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RT Montana: Life Around Camp 1970
RT Idaho: 1971
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RT Wyoming BDA Mission 1971
MACV-SOG HALO Teams 1970 -1971

RT Montana 1969
RT Viper One-Zero 1971
RT West Virginia One-One 1971
RT Maine 1970
RT Iowa 1969 - The Golfcourse

MACV-SOG Equipment:

Individual Equipment
Team Equipment
Personal Gear
Original MACV-SOG Gear

Australian SASR
Seal Team 1

SOG Veteran: Jim Hruska: MACV-SOG 1970-71

An interview with SOG veteran Jim Hruska, who worked on the SOG HALO programme

In the Continental palace. Saigon 1970


Our latest interview is with SOG veteran Jim Hruska, with input from Lowell Jurgins. The focus is around the HALO teams running during the late 60s/early 70s. Jim has a website that can be found here;

Modern Forces: Can you describe your military service, when did you join, what units etc?
Jim Hruska:
I was a ROTC regular army infantry type, college educated.EAD 9jun68. I volunteered for SF tdy enroute to rvn. In our training they WOULD NOT TELL US ANYTHING about SOG.NADA.I arr in country 12 Apr 70 and was almost kidnapped by the 1st Cav but my orders specified 5th Grp since i volunteered. At grp. Maj. Lane the Grp s1 sent me to b53 with the final words-get the fuck outta my office b/c i objected to going to SOG b/c i had no ideaa of what they were doing.It was so secret that they burned their messages before they read them and walked backwards to cover their trail. I think i was sent to b53 b/c i was a 11c experienced and had a Ranger tab, but i have no idea why i was sent there.

Whatever the reason it was to my benfit since it took me to a training camp with a relatively safe environment. My dd214 is posted on Rnger against war. I was Regular Army whereas most CPT's in Sog/SF were Reserve officers. Back then this was a big distinction. The reg. army frowned on our service with SF. After the war most of us were rif'd. The Army didn't like us back then , but now every asshole in the world wasants to be SF due to the 4 star billets.
I left Ad in sep 75 and served out my career in the reserves. I last wore a uniforn around 1990 and retired at age 60 in 2006. I had transferred branches to SF in the middle 80's.

Modern Forces: How did you end up with SOG?
Jim Hruska:
 I ended up in sog by total fluke and wanted an A camp or Mike force. I got B53 instead. I'm seriously considering writing about this stuff as a oral history. As a young , inexperieced LT sog was a very bad place to grow up since most of the nco's had been there forever. Sog was the template for todays SOF since direct action was the misn. Now everything seems to be DA and all other SF misn's are 2ndary.

"the guy hanging from the strings /under helo MIGHT BE Craig Schmidt sp/5. 1970/clt.
taken during vietnamization training"

Modern Forces: Can you remember any other specifics about the HALO equipment in regards to personal equipment and LBE?
Jim Hruska:
I'm thinking of writing about boots. Our discussion got me to thinking. I served in the 3rd Rgr co in 71/72 and we used issue laces and played straight Army. Inj sf we wore para cord and excessive running ends, for expedient use if needed. Just our use of boots displayed our different philosophies.

Jim's boots, with his Dog Tags. Jack Ewing Collection

Jim's boots, note the para cord as laces. Jack Ewing Collection

I never saw a lowering line like you showed.(put link here) This seems to be Air force issue?? I couldn't imagine army issuing WHITE corded items. I never saw/issued these at clt, but hell , who knows where they came from since sf guys are such expert thieves and scroungers. I 'm describing myself in that cmt. We were taught to use our reserves for lowering lines.

In fact the only lowering lines i ever saw were made by our riggers and we called them monkey strings and i think they were also used to tie jumpers together. This was a hair brained idea of Maj. Passalaigue who imho was one card short of a deck. These were not Army approved by the Airborne Board at Bragg.

Modern Forces: Can you remember what head gear the teams wore for the jumps, the bunny helmet or the hard shell helmet?

Jim Hruska:THE HALO guys never wore steel pots to my knowledge.I have pics of the white plastic football type helmets that we wore. If i was jumping w. the VN i wore a steel pot, but if it was just Amies i wore the white helmets. I habitually was the safety briefing officer/ MACO and have pics of a briefing. The SOG types from downtown saigon came to clt for their pay jumps. 

Modern Forces: At Modern Forces we are very interested in HALO operations, you had some comments about our article on the subject.
Jim Hruska:
I was at CLT APR 70 -mar 71, and supervised Geronimo Valenvuela and Sp/4 Silva in the rigger section.
When Shungle came aboard all went opcon to the project. I knew Newman/Manes/Waugh, but not as friends. Norbury was the person that i dealt with. We became life long friends. Our camp cdr LTC Dechert is still alive and in Layfayette La.

