SIG MMG 338 Program Series

Detachment B-52 (Project Delta) Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade

When I joined the Army in 1985, most of my senior NCO leadership had served in Vietnam. They were men who had seen combat and we hung on their every word as we trained.

In the late 80s, I served in a LRSD in Germany. We turned to photocopies of a document produced by the Vietnam-era Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group’s Det B-52 aka Project Delta called ‘Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade.’


We poured over its 32 pages which were gold to us, offering guidance on how to configure equipment and conduct ourselves on patrols. Some of the information was outdated due to equipment changes, other data was not applicable because we faced a different foe, on different terrain. However, the basics remained the same. Around the same time, 1st Bn, 7th SFG(A) released an update called ODB-720 Tips based on lessons learned in Panama. Unfortunately, it was much more difficult to share information pre-internet and I never saw a copy until I was on a 3rd Group SOT-A in the early-90s.

The original is available on the web from Chapter 31 of the Special Forces Association at Whether you’re reading from a historical perspective or a professional one, there are still a few gems in there.

17 Responses to “Detachment B-52 (Project Delta) Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade”

  1. Strike-Hold says:

    Thanks for sharing that. These skills will definitely need to come back again.

    Like you, I served with several Vietnam vets in my unit in the 82nd and I was taught crucial patrolling and recon skills by my Team Leader (5th Group veteran).

    Its kind of funny now to watch the Army and industry going through the process of relearning from the mistakes made in the past because they’ve forgotten the lessons that were learned the hard way back then.

  2. mehmaster says:

    anyone interested further should pick up a copy of the ether zone. it accounts many of b52’s missions.

    • SpankDaddyCool says:

      Special Forces Berlin is a good one to pick up if you want to go further to the end of the cold war and see how it all started.

  3. maresdesign says:

    “The last three round in a magazine should be tracer” Yup, Our NCO’s taught us this even through the late 80’s – 82nd Abn.

  4. patrulje68 says:

    “In the late 80s, I served in a LRSD in Germany.” If memory serves, that would be E Co, 51st INF. I was 143rd LRRP late LRS, attached to 165th MI BN, in Wiesbaden, as their recon element until yours was stood up. MY TL, ATL and SSO were all Vietnam vets.

    • SSD says:

      I was assigned to D Co (LRS), 103rd MI Bn (CEWI) at Leighton Kaserne, in Würzburg, FRG.

  5. ED says:

    I remember this and then it was updated to the b720 tips. There is also a great book about the Aussie SASR in Nam
    Sleeping With Your Ears Open: On Patrol With the Australian Sas

  6. Ex Coelis says:

    Very grateful that SSD posted this historical document. Very much looking forward to printing this out and sharpening up some old skills

  7. Andrew says:

    Thank you for posting this!

  8. m.j. says:

    I was at Katterbach Kaserne (Ansbach AAF) from 1987 to 1989, and I remember seeing the LRSD who were attached to the 501st MI Battalion. Katterbach, at that time, was an interesting mix of Aviation, MI, and Armored Cav (1/1 had their armor across the street at Bismarck Kaserne, but their helicopters were on our side of the road). The first time we saw the LRSD was when, one morning, we were running by for PT on the main street and we saw a bunch of guys getting smoked by their NCOs in the grassy area between the old Luftwaffe barracks we lived in – we thought it was punishment, but, for those guys, it was just Situation Normal. Later on, we were told those guys were LRSD. Sometimes we would see them when we pulled guard – they had their TA-50 all put together with 550 cord and it looked like they were going to war (we Aviation guys had the bare minimum gear, and it was all set up to 1st AD spec). Good times…

  9. Stickman says:

    I’ll be going over this with the nephews, this sort of information is too good to let fall by the way side.

  10. WaitWhat? says:

    Joe Alderman’s Social Security Number is on this document. Maybe we should redact that out before mass distribution.

    Yes i’m aware Joe died many years ago.. but still..

  11. Weaver says:

    Man, that’s a blast from the past – we handed around Xeroxed copies around 1990 when I was a medic assigned to the BN Recon PLT in 3/22INF in Hawaii, under the outstanding leadership of SFC Fred Lugo. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. John Martin says:

    There was a follow on that I used when assigned to a Naval Command at Little Creek, VA in the 1980s called the B-720 tips. Lessons learned from 7th SFG in Central and South America after Vietnam.

  13. AbnMedOps says:

    Several years ago, pre- 9/11 if I recall correctly, a “Vietnam LRRP Lessons Learned” seminar was conducted at Ft Bragg, to systematically collect LL’s from a group of invited LRRP veterans. I think it was hosted by SWCS, or maybe USASOC. So it should be archived somewhere at Bragg – perhaps it was also pumped into Army Center for Lessons Learned at Ft Leavenworth?

  14. Dutch says:

    I first saw this in the early 80s when I was in a Recon Plt in the 82d. We incorporated many of the tips in our SOP. Years later I worked with Joe in SWCS. Truly a great American Warrior.