For our game the characters were all some sort of recon in the Vietnam War and have additional training/skills to help rebuild America. In general they were either army, navy, marines or CIA. A prior service from any branch could end up in the CIA if you have a particular character concept in mind. Here is a good breakdown of the various Vietnam recon teams from the RPG aptly named Recon.
RECON TEAMS in Vietnam
LONG RANGE RECONNAISSANCE PATROLS
The Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP or "lurp") was an Army innovation during Nam. The LRRP operated on reconnaissance and, later, hunter-killer missions to provide intelligence for particular Army units. LRRPs were originally attached to division level headquarters detachments. As the war progressed and the need for better intel was realized, LRRPs were organized at lower levels.
The individual LRRPs were volunteers . Prior to coming in-country (into Nam) they had not necessarily received any special training to be LRRPs. As LRRPs became established some of the recons were sent to the Special Forces run Recondo (Reconnaissance-Commando) School at Nha Trang; supposedly some LRRPs trained at the Royal Malayan Jungle Warfare School at Kota Tinggi (a program developed by the British Special Air Service in their counter-insurgency war in Malaya).
As an ad hoc organization the early LRRPs were poorly supplied, but later in the war their gear would be similar to that carried by the other recon teams. LRRPs operated within the borders of Viet Nam, while some of the other RTs operated in other countries as well. LRRPs, also, tended to operate with only American team members, while some of the other RTs operated with indigenous units.
FORCE RECON COMPANY
The U.S. Marine Force Recon Company is the forerunner of the Army's LRRP. Recon operated in four and six man units to gather intel for the higher level command structure of the Marine Amphibious Force. Recon operated primarily in South Viet Namin I Corps (First Corps or "eye" Corps) in the northern part of the country.
Force Recon is a permanent part of the organization of the Marince Corps ; as such, Recons received training in the U.S. in patroling (at the Army Ranger School), airborne jump school, SCUBA school, and demolitions school. During the manpower shortage of Nam every recon did not get to go through all of this training before shipping out to Nam.
Besides gathering for MAF, some Force Recon RTs operated for Studies and Observation Group on missions "over the fence" or outside the borders of the Republic of Viet Nam. In-country the RTs tended to operate only with American team members.
The U.S. Navy's SEa, Air and Land (SEALS) recon team were trained in reconnaissance and counter-insurgency warfare. Although SEALS receive their initial training at the same school as the Underwater Demolition Teams, SEALS were trained for patrolling and airborne qualified.
SEALS operated RTs like LRRPs and Force Recon. They operated along the coastline and rivers (especially the Mekong River Delta). Some SEAL RTs operated for Studies and Observation Group in over the fence operations.
A major difference between SEALS and both LRRPs and Force Recon RTs is that SEALS tended to operate more in conjunction with Intelligence programs. Whereas LRRPs and Force Recon had special functions for their parent organizations, the Navy wasn't prepared to operate directly on the intelligence gathered by the SEALS. Therefore, the SEALS tended to operate more under the control of Military Assistance Command Vietnam J-2 (MACV-JZ), an intelligence unit, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
SEAL teams sometimes operated with indigenous personnel (Vietnamese) of the Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs). The PRUs ("prews") were a diverse group composed of Hoi Chanhs (VC or NVA who had defected under the Chien Hoi or "Open Arms" program-to fight for the South Vietnamese), CIDG ("sidgees"), mercenaries who fought for the Special Forces operated Civilian Irregular Defense Groups as guerrillas), deserters from the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN, "are-vin") -- the PRUs were paid better and operated closer to home, and parolees from Vietnamese jails and prisons recruited by the CIA if they would fight.
STUDIES AND OBSERVATION GROUP
The Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG), called "sog," was a joint MACV and CIA operation . The cover name for the Central Intelligence Agency in Vietnam was the Combined Studies Group (notice any similarities?) .
From the earliest days of the American involvement in Vietnam, the CIA had used Special Forces personnel to run covert operations; this practice continued in the development of SOG for intelligence gathering and covert action The original concept, Operations Plan 34A or Oplan 34A, was to train and infiltrate indigenous personnel by parachute or boat into North Viet Nam for espionage and sabotage. Under Oplan 34A the American Special Forces personnel were concerned primarily with training at "Bearcat" near Long Thanh, about 14 miles east of Saigon.
In early 1965 Special Forces Detachment B-52 started Project Delta to run "over the fence" operations against VC bases using neutral Laos as a sanctuary. The success of Delta spawned two sister organizations Omega and Sigma. Essentially, Delta operated out of I Corps, Omega out of II Corps and Sigma out of III Corps.
Because the American rote in Nam was supposedly to assist and advise the Vietnamese, Delta RTs were composed of U.S. Special Forces, Luc Long Dac Biet (Vietnamese "Special Forces"), and Nung or Montagnard mercenaries. A typical team might consist of two American Special Forces (the 'One-Zero' or team leader, and the "One-One", or the assistant team leader), two LLDBs supposedly performing the same roles, and two to eight Nung or Montagnard mercenaries. Delta RTs operated anywhere from four to twelve men, with the bulk of the unit being mercenaries or, sometimes, additional LLDB. The American One-One and his Vietnamese counterpart would both be carrying radios for simultaneous transmissions to the American and Vietnamese commands.
Under Oplan 35 American SF personnel became involved in the over the fence operations in Laos, Cambodia, and North Viet Nam. Eventually, Delta Project was reorganized, as all Amercan bureaucracies must be sooner or later.
Delta became known as Command and Control North (CCN) ; Omega became Command and Control Central (CCC) and Sigma became Command and Control South (CCS) . This reorganization involved more than a name change ; the new SOG RTs no longer carried LLDBs but were composed only of Americans and Nungs or Montagnards.
CCN (Da Nang/Phu Bail ran missions against North Viet Nam and northern Laos (the heaviest part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail) . RTs out of CCN were named after snakes (RT Python, RT Cobra, etc.) and collectively they were called Snake Bite Teams . SOG RTs were also called Spike Teams or Recon Teams.
CCC (Kon Turn) ran missions against VC/NVA units in Laos ; The CCC Rts were generally named after states (RT Tennessee, RT Arkansas, etc .).
CCS (Ban Me Thuot) ran operations or ops in Cambodia, and their RTs were named after implements (RT Hammer, RT Fork, etc .).
Each time the Recon Team wakes up the world has been different than what the players expected. From radiated desert wasteland overrun with cannibal mutants to frozen tundra populated with sentient animals to an idyllic paradise ruled by merciless machines. Typically we play a session or two in each alternate reality, sometimes more. Basically an excuse to use every game sitting on the shelf and every sci fi movie and TV series, not to mention all the various GURPS books.
If the encounter chart indicates humans roll another 3d6 to determine what faction or tribe they belong to.