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Barry Pencek
Operation Tailwind: Memoirs of a Secret Battle in a Secret War
Barry Pencek, author

The Studies and Observation Group (SOG) was a covert American military unit in Vietnam that specialized in clandestine cross-border operations into Laos and Cambodia. In September 1970, sixteen Green Berets and one-hundred-twenty Montagnard mercenaries, led by Captain Gene McCarley, departed on Operation Tailwind, the largest and deepest raid in SOG history. Tailwind’s mission was to disrupt and distract the enemy in support of a larger, ongoing CIA operation near Chavane, Laos, being directed from the White House. 

In 1998, twenty-eight-years after the top-secret mission ended, CNN produced a news program called “Valley of Death”, in which they accused the participants in Operation Tailwind of war crimes, specifically, using nerve gas to kill women, children and American defectors. The show, and the media storm it created, made headlines around the world. 

Barry Pencek was a Marine Cobra gunship pilot on Operation Tailwind. In his book he does a deep dive into the four-day battle and and CNN's journalistic debacle.