In 1966, John “Tilt” Meyer enlisted in the US Army and promptly violated a well-known adage to never volunteer for anything. He volunteered for Special Forces training. After completing in-country Special Forces training, he volunteered again, this time for an unknown assignment requiring a nondisclosure agreement and classified briefing to even learn the basics of the assignment. After signing, Tilt learned he was volunteering to join Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). MACV-SOG ran highly classified special operations missions deep into North Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian territory. He had joined the secret war.

On one of Tilt’s first missions, an area reconnaissance of an important North Vietnamese Army site in Laos, his small team was quickly discovered. A harrowing firefight followed, after which he thought, “This is going to be a long war.” Shortly thereafter, with only a few months’ experience, he became the team leader, taking the responsibility on his shoulders for the decisions made in the jungle. In this episode of The Spear, Tilt expands on some of the stories contained in his memoirs about combat operations “across the fence” in Laos and Cambodia.

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Image courtesy of John Meyer