Viet Deserters

"Shoot To Kill"


Fifth Estate # 83, July 10-23, 1969

NEW YORK (LNS)—Top secret operations are being launched in Vietnam to kill or capture American deserters fighting for the NLF, according to a London Express story reprinted June 24 in the New York Post.

The operations have been ordered as the problem of troops going AWOL in the war zone becomes increasingly serious.

Many of them are black soldiers, who let it be known they are deserting as a gesture in support of the black liberation movement in the U.S.

At American headquarters in Saigon a spokesman confirmed that latest figures showed desertions in Vietnam are running at the rate of nearly 10 a day. He was unable to reveal the total number of deserters, nor is it known how many join “the enemy.”

In the Danang area, a group of black deserters formed a black power platoon and held regular drill parades near a village.

Those who do defect are extremely helpful to the NLF. They take with them detailed knowledge of how to work American equipment and how American units operate.

In the Mekong Delta there have been reports of deserters using stolen radios to cut in on Army wave lengths to misdirect artillery and helicopter fire. These men are considered such a menace that Green’ Beret troops are used to try to track them down.

The Green Berets are ordered to kill them if it is impossible to capture them alive. So far there have been no reports of a court martial of any American who joined the NLF.


See the FE’s Vietnam Resource Page.