully.

02-14-2020 12:00 PM
Seiko Shepherd
The Case of the Vietnam "SOG" Seiko - 6119-8100/6119-8101

This 7005-8030 from May 1969 arrived earlier this week. A lot of patience went in to acquiring it. As you all know, they’re rare for a number of reasons. Speculations include, the period of issue coincided with the drawing down of military operations and equipment in Vietnam. I now own all three of the “accepted” MACV-SOG references. A lot to take in. These watches are powerful. Some of the brave men who originally wore these watches paid the bill.


It’s the first word that comes to mind when I look at my wrist today.

02-03-2020 01:58 PM
Originally Posted by carsandcapp View Post
Hi Guys,

Happy belated 2020! Nothing new to report from me on the SOG watch front. Had a fun experience recently. Went to downtown Mooresville, NC. There is a coffee shop there that is also a Veteran's museum. Spent time chatting with a few vets and listened to some live bluegrass. Heard a pretty funny story from a Korean War vet about the night before a bunch of grunts shipped out from Ft. Smith AR. Had to make sure the wife couldn't hear him.

Hi Guys,

Just following up with a little more info on this post. See the attached image about Richard's Coffee Shop in Downtown Mooresville, NC. Great little spot with a museum up front and an old school coffee shop in the back. As I mentioned above, Saturday mornings is like an open mike event for local bluegrass performers. Not EXACTLY my cup of tea (musically speaking) but it was very cool to see some of the vets participating with their own instruments. So if you ever find yourself just North of Charlotte, NC you might want to drop in for a visit.
02-02-2020 02:44 PM
LongBike Aloha Sir,

Aloha from Honolulu, Hawaii and first of all .....
Thank You for your Service Sir and I Salute You for a well done.
I am Louis / LongBike on this Forum and I am a Vietnam Veteran also.
We served along with the ......
The Mekong River Patrol Forces TF-116 PBR Boats and also Those HAL-3
and Sea Wolves and 5' th Army in that area.
Your Service Time as a MACV-SOG Operator ... is very much appreciated by many that has
served in Vietnam. As for your operations that were done
while in Country and other .....
" You Sir and Your Fellow Patriots did a fantastic work there ".

As for what your description off being sent on missions to some of the worst environments one could be in you are exactly right. Those Jungles were actually a no mans land but yous accomplishments were made.
Being sent on operation in those Jungles were beyond descriptions to be in and I myself will agree
on that also.
Every corner of that Jungle was totally infested with .... V.C. and every where one went or turned they were there just waiting for action. Your description of weaponry was of very discrete and appreciated. Being in those
Jungles with tall those Monsoons , Disease's, Animals and deadly Snakes,
and all that was a very hard way to do things but many did accomplish.
You Sir have returned back to ....... Your Homeland with much Honor and your Uniform still carries much. Today many might still disagree but it was those that were there that still held ..... Freedom to still be kept.
Many of our Brothers gave all and many did not return home but till today we still ..... Honor and Uphold them.
I Sir am thankful for your participation and giving of just what did go on back in that day so many
will actually know just what went on and not from hearsay alone.
Aloha and Thank you again Sir and I still Honor you with a well done as a ... MACV-SOG Veteran.
Louis / Longbike
02-02-2020 04:24 AM
schaaf11t Kyle,
You've hit upon an issue very few ask about. Most want to hear about the shoot-em-up Rambo stuff. But a very difficult aspect of the missions were psychological. Just getting on the damn chopper, to be flown into a different country with no friendly troops that could come to your aide, with only 6-7 others, into some of the most primative jungles in the world and the NVA waiting for you, was something we all had to overcome.

That's probably one reason why SOG was made up of volunteers. Most were assigned by order but you could quit anytime, at least the recon teams. Many did quit and they suffered no shame whatsoever.

What you should also understand is that because of U.S. bombing in Laos, the NVA didn't centralize their troops. They spread them out, and usually had many different bivouac areas. Sometimes if you made contact with one group, you tried to brake contact and ended up running into another bunch of NVA.

