Vietnam CRIP History
A look at how the Vietnam C.R.I.P.’s (Combined Reconnaissance Intelligence Platoon) were started by General William Westmoreland.
General Westmoreland viewed the war effort differently, sometimes to a fault, in my estimation. Looking back is an advantage, while you are ducking for cover isn’t the time to evaluate military tactics or the political events of the day.
Richard Nixon was a decisive political player. But on the ground we were waging a war that was based on hit and run tactics by an elusive enemy. General Westmoreland, steeped in military tradition, decided to create units that could be equally as elusive and more effective. Thus the C. R. I. P. units in the 25th Infantry Division were born. Added to the specialized units were another military tactic of having specially trained members within squads and platoons.
General Westmoreland quickly expanded the use of the C. R. I. P. patrol model and methods to include all branches of the service, on active duty in Vietnam. This included mechanized units as well.
To further advance the effectiveness of the reconnaissance missions being assigned to the C. R. I. P. units General Westmoreland had Green Beret training modified and added some key elements specific to the Vietnam jungle and enemy methods. General Westmoreland had a senior officer recommend the training school certification be called “Recondo”. To make units more effect hand selected personal from key units were asked to volunteer. Once trained, the “Recondo’s” job would be to pass along the key skills learned to their platoons. Enhancing survival and mission accomplishments. To coordinate training key combat proven Green Berets became the training cadre.
The “Recondo”, a Green Beret trained specialist who attended hands on classes with the Vietnam War as a classroom.
You can read more on the Recondo certification and school started by General William Westmoreland on a page dedicated to the history of the Recondo School. The Recondo School was started in 1967 and closed in 1970, based in Da Nang at the 5th Green Beret Base.
The word Recondo according to Wikipedia is: Recondo is an American military term forRECONnaissance and commanDO for highly specialized infantry training or a graduate of a Recondo School who led small, heavily armed long-range reconnaissance teams that patrol deep in enemy-held territory.
C.R.I.P. units were given a variety of assignments. They ranged from patrolling hostile areas. Specialized patrol assignment for intelligence confirmations to deploy ground units. Ambush patrols, seizure and capture patrols of enemy combatants and weapon caches.
Our specific area of operations were in Hau Nghia Provence and Tay Ninh provinces.
Our primary base of operations were from Bao Trai and later Duc Hue near the Parrots Beak on the Oriental River (Co Dong River).
We never really gave a thought to the dangers lurking in the hedge rows or rice paddies. Yet, Tay Ninh was highest on my list of dangerous spots because of enemy ambush tactics and booby traps.