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Across The Fence (English Edition) von [Meyer, John Stryker]
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Across The Fence (English Edition) Kindle Edition

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For eight years, far beyond the battlefields of Vietnam and the glare of media distortions, American Green Berets fought a deadly secret war in Laos and Cambodia under the aegis of the top secret Military Assistance Command Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group, or SOG.

Go deep into the jungle with five SOG warriors surrounded by 10,000 enemy troops as they stack up the dead to build a human buttress for protection. Witness a Green Beret, shot in the back four times and left for dead, who survives to fight savagely against incredible odds to complete his missions.

Shudder as an enemy soldier touches a Green Beret’s boot in the dark of night. Cringe as a Sergeant on SOG Spike Team Louisiana calls in an air strike on his team to break an enemy’s wave attack. A team member dies instantly, and a Green Beret has an out-of-body experience as he watches his leg get blown off.

“As the commander of SOG, I can say that “Across the Fence” accurately reflects why the secret war was hazardous for our troops and so deadly for the enemy.
– Major General John K. Singlaub (U. S. Army Ret.)

Black Ops told with the terrifying clarity that only one who was there can tell it.
– W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1458 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 246 Seiten
  • Verlag: SOG Publishing (21. April 2011)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen 1 Kundenrezension
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #317.668 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I can't begin to understand how the Vietnam war fought. And this will not get you any closer. This book is about another conflict entirely. Just, wow.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) HASH(0x8a7d1318) von 5 Sternen 178 Rezensionen
82 von 85 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8a7ada44) von 5 Sternen Elite Soldier - Elite Unit - Great Friend 14. September 2005
Von Ray Calafell - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Anyone interested in the Vietnam War in general, and the secret war in particular, will appreciate this well-written narrative of a SOG warrior's first tour of duty at FOB 1, the Phu Bai launch site for what would eventually be known as CCN. The author, whose nickname "Tilt" comes from his days as a youngster playing pinball machines in Trenton, New Jersey, is an educated, skilled writer who has taken what others might recite as cold facts and woven a taut, suspenseful series of episodes from one of the deadliest years in the history of the Studies and Observation Group. The history of this war will not be told by one book, but Tilt has added an important piece to what one day will be a total picture of the Second Indochina War.

The book opens with Tilt's arrival in country and his journey to Phu Bai, where he lands just in time to witness the disappearance of Spike Team Idaho into the maws of the North Vietnamese Army in Laos. As he checks in, gets his gear, and becomes familiar with the small camp, the tension builds as continued silence from the field signals the worst possible fate for the veterans on ST Idaho. The gravity of the situation, both for the missing team and for the Bright Light team that is given the duty to go back in to see what happened, is palpable. The events which follow and the inescapable conclusion reached by the team leader of the Bright Light leave no doubt in the mind of the young Green Beret that he has joined a dangerous outfit - just as the folks back at Training Group warned him. Regardless of his realization, the fact that he confronts his mortality and chooses to go on is testament to his courage, a courage which will be needed in spades as he begins his seasoning in earnest.

As he undertakes his first missions, and as close calls get closer and closer, Tilt witnesses (and the reader experiences with him) men under stress who react in expected, and quietly respected, ways. It is no shame for a recon man to pull himself off a team after a particularly dangerous mission where the reaper's scythe has missed him by centimeters. A couple of examples of extraordinary courage under fire by team members followed by their decision to leave the team humanize the stories, since the reader must wonder, "What would I do under similar circumstances?" It is this aspect of the book which gives it a richness which is often lacking in war memoirs. In one particularly chilling example (especially for anyone who ever rode out on a "string") involves Tilt's extrication from a hot insertion point in which he is forced to use a Swiss seat. Because of the stress of the situation, he fails to secure his second D ring and as soon as the helicopter takes off, Tilt begins to . . . well . . . tilt. Not humorous at all to be dangling upside down from 4,000 feet as your Swiss seat begins to make its way off your waist, down your hips, down your knees . . . . My hands were dripping with sweat as he related this event.

