U.S. Latino Patriots: From the American Revolution to Afghanistan, An Overview
By Refugio I. Rochin and Lionel Fernandez

This Article extracted from a paper titled / authored as shown above:

Page 17 – 18 of this Publication
From 1961 to 1965, over 80 Special Forces camps were established as part of the U.S. supported Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) program. The CIDG program was intended to help South Vietnamese groups to raise paramilitary forces to resist Communist guerrilla activity and defend their villages. Each CIDG camp had a South Vietnamese Special Forces team, a U.S. Special Forces team, and from two to seven companies of Indigenous self-defense troops. Some camps also had a unit of Mungs, mountain tribesmen from northern Vietnam, hired by the U.S.

Each of the CIDG camps was intended to be a self-contained, fully independent organization capable of resisting Communist forces operating in the region. The U.S. Special Forces team was there to advise and assist with camp administration, and prepare and train military personnel for eventual turnover of the camp to South Vietnamese authorities. However, it did not take the Vietnamese Communists (Viet Cong) long to realize the actual purpose of the CIDG camps. The fighting intensified as the Viet Cong found defensive weaknesses and attacked several camps. The defense of the camps became a priority of the Special Forces since many were not fortified.
In November 1963, a reinforced battalion of Viet Cong attacked the CIDG camp at Hiep Hoa, South Vietan which had opened in February 1963. The attack occurred at night and the defenders in the camp were taken completely by surprise as heavy machine gun and mortar fire bombarded the camp. Among the U.S. Special Forces personnel at Hiep Hoa was Sergeant First Class Issac Camacho. All of the camp defenders were pinned down by Viet Cong fire and Sergeant Camacho ran from his sleeping area to a mortar position and began to return fire. Pressure from the attacking force soon opened the camp’s defensive wall and the commanding officer ordered a withdrawal. In the confusion of the battle and in the darkness of the night, Sergeant Camacho became separated from his Special Forces comrades and was captured by the Viet Cong. He remained a prisoner for almost 20 months, until on July 9, 1965, he was able to escape from his isolation and make his way to freedom crossing through miles of Communist controlled areas.

For his personal courage and action in defending Hiep Hoa and later escape, he was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star Medals in September 1965. He was promoted to Master Sergeant and later given a battlefield commission to the rank of Captain. He retired from the Army and moved to El Paso, Texas.