Special Operations Forces

Through the 1990s

T - Z

Thompson, Leroy.

1. Badges and Insignia of the Elite Forces. London: Arms and Armour, 1991.

Gibish notes that U.S. forces are covered on pages 14-33.

2. The Illustrated History of the U.S. Army Special Forces. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 1987. [Gibish]

3. The Rescuers: The World's Top Anti-Terrorist Units. Boulder, CO: Paladin, 1986.

From book cover: "The first and only inside report on the men, weapons, training, and tactics that combat terrorism worldwide." (Italics in original)

4. The U.S. Army in Vietnam. Newton Abbot, UK: David & Charles, 1990.

Gibish notes that Special Operations Forces are covered on pages 95-125.

Time-Life Books. Editors.

1. Commando Operations. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1991.

2. Special Forces and Missions -- The New Face of War. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1990.

Vandenbroucke, Lucien S. Perilous Options: Special Operations as an Instrument of U.S. Foreign Policy. New York: Oxford University, 1993. E8404V36

Cohen, FA 73.2 (Mar.-Apr. 1994), calls this a "commendable study of ... the Bay of Pigs, the Son Tay raid, the Mayaguez rescue and the Desert One fiasco.... Readers ... may set aside the didactic concluding chapter and content themselves with four well-researched cases."

According to Immerman, AHR 100.1, "Vandenbroucke identifies common explanations for the outcomes [of his four cases]. These include faulty intelligence, poor interagency and interservice cooperation and coordination, a decision-making system plagued by flawed advice and wishful thinking, and micromanagement by both civilian and military leaders far removed from the theater of operations.... This is a suggestive study, but asking broader questions would have made it more compelling."

Hilsman, PSQ 109.4, refers to the author's "calm gathering of the facts" and "convincing analysis." The author "shows that only one of the four principal special operations in the last thirty years was justified." The "book contains only a few minor errors." For example, it was the Soviets, not Castro, who took the initiative in placing Soviet missiles in Cuba. "More serious is the author's overall conclusion that ... the United States should put more emphasis on espionage.... But the fact is that ... espionage has been successful only in ferreting out technical and scientific secrets and almost never plans for offensives and the like."

Veith, George J. Code-Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War. New York: Free Press, 1998. New York: Dell Publishing, 1998. [pb]

Herrington,, 12 Aug. 2001 (originally published in Vietnam magazine), notes that this "book is primarily the story of ... the Joint Personnel Recovery Center (JPRC). Veith reconstructs the supersecret JPRC's efforts, using declassified documents and interviews with its members, and readers learn much of what went on behind the scenes as dedicated American military personnel tried in vain to locate and liberate missing comrades." The book's "major flaw" is that the author "err[s] on the side of completeness," but "[m]uch of the information that has found its way into print is probably deeply flawed."

Von Hassell, Agostino. Strike Force: U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations. Charlottesville, VA: Howell Press, 1991. 1992. [pb] Staplehurst, UK: Spellmount, 1999.

Walker, Greg. At the Hurricane's Eye: U.S. Special Forces from Vietnam to Desert Storm. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993. New York: Ivy Books, 1994.

Waller, Douglas C. The Commandos: The Inside Story of America's Secret Soldiers. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.

For Surveillant 3.6, this is an "excellent review of the role of Special Forces." The author "insists that the Special Forces are too politically sensitive to be left in the military's hands.... Highly recommended." McCombie, Parameters, Autumn 1995, says that Waller's is "a creditable and timely account of the training and employment" of special operations forces. The author provides chapters on "Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, 20th Special Operations Squadron, and the Delta Force."

Walsh, Michael J. [LTCOM/USN (Ret.)], and Greg Walker. Seal! From Vietnam's Phoenix Program to Central America's Drug Wars: Twenty-Six Years with a Special Operations Warrior. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. New York: Pocket, 1995. [pb]

From back cover: "This is the extraordinary story of Lt. Cmdr. Michael J. Walsh, a veteran of twenty-six years of combat with the Navy's ... SEALs." Merrill,, notes that Walsh served five tours in Vietnam and "in several other countries, including Panama, Bolivia, Ecuador, Grenada and Lebanon. His duties in these countries involved training, intelligence, surveillance and some combat operations in Panama and Grenada."

Weed, A.C., III. "Army Special Forces and Vietnam." Military Review 49 (Aug 1969): 63-68.

White, Terry. Swords of Lightening: Special Forces and the Changing Face of Warfare. London: Brassey's, 1992.

FILS 12.2: "'Special forces and Intelligence are inter-dependent'... (p. 99) [The author] emphasizes elite military units over the generally more secretive foreign intelligence services.... [The work is an] informative, comprehensive, and contemporary overview."

Williamson, Charles A. "Special Operations Intelligence." American Intelligence Journal 11, no. 3 (1990): 15-17.

Wilson, George C. "The Quiet Capabilities of Special Operations Forces Are Tailormade for This Era." In Almanac of Seapower, 1994, 56-63. Arlington, VA: Navy League of the United States, 1994.

Worthington, George [RADM/USN (Ret.)]. "Whither Naval Special Warfare?" U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 122, no. 1 (Jan. 1996): 61-63.

"After more than a decade of revitalization, how will [special operations forces] be employed?" Worthington expresses particular concern that past SOF experience will be standardized into rigid doctrine, while it is unconventionality that is really the point of SOFs.

Zedric, Lance Q., and Michael F. Dilley. Elite Warriors: 300 Years of America's Best Fighting Troops. Ventura, CA: Pathfinder Publishing of California, 1996.

Covers "Pre-Revolutionary War Formations," "Revolutionary War Period," "Post-Revolutionary War Units," "Civil War Period," "Post-Civil War Units," "World War II," and "Post-World War II Period."

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