Blast From The Past – Detachment B-52 (Project Delta) Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade

This is a repost of a story from a few years ago. I was reminded of it based in a TTP you’ll see later today.

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 Some of the information was outdated due to equipment changes, other data was not applicable because we faced a different foe, on different terrain.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) were gathering their own lessons learned from operations in Central America which would not be released formally until the mid-90s. This update was entitled “Combat Recon Manual: Tips of the Trade” but is often referred to as the “ODB-720 Tips.” Unfortunately, it was much more difficult to share information pre-internet and I never saw a copy until I was about to leave a 3rd Group SOT-A for the Air Force.

The original B-52 Manual 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. You can find the ODB-720 Tips here.

7 Responses to “Blast From The Past – Detachment B-52 (Project Delta) Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade”

  1. Mehmaster says:

    If this interests anyone a good read”the ether zone” wich talks about b52 in length.

  2. Jimbo says:

    I’m currently working as an Advisor in a jungle environment with US Infantrymen…uhhhh…Infantrypeople?? at a deployed location. When I give them my intro to jungle operations, I have a lot of the original tips of the trade on the slides, the 7th SFG ones, and tips that previous units have added over the years. For example, understanding how heat and humidity can change as you move from canopy into a savannah and then into mangroves. They each have their own “types” of heat and effects on a patrol. Understanding the tide and how it affects patrolling along the coast. Always conduct your rehearsals in full load. Conduct PT in your kit, if it’s rubbing you at PT, it’s going to be far worse on patrol. I have dozens more that we’ve picked up over the last three years working in and out of here. It all starts with the B52 guys and their lessons learned and tips. I’m working to make sure that these are passed on to the current Soldiers at my location.

  3. 22F says:

    Old school cool.
    I still remember a lot of those lessons when I was a young Dig.

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