Although the majority of his missions were into the Prairie Fire AO, his team volunteers to go south for a few missions into the Daniel Boone AO as a result of a special request from Saigon. Those of us who served in the mountains of I Corps always thought the guys who served in the lowlands had it easy -no lung-bursting humps up the mountains. Well, Tilt and his guys had the same idea, until they realized that flat also meant not much cover or concealment. Lucky for them that the Green Hornets of the U.S. Air Force 20th Special Operations Squadron were always nearby, since these flatland missions were literally "hit and run."

One aspect of the book which the reader will come to appreciate is Tilt's honest respect and admiration for the Vietnamese members of his team and for the courageous Vietnamese pilots of the 219th Special Operations Squadron, RVNAF, who time after time came into hot LZ's to pull RT Idaho out of death's grip. These old Kingbees with their outdated Browning .30 caliber machine guns hanging out the side were often the only reason teams made it out of Laos. To characterize the pilots who flew these missions as "cool under fire" is an understatement. A funny anecdote with a Marine corps "Scarface" pilot underscores the danger all of these pilots faced when picking up a recon team from Laos: the officer complains to Tilt that every time his helicopter picks up a team, it gets all shot up. Not that he minds picking them up, just that it takes him off the flight line while getting repairs!

This book belongs in the library of any serious student of the war. It gives added depth and understanding to the mission of SOG, and more importantly, of the men who were charged with this thankless mission. It may have taken over thirty years for these stories to come out, but what is important is that they are coming out and being recorded so that the protected will begin to know and more importantly, never forget.
54 von 56 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8a7ad7c8) von 5 Sternen One of the finest war memoirs ever written 26. Mai 2011
Von Jack Murphy - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
"Across The Fence" by John Stryker Meyer is one of the very few memoirs written by and about the highly classified Studies and Observations Group or SOG. Running cross border operations during the Vietnam war, small teams of Special Forces soldiers partnered with indigenous team members launched missions into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. These missions were so secret that it wasn't until the 1990's that information started to become available about this unit. To this day, details are somewhat hard to come by, only three or so former SOG members having written about their time running recon in one of the most dangerous assignments of the war.

As a former Ranger (3/75) and Greet Beret (5th SFG) myself I have a few patrols under my belt in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I can tell you that reading this book made me feel like a pansy. I don't have anything on my predecessors, especially those who served on SOG conducting missions deep behind enemy lines, often outnumbered ten to one (on a good day).

"Across The Fence" recounts the authors personal journey through SOG, but also tells the stories of many of his fellow soldiers and comrades to include the South Vietnamese and American pilots who daringly flew into hostile fire again and again to extract Meyer's team.

Eventually Meyer attains the coveted position of One-Zero, the Team Leader on SOG Recon Team Idaho. Although initially uncertain if he is ready for such a promotion he quickly adapts, leading his men through the exceedingly dangerous and extraordinary absurd, two characteristics that came to characterize the Vietnam War as a whole in my opinion. Meyer also has the unique experience of having led patrols into both Laos (his primary AO) and Cambodia, giving the reader a sense of how those two areas differed from each other. He also leads a patrol into the tri-border region that legendary SOG operator "Mad Dog" Shriver remarks to the author that no one had returned from alive in months!

You will also read about poor Lynn Black, who I think must have done something bad in a past life to have had drawn a short straw and literally got the patrol from hell. It seems like everything that could have gone wrong did. Black's team had to stack dead NVA like chord wood as things continued to deteriorate, all while screaming at a fellow team mate to stop praying to God and fire back at the enemy!

There is plenty in here for the gear heads as well. The author gives extensive detail on the types of weapons and equipment that SOG teams carried, including highly specialized and advanced kit designed specifically for SOG teams by CIA technicians.

To date, I feel that this is the best book written about this secretive unit. The author tells it like it is and like it was, not sparing himself in the process. The book itself is well written and hard to put down. I also appreciated the fact that it was specially formatted for the Amazon Kindle, making this book a must have for those interested in the military. The Kindle edition also includes pictures provided by the author and his friends and although Kindle doesn't do pictures all that great it is good that they are in there and give the reader some insight into visualizing the people and places. I would still like to have a hard copy for my collection but at 3.29 this is a no-brainer.