Modern Forces: How did you help in sourcing the equipment and can you explain how any standard equipment was customised for use in the HALO drops?
Jim Hruska:
I provided Pioneer special order jump suits b/c we needed a lot of zippers as we worked in the sun and kept stipped down until shute up. The pioneer suits precluded the need to take off the boots. In addition ii got special order(CISO?)PIONEER COMO HIGH VELOCITY CHUTES.We had at least 30 to my recollection. Many of these found their way home to conus in guys kit bags. Aussie leather boots were also highly sought after.

As to the t10- we didn't fuck them up b/c they came from Nha Trang/Grp and were on the property books. The 28 ft flat circulars were scrounged from the Air Force and were reseve type chutes. We actually modified them with soldering irons. We also used double L's. We used these on static line also.

Lowell Jergins: We started with blank gores from Pioneer. They had deery (Slots) upper on the gore for turning. Somebody next modified a B-12 by making a T with lines on edges for turning. For more lateral movement the T was changed to a pair of blank gores with 5 panel separation bottoms were taken away causing a U effect also outside bottom of 'L' taken so became a "TU" 5 gore "TU" others modified with 7 panel separaion-thus 7 gore "TU". Later than a straight cut between panels pioneer raised the cut in center calling it an eliptical thereby giving more forward speed. These were later replaced by the PC--paracommanders.I had several 7 gore TU's and sold to civilians in Atlanta and Minn. Frank and Kapelka had a deal with AF and sold me b-12's.

Jim Hruska: If these came from the Air fORCE THEY WERE EXCESS RESERVE CHUTES.
Lowell Jergins: When packing the canopy was encased in a cotton made sleeve length of canopy. Frank Norbury came up with deployment bag-similar to t-10- Cheaper, less fabric and easier to close backpack. Also when in RVN (Lon Tan ?) came up with lights on backpack to assist assembly during freefall and also on canopy after opening to aid assembly once landed.

Modern Forces: Is the Pioneer Jump Suit like the one listed on our site
Jim Hruska:
The Pioneers were OD and not camo. I might be wrong but they were used with B12 back packs or a very similar set up. I'd stick with b12's b/c we had those out the wazoo.The chutes came straight from Pioneer on a direct purchase thru my office and the jumpsuits came thru House 50 on normal requisition. Norbury was my direct contact on our camp side. If i remember correctly the pioneer factory was in Pennsylvania.

"Pop is the old guy by the jeep. he was Catholic and Northern VN who escaped to the south. He was tortured so bad that he didn't have a voice, from screaming out his vocal cords. He worked for me and i took care of him while at clt. that was Pop's"

Modern Forces: Do you have any other comments on the photos on our site?
Jim Hruska:
The chutes in your pics seem to ride way too low from my memory. BTW- in your photos your boot laces are not tied in a miltiary manner, and one NEVER SAW such a thing in 1970 CLT. We used para cord for our laces/ not gi issue laces. Picky picky. This is just a small point, but it's important (Modern Forces note: we will address this point).

Modern Forces: Do you have any pictures of the equipment described?
Jim Hruska:
I have no pics b/c this stuff was all very classified.

" the vn officer with SFC Valenvuela was Dai uy Phu, vn s4"

Modern Forces: Do you have any information on the teams training for the HALO jumps?
Jim Hruska:
All the jumpers came from the 1st SF G on Okie, as Snake Bite Teams. They were really tdy and not assigned. I wasn't S1 but i'd guess they were attached for a period of 179 days to preclude a PCS move and to keep things below the radar. Remember my memory is oral and not researched history, but a lot of these guys were my daily contacts. I didn't go to Halo School b/c i crushed my testical in a Stabo accident and was operated on in the 24th evac therefore i didn't chute up for a while, and i definitely couldn't take a halo opening shock.

Modern Forces: Would you know of any other sources for information on SOG HALO mission or equipment?
Jim Hruska:
I do not join fraternal orgs, but the Decade Assoc. for SF would be a good place to place a request for contact.
For all the players that i mentioned. I'd also try to find OD, a ret'd WO named O'Donnell who used to hang out at the Bragg Parachute Club. He might be dead b/c he lived real hard. He knew all the players and was at macsog house 50 and was my contact for all things like ciso items.

"CPT Adamietz was S2 section. Came from Okie 1st grp. The skin book was a training manual"

"the clean cut young navy guy w/o bloused trousers was from SOG and was a navy o4 in SOG OP 40. His name is unknown, but he was vital to my supply efforts. Note the spray paint on the cement where somebody painted snap links black"

"the old VN guy with hat on bike is a random shot taken from a jeep seat"

"MSG Douglas was a old soldier. He retired out of clt.i believe he as WW2 vet. S1 section"

"SP/4 silva in the swiss seat was the rigger. he's wearing a clt unit patch on his left pocket"

"the camp pic used was Bearcat/70"

"The pic with John Mc Kee was taken on 1 May 70. He went to Cambodia the next day.
he was b/2/47/9 id.Bearcat. we served together in 8th id/usaeur. John was a PL in the cambode incursion"

Jack Ewing Collection

Jack Ewing Collection

Jack Ewing Collection

Jack Ewing Collection

Jack Ewing Collection

Jack Ewing Collection

Jack Ewing Collection