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U.S. Special Forces Surrounded by Danger in South Vietnam

Dec. 19, 1962 - Dak Pek is a far outpost of the non-Communist world, a small, knobby patch cut out of rugged mountains better suited for a tourist showpiece than a military stronghold. Today, it stands as a small island in the midst of the major Communist infiltration route along the Ho Chi Minh Trail from North to South Vietnam. Here, a handful of tough U.S. Special Forces men day after day live a precarious existence training several hundred Montagnards — mountain tribesmen — and continually probe the area for Communist moves. The Americans are surrounded on all sides by formidable Communist strongholds. In an area where a French battalion-sized unit was ambushed during the Indo-China war, there is little illusion among the dozen Americans as to what would happen if a regiment of Communists decided to strike. They insist, however, that the price would be very high. “I am a fatalist about things like this,” says team leader Captain George Gaspard (pictured right) of Orlando, Fla., a Marine veteran of Okinawa and Iwo Jima and a Silver Star winner during the Korean War. “We’ve got a job to do, and we do it.”


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