Jack Murphy
Author of "Reflexive Fire"
22 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8a7ad5d0) von 5 Sternen "This ain't no Bull S_ it" used to be the phrase... 19. Mai 2011
Von Cork - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Back when someone started to tell a war story we'd most often begin with "This ain't no Bull S_it!" but more often than not it was.

Not this time. John Meyer does a great job of laying it out like it truly was, blemishes and all. The stories take you back to where your heart begins to race just a bit and you notice perspiration beginning to form on your face. If you never ran Special Ops but wanted to know what it was like this is the book that will take you there.

In the mid '60s through early '70's America's "Secret War" in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam was waged by small teams of just 2 or 3 Americans and up to 5 Indigenous troops; sometimes South Vietnamese, sometimes Montagnards and sometimes Chinese Brue, but always very capable, loyal and fierce warriors who knew how to operate in the jungles with stealth and outstanding bravery as well as Platoon size teams - called "Hatchet Forces". John Meyer tells the stories of several teams from MACVSOG FOB 2/CCN (Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group - originally Special Operations Group but changed to be more PC, Forward Operating Base/Command and Control North). The stories are as real as they can be including the fear, frustration, sadness and humor.

Over the years there have been many so-called first hand renditions but most are full of hype, bravado and on-occasion pure fantasy. This is the true exception. No one is made out to be more than he was and no one is depicted as the hero. Yet uncommon valor, heroism and bravery come out all the same. Reading Across the Fence makes you proud of our US Army Special Forces Warriors and all the others who supported them including the most brave of all, the King Bee pilots of the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam. If you ever doubted the bravery and dedication of the South Vietnamese to their own cause this book will tell the "rest of the story".

Highly recommended for all war story advocates, history buffs and especially for those going through the US Army Special Forces Q-Course and Navy SEAL Buds Course as well as anyone in Special Ops or thinking of volunteering for Special Operations. The lessons learned from this book are something even the best of the military training can't provide.

"Across the Fence" is of the same caliber as Phillip Caputo's A Rumor of War! And if you like this book you'll absolutely love "On the Ground" also by John "Tilt" Meyer.

CB "Cork" Motsett
Head Frog
Vietnam 1068, '69 '70
MACVSOG CCC, 5th SFGA, IV Corps Mike Force
11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8a7adb70) von 5 Sternen Nice to see this for the Kindle 24. Juni 2011
Von DickStanley. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
Despite the title, it's actually more about fighting in Laos and Cambodia than about Vietnam. It's a quick read. Also an intense one. Meyer's combat narratives are spare and to the point, without a lot of moralizing, agonizing, or whatever. If the hair doesn't stand up on the back of your neck, you might want to check your pulse.

Like most Vietnam combat veterans I had heard of MACV SOG, Meyer's secret SF unit, but wasn't really aware of what they did (other than recon), or how or why. His book still leaves me wondering what the value of it was, other than helping fighter-bombers and gunships find large concentrations of the North Vietnamese Army to destroy in the Laos and Cambodian sanctuaries. Maybe that was reason enough. Their death's head insignia, which I saw years after the war in an order of battle, was off-putting. It reminded me of the Nazi SS. But they certainly brought plenty of death to the enemy, rather than the civilians the SS specialized in killing.

One still wonders about the usefulness of it all. Many of the missions Meyer describes went bad almost immediately, as the "spike" teams (not "strike" teams, as some writers mistakenly term it) were unwittingly inserted into concentrations of the enemy, making recon impossible. Yet when it worked, it worked well. Meyer describes tapping into NVA telephone lines along the Ho Chi Minh Trail--in some spots up to four lanes wide--and recording the conversations for later analysis.

