Read Part 14 HERE
Serving on a combat diver team in the mid to late 1980’s, Hand and his team mates would plan to static line parachute into the Team Spirit exercise but that never happened. Instead they helo-casted from a CH-47 helicopter in the ocean off the coast of South Korea with their Zodiac. In isolation for mission planning prior to the infiltration, an officer asked the ODA what they would do if a shark bit their zodiac. The Green Berets tried to keep their composure while explaining that the raft had four individual inflatable compartments in it.
The night before, the pilots had put them out too low while going too fast. It was bad enough that some of the Green Berets were injured and some knocked unconscious when they hit the water. Nonetheless, they were back at it the next night. Under a moonless sky, “we hid our stuff in the hinterlands and did one of the hardest movements I’ve ever done,” through the countryside Hand said. Infiltrating inland, they would dig a hide site in the side of a mountain and conduct the strategic reconnaissance mission, providing overwatch on traffic intersections and reporting vehicular movement all day and night. They never did any joint missions with Korean Special Forces, but the information they gathered would have been coordinated with the Combined Forces Command.
For these ODA’s, Strategic Reconnaissance was their main mission since an American Special Forces team can’t blend in and do low-visibility operations in North Korea, nor could they do much in terms of Direct Action with just a 12-man element. Another mission they could perform was using a laser designator to paint North Korean targets for American aircraft to bomb, a capability that they also taught to the South Korean Special Forces.