Saturday, December 12, 2009
Frank Camper My Brother and LRRP teams
Frank Camper is another American Mercenary worth mentioning. Frank Camper was one of the early volunteers for the Second Brigade, Fourth Infantry Division LRRP. You can find some additional info on frank at the links below.
Back in 1980 I was just out of the Army and was looking for a job so I sent off a letter via snail mail to a mercenary training school in dolomite Alabama; which was ran by a guy named Frank Camper. I cannot remember where I heard about it but back in the days before the Internet it was most likely an add from the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine.
Being a former Airborne Infantry/Pathfinder/Army scout/ Recondo (82nd Abn Div) and graduate of the French Army Commando school I figured that I was fairly well qualified for mercenary type work.
Anyway, I was surprised to receive a letter back from Frank inviting me to attend one of his courses as a kind of working job interview.
I probably should have taken him up on the offer but instead I opted to hitch hike west to Montana and spend the summer camping and bumming around.
Later on I saw some news stories about Frank and His mercenary training school, I was surprised to learn that frank is now an author of fiction and non fiction books about his experiences as a member of a Long Range Recon Patrol team (LRRP) in Vietnam. Cool stuff, I may even get around to reading one or two of them someday.
My Brother was also a LRRP in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division and being a small guy he also volunteered for clearing tunnels now and then. My brother never talked about his experiences in “The ‘Nam” but I did see a few pictures of him and team mates wearing their tiger stripe fatigues and ww2 army leggings for extra protection in the jungle.
He told me his choice was simple; it was easier to stay live as a member of a LRRP team then it was to be a member of a large platoon sized element.
Knowing my older brothers advanced skill level in the outdoors and his ability to move silently through the forest I can see and understand why he chose to be a LRRP, I would have done the same thing.
Below you will find some information on Frank and a list of the books he currently has published. I have also included a bit of history on the LRRP teams.
Tomahawk – Scouts out!
Franklin J. Camper is a former American soldier and known mercenary. He has written both non-fiction and fiction books about his service in Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division's Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (Army Rangers), and also books related to military tactics and how to survive as a mercenary.Prior to becoming an author, Frank Camper spent almost 2 decades as a mercenary.
Several newspapers and radio stations reported that he was involved in the Air India bombings in the 1980s, noting that he trained one of the Sikh bombers at his combat school located in Dolomite, Alabama Camper stated that he was unaware of the Sikh's plans.
On May 21, 1986 Camper was arrested on suspicion of conspiring with two California woman - Charlotte Wychoff and Elizabeth Leta Hamilton - to set two car bombs in a failed attempt to kill Robyn Richoff and Harriet Russo. The attempted victims were disgruntled employees of Hamilton and Wychoff. Camper was sentences to 2 years in prison for his part in the bombings.
The F.B.I. has acknowledged that Camper was personally responsible for saving the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's life in 1985. Prime Minister Gandhi was in the US on a diplomatic mission when the incident occurred.
Camper's life story was allegedly optioned for a feature film, however to date it hasn't yet been released. He is currently retired and living in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife.
Books by Camper
• The Mission (Published 1979 by Manor Books)
• Sandcastles (Published 1980 by Manor Books)
• Mercenary Operations Manuel (Published 1986 by Desert Publishing)
• L.R.R.P. The Professional (Published 1988 by Dell Publishing)
• Merc: Professional (published 1989 by Dell Publishing)
• Long Range Recon Patrol (Publuished Apr 1990 by Namiki Shobo Japan)
• Covert Operations (Published 1991 by Ashai Sonarama Japan)
• Special Operations (Published 1991 by Ashai Sonarama Japan)
• Shamal (Published 1992 by Ashai Sonarama Japan)
• High Seas Security (Published 1993 by Loompanics Inc)
• Live To Spend It A Mercenary Guide for the 90s (Published 1994 by Delta Press)
• The MK/Ultra Secret (Published 1997 by Christopher Scott Publishing)
• Mindbenders (published 1999 by Zinn Communication)
LRRP – Long Range Recon Patrol
Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols, or LRRPs (pronounced "lurp"), were special small four to six-man teams utilized in the Vietnam War on highly dangerous special operations missions deep into enemy territory.
During the Winter War and especially during the Continuation War against the Soviet Union, Finland employed several Long Range Patrols (LRPs), or "kaukopartio" in Finnish. Followed a few years later by the British Long Range Desert Group, made famous by its co-operation with the Special Air Service Regiment. In the mid to late 1960s, the U.S. Army Special Forces trained volunteer LRRP's for the purpose of locating enemy units in guerrilla warfare, as well as in artillery spotting, intelligence gathering, forward air control, and bomb damage assessment. Early in the war long range reconnaissance patrols were performed by a limited number of infantry battalion Recon Platoons. Later LRRP units were provisional platoon-sized units. By 1967, formal LRRP companies were organized, some having two platoons, each with eight six-man patrols. Training was notoriously rigorous. Similar missions, although more likely to be clandestine, deeper penetrating, and more like Special reconnaissance, were run in Vietnam by the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) Studies and Observation Group (SOG).
Within the U.S. Marine Corps, these missions were typically assigned to Marine Recon, especially Force Recon, units assigned to corps-level (i.e., Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF)) level, as opposed to the Battalion Recon units answering to battalion commanders.
Beginning in February 1969, all LRRPs were folded into the newly-formed 75th Rangers, bringing back operational Ranger units. The Army had disbanded Ranger units after Korea, but kept Ranger school, on the theory that spreading Ranger School graduates throughout the Army would improve overall performance.
General Westmoreland became commander of the American forces in the Vietnam War in 1964. He ordered his pet project, the creation of a MACV Recondo school in 1966 to replace Project LEAPING LENA, later Project DELTA that consisted of 5th Special Forces Group instructors who trained American soldiers and Marines as well as members of other Allied forces in Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol tactics.
The course required a high level of physical fitness and concluded with an actual combat patrol prior to completion of the course to demonstrate the students' knowledge and capabilities.
A U.S. Marine military intelligence officer remarked that the Recondo school produced "Junior Rangers" where everyone had the opportunity to earn a Recondo patch. The Officer felt that the Marine equivalent was boot camp where everyone who made it through earned the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.
The 20 day course had a failure rate of one third and was disbanded once General Westmoreland was replaced by General Creighton Abrams in 1970. The course graduated over 3,000 American and 333 Allied troops.