February 20, 2013

The Beginning of the Stingray Patrols

In the early days of Marine involvement in Vietnam, it quickly became apparent that doctrines drawn from fighting the Japanese and the North Koreans were insufficient for fighting the Vietcong. The Japanese, North Koreans, and Chinese had used defined front lines, something the VC explicitly did not. Stopping small, mobile units of guerrillas with conventional infantry formations was not working. The reaction time for large formations was too long; the orders process alone was prohibitive for tactical agility.

In 1965, it was becoming obvious that something else was needed. Up until that time, Reconnaissance assets were considered strictly non-combat support elements. They were intended to go in lightly armed, lightly burdened, look around, and get out. It took some doing to even get higher headquarters to consider applying Recon to a combat role. It was actually doctrine, according to FMFM 2-2, that the Force Recon Company had “no offensive capability and is not employed as a tactical unit…”


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About the Author

is a former Reconnaissance Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, and again in 2007, with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn. After two years of schools and workups, including Scout/Sniper Basic and Team Leader's Courses, he deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, I MEF. He is now the author of the military thrillers Task Force Desperate, Hunting in the Shadows, and Alone and Unafraid.

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  • John Meyer

    Great story Peter. Thank you. The first time I've read of such each Force Recon history. Force Recon Marines often visited us at FOB 1 in Phu Bai in '68, where we'd resupply them with hand grenades and ammo for their M-14s. They were dedicated troops.

  • ChristopherJohnMartin

    Bingwest Amazing to read this story, and then find this follow-up by a participant! I never served but am a voracious reader of stories like this!  Thanks to all of you!

  • 1dayasalion

    @JackMurphyRGR Team Primness

  • Kendoist4162

    Holy shit! Bing F-ing West on SOFREP!!!!! Some old school badass coming' to town. Niiiiiice!

  • gunner261

    gunner261