I'll try to put together a brief story of an actual mission. I'm writing a book so I'll condense a portion of a chapter and put something together. I'm visiting my daughters this weekend so it may take a fews days.

Take care,
02-02-2020 01:13 AM
Originally Posted by schaaf11t View Post
carsandcapp- Thankyou for the well worded explanation. It's apparent to me now that I shared too much in an effort to give context to the watch, etc.
The only reason that I'm following up on this now is that I'd rather not have a group of folks left wondering whether or not I'm a fraud. So I'll address both of the questions you mentioned in your post.
1) Here you go, my VA ID, w/o my ID number. Hopfully, I haven't violated any federal states by posting it.
2) Re the photos. There are 2, one with the 4 of us at Khe Sahn(Dennis Chericone is the shirtless one who looks like he's ready to throw up) and the one with 3 of us.
I don't believe either of them have been published anywhere in the past. If they have,
I'd like to know about it. The others are all my personal photos that I shared with Jason Hardy for his books.

What I've also come to understand is that the value of my watch, even in context, is very difficult to determine. And, at the end of the day I'd never sell it. It goes to my daughter when I'm gone.

You fellows take care, this is an excellent forum.
Tim, thanks for your thoughtful and patient reply. It is appreciated. And more importantly, thank you for your service to this great country and the sacrifices you and you brothers made in support of it. We truly appreciate it.

That photo of the 4 you in Khe San is an amazing photo. I showed it to my wife and we spent 10 minutes talking about all of your faces and speculating about what you were thinking when it was taken. Mr. Chericone's face in particular made an impression on us. His expression is somehow both inviting and haunting at the same time. My wife just wanted to give him a hug. And you have aged amazingly well. Congrats on keeping your hair and staying fit.

I too have about 1000 questions for you, but I'll let others have their chance. You've already answered some questions from me today. Thanks again and I really hope you choose to stay around here for awhile.

One more thing, about your watch. I agree with Adrian. With everything you've shared and with all the documentation that you (and eventually your daughter) have, your 6119-8100 will likely become the standard (in terms of authenticity) by which all other MACV SOG watches will now be judged. I suggest that those of us here refer to it as the "Schaaf Scale" from this point forward. And your watch sir, is a 100/100.

Have a great night Tim.
02-02-2020 12:41 AM
bigbluekyle Thanks Tim,

I know that there are many who would like to know more about the Infil and Exfil of your MACV SOG Missions. I simply cannot even begin to imagine what it was like inserting from a Helicopter into a Jungle full of hostile enemy NVA. Perhaps you could tell us what that was like. In general or even a specific mission. You have a captive audience here Sir! Thanks again!

02-02-2020 12:37 AM
schaaf11t Kyle,

Just make a list of questions about the watches, or SOG in general. I'll try to answer them if I can.

02-01-2020 11:54 PM
bigbluekyle Tim,

I have so many questions I do not know where to begin but I also want to be respectful and not monopolize your time. I know that there are other members who have their own questions that they would like to ask. It is truly a great honor and a very special privilege having you here on the Forum and discussing your Vietnam experience in our SOG Thread! Thank You!

02-01-2020 11:32 PM
Originally Posted by schaaf11t View Post
Kyle- All of the watches at the time I was issued mine came with a green colored nylon type band, with a standard buckle, meaning the strap had holes for the buckle.
I never saw any recon man go into the field with a metal watch band, ever. Everything that reflected light or made noise was an obvious no no.
Thank You Sir!
02-01-2020 11:31 PM
schaaf11t Kyle- All of the watches at the time I was issued mine came with a green colored nylon type band, with a standard buckle, meaning the strap had holes for the buckle.
I never saw any recon man go into the field with a metal watch band, ever. Everything that reflected light or made noise was an obvious no no.
02-01-2020 10:44 PM
Originally Posted by schaaf11t View Post
Kyle- Honestly, no need to apologize, I understand.

