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The U.S. Army Security Agency
Special Operations Detachments

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Just in from Moon Mullins:
ASA Special Operations Detachments
The ASA SOD's were originally constituted as the 1st, 2nd, 3d, & 4th Op Dets,
80th ASA Special Operations Unit.

In late 1960 they were redesignated:
400th ASA SOD (Abn) assigned to 1st Special Forces Group (Abn), Okinawa
401st ASA SOD (Abn) assigned to 8th Special Forces Group (Abn), Panama
402d ASA SOD (Abn) assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Abn), Germany
403d ASA SOD (Abn) assigned to 5th (1960 Ft Bragg NC),
then to 7th (Approx 1962 Ft Bragg NC),
then to 3rd (1965 Ft Bragg),
then back to 5th Special Forces Group (Abn), Vietnam (August 09, 1966)
The 403rd still has reunions here at Ft Bragg at least every other year.

following is from a bbs..contributor unknown


The Special Forces Battalion MI Detachment has three organic
Special Operations Teams "Alpha" (SOTs A). These teams deploy
with Special Forces Operational Detachments "Alpha" (SFODs A)
to provide signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic warfare
The SOTs-A are the direct descendants of the United States Army
Security Agency Special Operations Detachments (USASASODs).
What follows is an "imprecise" history of thier existence.


In the history of mankind, there are fleeting moments of time
where, by fate or good judgement on the part of someone, a group
of people are brought together at the most appropriate time and
place or places to form extraordinary military units.

One such fleeting moment of history, was the formation and life
cycle of an extraordinary military unit called the United States
Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachment, more
commonly referred to as the ASASOD.

One may ask why the ASASODs were called extraordinary and not
elite. There are many elite military organizations such as the Roman
Legions, Merrill's Marauders, Rangers, Special Forces, SEALs,
etc., however, there are few extraordiary units such as the

Why were the SODs extraordinary? Certainly, the timing was there
and so were the places. But, the thing that really made the SOD an
extraordinary unit was the people... good Special Forces
soldiers...good technicians...loyal, dedicated, brave men...but, most
of all, trusted and true friends.

The first SOD was originally formed at Vint Hill Farms Station ,
VA and relocated to FT Bragg, NC during the summer of 1960 with
the 5th and 7th SFG(A)s. Later in 1960, units were organized and
located in Okinawa with the 1st SFG(A) and Bad Toelz, GE with
the 10th SFG(A). These original SODs were then designated as the
1st (1st SF), 2d (10th SF), 3d (7th SF), and 4th (5th SF)
Operational Detachments of the 80th USASA Special Operations
Unit (80th USASASOU).

In 1962 these Operational Detachments of the 80th SOU were
redesignated as USASA Radio Research Units (RRUs); the 10th
RRU (400th SOD) 1st SFG(A), and the 11th RRU (401st SOD)
8th SFG(A) was created, 12th RRU (402d SOD) 10th SFG(A), and
the 13th RRU (403d SOD) 5th SFG(A).

During 1963 the units were again redesignated to the final
designations we know them as today; the 400th ASASOD, 1st
SFG(A); 401st ASASOD, 8th SFG(A); 402d ASASOD, 10th
SFG(A); 403d ASASOD, 5th SFG(A) until Jan 64, 7th SFG(A)
until Jan 65, and then to the 3d SFG(A) until the 403d's
deployment to RVN with the 5th SFG(A) in 1966.

The SODs remained the same from 1966 until the post-Viet Nam
stand down of Special Forces during the early 1970s. With the
stand down of the 5th SFG(A) in Viet Nam, the 403d was
deactivated and was never again reactivated. On deactivation of the
8th SFG(A) in Panama, the 401st was deactivated for a short while
and later reactivated with the 7th SFG(A) at Ft Bragg, NC. In 1974,
on deactivation of the 1st SFG(A), the 400th was redeployed from
Okinawa to Ft Bragg with the 5th SFG(A). The 402d redeployed
from Germany with the 10th SFG(A) to Ft Devens, MA.

The official end of the USASASODs as United States Army
Security Agency units came with the deactivation of HQs, USASA
and conversion to Combat Electronic Warfare Intelligence (CEWI)
organizations in December, 1976. However, even after the
designation of USASA, the SODs continued to carry the ASASOD
unit designations into the early 1980s when they were redesignated
as Military Intelligence Companies.


"If the blood of the operator does not flow in your veins, it will be
on your hands."

-Colonel Dave McNight, U.S. Army J-2, JSOC


All information here [ASAVETS] indicates that the title "Radio Research" was employed only by ASA units serving in Vietnam and Thailand. This was a cover designation to disguise the presence of ASA in-country. Therefore, the use of this designation for units stationed outside Southeast Asia, as indicated in the item you forwarded, is likely in error. ASA units in support of Special Forces Groups would have carried the Radio Research (Special Operations)(Airborne) designation with the exception of the one SOD attached in support of the 5th Group in Vietnam.

The ASA SOD's we have identified in our research are:

400th USASA SOD which was based on Okinawa in support of the 1st Special Forces Group. This detachment provided temporary support to the 5th Group in Vietnam during 1965 and 1966 at which time it was relieved from further support tasks by the 403d RR Det (Special Operatons)(Airborne) which arrived to function as the permanant support unit for that Group.

402d USASA S0D was with the 10th Group.

403d RR Det (SO)(ABN) was in support of the 5th Group in Vietnam through end of the war. We have no information on post-Vietnam status of the Det.

408th USASA SOD was in Panama with the 8th Group.

And there were several SODs in the USAR which we are investigating now. None of these were numbered in the 4XX-series.

Our information indicates that the 10th RRU was not a SOD. It evolved into the 371st RR Co.

the 11th RRU was also not a SOD, it became the 337th RR Co.

the 12th RRU designation belonged to elements of the 330th RR Co early in its deployment to Vietnam (probably the initial group that went in). It therefore does not appear to be SOD.

The 13th RRU was formed from 303d Bn stateside and intended to support I Field Force. However, its equipment got misrouted and they ended up at 8th RRFS for a time. It is unclear whether this RRU ever conducted independant operations and we have seen nothing associating it with the 403d.

We have received nothing indicating multiple use of these designations nor that any of them had a SF association. The 13th however is an enigma which we have been trying to pin down.

We have a contact down with SOCOM and will check this out. I suspect the information you have is a mix of good and bad. Sorting it out will not be easy but is does need to be checked to preclude posting erroneous information.

Mark Scott

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