They took a lot of photographs of camps and equipment, even once overheard a Russian speaker on an enemy radio frequency. They often tried to capture enemy soldiers for interrogation, but apparently never succeeded at that. The parts about Meyer having to defend the Vietnamese members of his teams from ill-treatment by ignorant American Marines and soldiers reminds me of similar problems when I was a MACV adviser to South Vietnamese militia. The Marines in our AO were always shooting us up, once even with an Ontos-mounted recoiless rifle.

All-in-all, a fierce read and a welcome tale by someone who respected the Vietnamese rather than merely tolerated them.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8a7ad0fc) von 5 Sternen This book must be read in one sitting! Gut-wrenching! 5. September 2008
Von Bernie Weisz - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
In searching for this book, I wondered if the "take-away" was in effect. Being a salesman myself, I know the effectiveness of using this technique to get someone to reach deep in their pockets to pay for a service or product that most people will immediately brush off as way too expensive. The "take-away" is a situation where you have an item of limited quantity or high price for sale and it's very rare, hard to get, it's creator is deceased, and it's not in production or defunct, etc. Finding the existence of John Stryker's book "Across The Fence," I was desperate to read it. I tried all local libraries. No result. I tried national libraries through "interlibrary loan" as well as buying it through the Internet. The least expensive copy was over $100. Was the "take-away" in effect? Was it "that good" that it was worth $100? Then I read on the Internet that Mr. Meyer wrote a sequel called "On The Ground."

The results to obtain this book was worse. No library nor Internet seller carried it, and I wanted to read this bad! I had read John Plaster's book "SOG, and Frank Greco's "Running Recon." The results to obtain this was worse, with no library nor Internet seller carried this. I had also devoured Sedgewick Tourison's book "Secret Army, Secret War", William Shawcross's comprehensive "Sideshow" and finally Joe Parner's thrilling "SOG Medic-Stories from Vietnam and Over the Fence." Reading more on the Internet, I came by the fact that John Meyer is currently an editor for the "North County Times" in Oceanside, Ca., where he writes occasional columns. First I tried to contact the publisher of his two books, "Real War Stories", only to find that they are defunct. Then, I called information in California and asked for the North County Times. Calling the newspaper, I asked with trepidation for Mr. Meyer. After a minute, a friendly voice came on the phone and said "can I help you?" Needless to say, after a very amicable conversation, financial arrangements were made, a check was sent, and lo and behold, I was the proud owner of both of Mr. Stryker's treasured books!

You can read the other reviews to find out "a taste of this book," but I will add that Mr. Meyer's first book should be read with a 3-4 hour time block reserved. I planned on reading only a few paragraphs before I went to sleep, but the last page was finished as the sun was coming up several hours later! I was very shocked to read Mr. Meyer's mention in his introduction of David A. Maurer's book "The Dying Place'" put out by Dell Publishing in 1986. I read that book that year and still own it. I do remember that when I read Mr. Maurer's book I reflected that he had a tremendous imagination and truly his writings were pure fiction and could have never happened. That book, very close to Meyer's, is about the Army who choose 2 Green Beret officers who had total disregard for their personal safety and total hatred for any "rules of engagement." These two are paired up with a team of South Vietnamese and Chinese mercenaries who on a Studies and Observation Group mission get dropped from the belly of a Huey chopper loaded to the teeth with C4 explosives and Claymore mines into the NVA's supposedly untouchable stronghold in the Highlands of Laos with one mission in mind; kill as much of the enemy as you can!

I was shocked to read the parallels between the two books and now know that many of Mauer's anecdotes in his book are more than just "stories." During the Vietnam War, only people in the inner circles of the military knew of SOG operations, and as Mr. Meyer points out, it was on a "need to know" basis. Meyer's job as a member of SOG was to go into "hot areas" that supposedly our military was barred from entering under the "rules of engagement," and those areas is exactly what "Across The Fence" means, i.e. going into areas that are prohibited. This includes running reconnaissance missions across the border of South Vietnam into the North Vietnamese Army's sanctuaries in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. This was, undoubtedly, the absolute most dangerous job during the war as well as the most secretive. Interestingly, this book almost never came into existence, as Meyer writes; "The thought never occurred to me to write about my time in South Vietnam and across the fence, especially since I had signed a government document in 1968 pledging to never write or talk publicly about SOG for 20 years." Another impediment to the publication of this book was the anti-Vietnam climate at the time particularly after the killings of Kennedy, M.L. King, the My Lai Massacre, Watergate, the issues of amnesty to draft-dodgers, heroin addicted ex-G.I's and the "Agent Orange" disasters.