You take care my friend,


Thank You for your patience and understanding. I've spoken to a number of regulars on the forum and we are still shocked about you being here - it is truly a pleasure hearing about your experience in Vietnam.

Tim - could you please let us know if you remember what straps or bracelets were on the Seiko SOG watches when they were issued to you at FOB#4. Thank You Sir!

02-01-2020 10:12 PM
schaaf11t Kyle- Honestly, no need to apologize, I understand.

You take care my friend,
02-01-2020 07:23 PM
Originally Posted by schaaf11t View Post
Adrian, thanks for your post. And I agree with you about "proof of provenance", and I do have many pieces of memoribilia; plaques, photos, letters, military awards (Silver Star, 3 Bronz Stars w/V, Purple Heart, CIB, Presendential Unit Citation), etc. I was also on the board of directors of the Special Operations Association.

Our group of SOG recon guys was very small, About 50% of us were killed in 68, not casualties, but killed. Now, most of us either know each other or are familiar with each others names. And our little group is getting smaller every year. I lost 4 great friends in the last year. John Smith, in the photo w/3 of us, past away just last month. He was one of my best friends. A great man. I don't have an exact number but there may not be 50 SOG recon guys left, certainly less than 100.
In retrospect I was a little naive to think I would be believed immediately when I came on here.

In answering your question, I was issued my watch(6119-8100) Jan-Feb 1968 at FOB#4, Da Nang. It was a brand new FOB and all of the Recon guys (maybe 30-40), were issued a couple of items.
Black pullover windbreakers, etc., along with the watches. But none of those bitchen knives(Randalls). I ended up carrying a baby ka-bar, the navy survival knife. It was still too big, the smaller the better.I think the officers kept the Randall knives, if there were any to be had. Also, you asked about patches? During my time (I came home
feb 69), we did not have patches. Those started being developed by the teams themselves after I left.

I assume the batch of watches we were issued at that time were all 6119-8100, but I'm sure, none of us were concerned about the serial numbers on the back. They were good watches, and maybe the first watch I had ever worn. I don't recall for sure but many of us had just recently gotten out of Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, and SOG was our first assignment, believe it or not. We had to learn and adjust quickly, or quite frankly, die quickly.
We had the highest casualty rates in the war, but we killed a lot of NVA.
Anyway, All of the other FOB's were ongoing by the time I got to VN in Dec67. So, I'm not familiar with who got what at any other FOB.
The only thing I can say with certainty is that only the recon guys were actually issued the
watches at FOB'#4, at that time. And that I believe they were all 6119-8100's.
As to other watches issued at different times at other FOB's, I have no info.
If you look at the photo of myself and the 3 others at KHE Sahn, none of them had the watch because none of them were on recon teams. They were all Special Forces medics.
Hope that helps.
Thanks Adrian
Thanks Tim, much appreciated. Here is some information for you on the origins of your watch if you are interested:

Thanks again for your posts here.

Sent from my SM-G975U1 using Tapatalk
02-01-2020 06:59 PM
bigbluekyle Although I have never served I have Enormous Respect for the US Military and anyone who has served their country. Both of my parents were US Navy and I lived in a neighborhood just outside Washinton DC where most of the families were either US Navy or US Coast Guard. Later I went to a University in Virginia and spent a summer in Virgina Beach where I met countless guys bragging about being US Navy Seals. They were fakes and they disgusted me. My Parents did not raise me to Be No Fool!

I sincerely apologize as I have been harsh and unwelcoming. It is my nature to question anything or anyone who is unproven and untested and I certainly hope that you were not offended. I also appreciate you going through all the extra effort to ensure that your words are truly those of a MACV SOG Veteran.

We are thrilled and honored to have you here. Thank you Sir for your sacrifice, your bravery, and the example you have set for all of us.

Welcome to the Forum Tim!

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