What is SOG?


Nando Aqui
January 26, 2003, 01:53 PM
I used to think that SOG was first created during the Vietnam war, and the letters stood for Studies and Observation Group. There is a website, www.sogmod.com, that verifies this much.

But I have read several articles, including one today:


about the CIA's secret army, and it defines SOG as Special Operations Group. (By the way, a very interesting article.)

Do both 'groups' exist, or is Time-OnLine Edition incorrect?


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January 26, 2003, 01:59 PM

"Military" acronyms are indiscriminately made up from first letters of the full nomenclature with a vowel or two added sometimes.

They're understood in the context of the rest of the surrounding words, and sometimes they're not able to be understood by themselves.

They are merely shorthand, and if somebody claims they're anything else, they're just engaging in BS.

January 26, 2003, 02:21 PM
Geez, I thought you were talking about the guys in the Shotgun News!

Wil Terry
January 26, 2003, 02:50 PM
Southern Ohio Gun, who uses the SOG letters as their brand, as it were.

January 26, 2003, 02:51 PM
Thank you Wil Terry!

Nando Aqui
January 26, 2003, 04:02 PM
Blackhawk -

Thanks, I understand what you said about acronyms. I experience these daily in my work with Defense Department contracts, and with my sons, both of whom are career military men: one is a captain in the Air Force (Pentagon), and the other is a BlackHawk pilot in the Army (Germany - now Persian Gulf).

But that doesn't answer my question:

Are the Studies and Observation Group and the Special Operations Group two completely separate, non-related entities, and do both (still) exist?

Thanks -


January 26, 2003, 04:50 PM
How would anybody know conclusively? They're created for special needs and unlikely to be known outside of their creating units. I was a member of several "special" ad hoc units the existence of which was never on a TOE or even in orders. Just as anything below a company level unit may not appear in "official" documents, a special unit may not either. The orders say things like "... member of _______ did...." without ever mentioning the special group within that named unit.

I certainly don't know the answer to what you're asking, but SOG as "Special Operations Group" gets bandied around a lot, and there's no reason to doubt that some unit or other didn't call themselves "Studies and Observations Group" in Vietnam for any number of reasons including the appropriating or requisitioning of non TOE assets.

To trace such things, you'd probably have to know the creating unit, and that would be inconclusive if the SOG was ad hoc.

January 26, 2003, 05:49 PM

Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies & Observation Group

(Unclassified) website here:


Ed Brunner
January 26, 2003, 05:52 PM
My take is that they are separate groups, one military and one paramilitary.

January 27, 2003, 12:59 AM
From what I have read, It was originally Special Operations Group, but was changed to Studies & Observation Group.

IIRC this was happening around 1968 (Nixon)
We were doing things we weren't supposed to be doing (crossing borders and killing people etc.)

I maybe wrong, please correct me if so.


January 27, 2003, 03:49 PM
We use so many anacronyms here in the federal government that we had to appoint someone to be our Anacronyms Symbols Specialist (A.S.S.) just to help us keep up with them all.

January 27, 2003, 06:06 PM
You ever hear of 'public' names versus 'private' names? Maybe both are correct, and refer to the same thing. Maybe. And maybe doesn't exist anymore, in that form. But maybe in another, under a new name. Who knows? I sure don't.;)

January 27, 2003, 07:57 PM
a coment i heard/read alot when i was younger and wanted to know more about the "cool soldiers" (ie any and all special ops) and one that makes damned good sense to me, but maybe total BS i don't know. was that the entity known as MACV-SOG was originally given the Acronym by the DoD, to go with their offical designation of "Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Special Operations Group" but that soon after that, those who served under it's "umbrella" decided that being that blatant about their job, was no only a bit in opposition to their supposed purpose (covert ops ect.), but also NOT a very healthy thing to do in a guerilla warfare situation where one never knew if the guy walking down the street was casing your villa for a satchel charge "remodeling".

granted this made no difference after the VC/NVA learned that the guys in the tigerstripe fatigues giving them hell had a connection to MACV-SOG!!

as to a CIA connection, who knows? with the spooks, no one, not even those who were there can tell you the truth.

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