As Mr. Meyer put it; "The anti-Vietnam Veteran sentiment in this country at the time made it difficult to find a publisher who would buy the concept of a Vietnam book that dealt with real people striving against unbelievable odds in a politically handicapped war." What makes the stories contained in this book truly incredible is that Mr. Meyer was part of a "Hatchet Force" code-named "spike teams." These were somewhere between 6 to 12 man reconnaissance teams secretly inserted via helicopter "across the fence" deep into Laos, Cambodia or North Vietnam to monitor, interdict and kill superior NVA forces along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Meyer relates that all men in SOG were prohibited from carrying any tags, photos, diaries or love letters of any form. All SOG "spike team" uniforms were generic, devoid of insignia, nametags or designations whatsoever. The reason for this was because the U.S. Government publicly proclaimed that they respected Laotian and Cambodian neutrality with no Americans stationed in Laos, Cambodia, or North Vietnam, which was technically accurate. The U.S. Government had "plausible deniability" if we were captured or killed" and if captured, we were to speak a foreign language." Finally, once "across the border," a SOG member was on his own and there was no conventional military units for support. And because these troops were so far west of South Vietnam, if enemy contact was made that called for an immediate extraction, it would take friendly helicopter units more than an hour to effectuate a rescue!

John Meyers wrote; "There would be no traditional support from (U.S.)Army and Marine Units. Once engaged with the N.V.A., the Pathet Lao (Communist Laotian Guerrillas) or the Khmer Rouge (Communist Cambodian Guerrillas), conventional (U.S.) forces would be prohibited from coming to our aid. There would be no tank support, no armored personnel carriers. Only C & C assets (SOG's field headquarters in Da Nang, South Vietnam) would be allowed to cross the border. Again, the reconnaissance teams would be so deep into enemy territory that the only way help could arrive would be via aircraft, mostly helicopters." Meyer's individual stories of operations long ago will keep you sweating with anticipation. In my phone conversation with the author, Mr. Meyer agreed that he is lucky he survived unscathed hanging from a speeding helicopter over an extraction site from Laos (read "Upside Down Over Laos"). Equally titillating is Mr. Meyer's tearful phone reunion with an ex N.V.A. officer that Mr. Meyer's shot 3 times during a heated battle. All was forgiven in a unique camaraderie only one there could comprehend.

Finally there was the story of how SOG members keep, rather than being captured, the "last bullet" (that is the actual name of the chapter) for themselves rather then submit to communist capture. There is also the story of when a SOG team was surrounded by charging NVA troops, U.S. air strikes involving the dropping of "Napalm" (jellied gasoline) on NVA troops would stop the enemy dead in it's tracks. However, when being faced with a dousing of napalm, the NVA troops would charge the surrounded American strike team to get as close to the team members as possible to avoid getting burnt by Air Force ordinance. Mr. Meyer's also uncovers the unique cooperation and bravery of cooperating elite South Vietnamese SOG troops and pilots. After reading Tom Marshall's book "The Price of Exit" and his description of cowardice among retreating ARVN troops swarming his helicopter for extraction during operation "Lam Son 719" (Marshall asserts that so many ARVN elite troops dropped their weapons and refused to fight the NVA that when he went to evacuate them in Laos he had to "grease his helicopter skids" to prevent hordes of fleeing Arvn troops overwhelming his Huey). Mr. Meyer's book reveals that this was not the norm and there were in fact extremely tough and brave allies among the South Vietnamese we were supporting. If you are a student of the Vietnam War or a historian of that era of American History, this is a book you simply cannot be without. The only tragedy here is that this book is not in every high school library and mandatory reading for any American History collegiate course! Find this book!
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