by Terry McIntosh Co D, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Det. A-414, Thanh Tri, Mekong Delta, South Vietnam 1968-1969 After serving six months in country Vietnam with Special Forces C and B Teams, I was assigned to A-Team 414 operating in the Ken Tuong Province, Mekong Delta. The base camp sat a stoneâ€™s throw from the Cambodian border, and provided front line defense aimed at NVA and Viet Cong units based in the neighboring country. The team also hosted a top secret intelligence gathering operation â€œover the fenceâ€ inside of Cambodia. The Intel net was a part of Project Gamma, and was illegal in regards to agreements between the United States and Vietnam, and political restraints that forbade US incursions into Cambodia at that time. The site was valuable to Project Gamma due to its location. The B57 Intelligence Office assigned three men to operate the spy network. Their cover names were Capt. Martin, radio operator Scotty, and Case Manager Mike. Cover names were used so that they could disappear on a momentâ€™s notice without being traceable. They were spies and not protected by the Geneva Convention. Martinâ€™s real identity, Robert Marasco, is well known and a matter of record. I am not revealing any new information about him in this forum. Scottyâ€™s and Mikeâ€™s true identities are not well known. Mike was like a big brother to me, and I want to respect his and Scottyâ€™s privacy in this forum. Marasco has been featured on television and in print numerous times as the central figure in the affair. Although no records about the project have ever been released, it played a major role in Vietnam and the later incursion of Cambodia. Marasco networked with about 20 indigenous agents that spied out Parrotâ€™s Beak, a VC stronghold in Cambodia, and also kept tabs on that nationâ€™s Prince to know where he was at all times. My duty assignment included coding, decoding, sending and receiving intelligence reports. Although most of my time was spent at the border Forward Observation Base conducting combat patrols, I did assist Marascoâ€™s team as needed when he and Scotty were off on covert missions into Cambodia. Enter double agent Thai Khac Chuyen. All of our translators had been killed or wounded, and Chuyen was loaned out to us occasionally as a translator from the Special Forces B Team 41 in Moc Hoa. He has since been identified as Chu Van Thai Khac. He was 31 years old and was born in North Vietnam. I am not certain which of the two names was legitimate. I knew him by the name Thai Khac Chuyen. Chuyenâ€™s original position was that of S5 translator. His handlerâ€™s name was Sgt. Alvin Smith, a.k.a. Peter Sands. Smith was a former CIA operative then serving with Military Intelligence, and worked out of B-57 on field assignment to Moc Hoa B-41. Sands (Smith) was accountable to Marasco in the chain of command regarding Project Gamma. During Chuyenâ€™s short stay on site, he was assigned to run ambush patrol with yours truly. Circa 19 Feb 69, he and I were on ambush with ten indigenous troops in anticipation of VC targets in the area. I didnâ€™t know who originated the Intel report. I was just following orders. We sat up perimeter watch and I radioed our coordinates back to the Forward Observation Base. Sometime near dawn, I spotted VC movement along the tree line through the night scope. I couldnâ€™t tell how many, but I saw them moving directionally toward Moc Hoa. I alerted Chuyen and the troops. They prepared for action and waited. I elected to use the M-79 Grenade Launcher and fired one round into the air toward the VC. It hit and exploded, and the troops laid down heavy fire in direction of the blast. Chuyen observed the action. The VC did not return fire. I grabbed the night scope and peeked through it again. I could see some of them running away and back toward the trees. I handed the scope off to Chuyen, and he looked through it. I remember that he smiled. I thought that was strange, but dismissed it. I tried to call back to the F.O.B. for mortar support, but couldnâ€™t raise them. All I could get on the radio was dead air. I decided to go after â€œCharlie,â€ locked and loaded, and the troops followed in pursuit of a fleeing enemy. After running hard a short distance, we approached the tree line. I was proud of the troops. They lined up side by side, and we emptied our weapons into the tree line as we approached. We laid down a heavy barrage of firepower. Chuyen was on my left, and the others to my right, but I noticed that Chuyen wasnâ€™t firing his weapon. He was fiddling with it, and later claimed that it jammed. I accepted his explanation without reservation. Back at the FOB, teammate Specialist Mesa could see that we had made contact because of the explosion and bullet tracers that lit up the sky. When he couldnâ€™t raise me on the radio, he assumed that I was hurt or killed, and called back to base camp for instructions. About that time, the VC opened up on us in the field from within the tree line with heavy fire power. I had no option but to order a retreat and we ran some safe distance away from the action. We sat up another perimeter and waited the night out. Chuyen was very calm through it all. Mesa, in hopes of rescuing us, opened fire on last known co-ordinates and dropped several mortar rounds into the tree line. We watched the explosions from a distance and spent the rest of the night in ambush mode should any VC retreat our way. Next morning at the FOB, Mesa discovered that the radio had been tampered with, and the frequency had been switched to a wrong channel. I did not suspect Chuyen until later after he was exposed as a double agent. It now appears that he switched the frequency to prevent me calling in fire power, and that his weapon â€œjammedâ€ just at the right time to avoid firing into the tree line at his buddies. He could have killed me at any moment during the ambush and gotten away with it, but he was using us at the time and not trying to eliminate one American soldier. Mike told me later that his informants said that we had jumped the lead element of a heavy weapons platoon enroute to attack Moc Hoa. There was some satisfaction in knowing that.