Operation: SNAFU History and Background
Part 2 - LONG RANGE RECONNAISSANCE PATROL
Assigned to the 1st Brigade of the 101st was the 58th Infantry which consisted of a Long Range Recon Company (Company L). At this point in the war, all LRRP units were transitioning to the formation of RANGER companies underthe umbrella of the 75th RANGER Regiment but they continued to operate in support of their parent Divisions. The units consisted of patrols of initially four-man units but by this point in the war they had generally transitioned to six-man elements.
LRRP teams operated deep inside the enemy sanctuary areas with the primary mission of serving as the "Eyes of the Eagle." Their mission was to provide timely information in support of main force operations. They were almost entirely inserted by helicopter but also were on occasion inserted by vehicle. Traditional elements likewise were usually delivered by helicopter but also were frequently deployed by truck. The NVA was acutely aware of recon efforts and deployed trail watchers and scouts who observed likely landing zones. In extremely sensitive areas, they employed counter-LRRP elements.
Typical missions for L Co 58th Infantry (LRRP) consisted of point- and area-recons, prisoner snatches, stay behind missions and trail watches. They also manned radio relay positions and, on rare occasions, created heavy teams of 10 to 12 men for daylight or nighttime ambushes. They also secured downed aircraft to facilitate rescue or recovery missions. The teams also sometimes removed sensitive equipment from downed aircraft.
Main force elements of the 101st would often go on two and three week sortees into the bush to perform search and seizure missions, traditional "hammer and anvil" operations, area denial missions and simple missions of opportunity developed by the LRRP teams. In addition to wide ranging operations, the "Lurps" also performed security duties in and around both the main fire bases and night defensive positions (NDP).
*Images history09.jpg and history10.jpg are copyright works of David Hintze