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Charges dropped against Green Berets

Posted by Kenneth Peck on

On this day September 29th, 1969

Secretary of the Army Stanley Resor announces that the U.S. Army, conceding that it is helpless to enlist the cooperation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is dropping the murder charges (of August 6) against eight Special Forces accused of killing a Vietnamese national.

Col. Robert B. Rheault, Commander of the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam, and seven other Green Berets had been charged with premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the summary execution of Thai Khac Chuyen, who had served as an agent for Detachment B-57. Chuyen was reportedly summarily executed for being a double agent who had compromised a secret mission. The case against the Green Berets was ultimately dismissed for reasons of national security when the CIA refused to release highly classified information about the operations in which Detachment B-57 had been involved. Colonel Rheault subsequently retired from the Army.

Rheault was awarded the Silver Star for his actions in combat in the Korean War, attaining the rank of captain. After Korea, Rheault taught French at the U.S. Military Academy for several years in the mid-1950s, attaining the rank of major. Rheault attended the Special Forces Qualification course, the Q-Course, in 1961, and his initial Special Forces assignment was with the 10th Special Forces Group in Germany. He would later command the 1st Special Forces Group on Okinawa before being assigned to Vietnam to take command of the 5th Special Forces Group. Colleagues said of Rheault that he was one of the most respected and beloved officers ever in Special Forces, a "must promote" to General Officer rank if his command, and career, had not been ended prematurely by the Green Beret Affair.

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