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"There were times when … you could be in a running fire fight for days, running, hiding, fighting, especially during the rainy season." (Video interview, 39:20)

   William Henry Phillips
Collection image
William Phillips [10/4/2006]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Unit: Special Forces
Service Location: Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Fort Gordon and Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Vietnam; Panama
Rank: E-6
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Enlisting in the Army one month after his 18th birthday, Sergeant William Henry Phillips began a career with the Special Operations Group (SOG) that would span two decades and span the globe. During his three tours in Vietnam, he led SOG reconnaissance missions into Laos and North Vietnam; while these were technically classified as non-combat missions, SOG teams of American and indigenous forces faced ambushes, firefights, and a very capable enemy. In his interview, he emphasizes the extensive training and responsibility of special forces units in teaching indigenous troops and civilians and the drastic changes in special forces operations between the early and later years of the war.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: video(1) | 
Download: video(2) (86 min.)
»Photo Album  (1 photo)
 Creative Works
»Pencil sketch of a team of men hidden in vegetation
»Story titled "Sixty Minutes of a Life Defined" written by Phillips possibly about an event he experienced while in Vietnam
 Official Documents
»View List (2 items)
More like this
»Vietnam War: Looking Back Part 4
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
Experiences with special forces training at Fort Bragg, NC. (03:48) Explanation of the scope of special operations group (SOG) in and around Vietnam. (NaN:NaN) First impressions upon arriving in Vietnam; assignment to the Fifth Special Forces Headquarters in Nha Trang. (03:25)
Experiences running operations in Laos and North Vietnam; skillful enemy; changes over time in how long operations could last; working with indigenous allies. (06:13) Experiences with hot operations; conditions in the field; impenetrability of jungle. (04:35) Differences between his first and second tours of duty in Vietnam; treatment of civilians by special forces versus regular units. (05:42)
Loyalty of indigenous allied troops; relying on them during missions. (03:33) Rate of casualties in SOG; taking many shrapnel hits. (02:42) 
 Official Documents (2 items)
Award of the Army Commendation Medal For Heroism "on 28 December 1968 while serving as radio man of a long range reconnaissance team on an intelligence gathering mission" List of entitled awards from the National Personnel Records Center, Missouri 

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  October 26, 2011
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