Uncommon Valor

The Recon Company that Earned Five Medals of Honor and Included America's Most Decorated Green Beret
If you are a member, log in to receive member pricing
Published:September 1, 2018
By Stephen L. Moore (Author)

Uncommon Valor is a look into the formation and operation of an advanced Special Forces reconnaissance company during the Vietnam War. Code-named the Studies and Observations Group, SOG was the most covert U.S. military unit of its time and contained only volunteers from such elite units as the Army’s Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and Air Force Air Commandos. SOG warriors operated in small teams, going behind enemy lines in Laos and Cambodia and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, tasked with performing special reconnaissance, sabotaging North Vietnamese Army ammunition, attempting to rescue downed U.S. pilots, and undertaking other black ops missions.

In the event that SOG men were killed or captured while operating “across the fence,” the U.S. government would deny any knowledge of their activity. In many cases, SOG teams were inserted by helicopter under enemy fire and were pursued by NVA trackers for days from the moment they first put boots on the jungle floor. They often engaged platoon- to division-sized enemy forces until the surviving members could be extracted. Some entire teams were wiped out in the process. MACV-SOG documented in 1969 that their ratio of NVA soldiers killed to each Green Beret lost was 150 to 1—the highest documented kill ratio of any American unit in the war.

Uncommon Valor follows the recon company housed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) 2 at Kontum, from its creation in the spring of 1966 through January 1970. During that time, FOB 2’s recon company became the most highly decorated unit of the Vietnam War, with five of its men earning the Medal of Honor and eight awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, America’s second highest military award for valor. Each of the five Kontum Medal of Honor recipients was cited for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” while tending to the welfare of wounded comrades. Purple Hearts were earned by SOG veterans at a pace unparalleled in U.S. wars of the twentieth century, with casualties at times exceeding 100 percent. One, Bob Howard, was wounded on fourteen different occasions, received eight Purple Hearts, was written up for the Medal of Honor after three different missions, and emerged from Vietnam as the most highly decorated soldier since World War II’s Audie Murphy.

Soldier of Fortune Magazine Exclusive Excerpt


List Price: $35.00
Member Price: $28.00
Product Details
  • Subject: Vietnam War
  • Hardcover : 440 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (September 1, 2018)
  • ISBN-10: 1591145740
  • ISBN-13: 9781591145745
  • Product Dimensions: 6.125 X 9.25 in
  • Shipping Weight: 30.56 oz
  • Finalist for the 2018 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Awards.
  • Soldier of Fortune Magazine Exclusive Interview
  • “Stephen L. Moore reminds his readers that war is so much more than black and white and invites us into the daily life of what it was like to be selected for this elite Kontum based recon company…. Reading through this book is like being allowed to sit in on the interviews themselves: there are no filters and no barriers between you and the warriors. What you see is what they got. Being able to have such an inside look on such a top-secret organization is something of a rarity.” —DEFENSE.info
  • Veteran On the Move Podcast: Piecing Together Veterans Untold Stories with Author Stephen Moore Ep. 251
  • Uncommon Valor: The Recon Company That Earned Five Medals of Honor and Included America’s Most Decorated Green Beret is a Vietnam War history book for the ages…. It’s highly informative…. Even those familiar with SOG might be enlightened by the insights provided by Moore’s nearly one hundred interviewees.” —The VVA Veteran
  • "By interviewing more than 100 veterans during his research, Moore has compiled a rare snapshot into the daily combat operations of a Special Forces forward operating base. The United States government denied SOG’s existence until awarding us the Presidential Unit Citation in 2001 for ‘unheralded top secret missions behind enemy lines across Southeast Asia.’ Fast-paced and exciting, Uncommon Valor finally reveals the patriotism and raw courage displayed by so many of my brothers-in-arms, including five who earned the Medal of Honor." —Warren W. "Bud" Williams, Major, USA (Ret.)
  • “Steve Moore’s new SOG book Uncommon Valor is well researched, well written, and is a must-read for any Special Forces warrior or SOG historian/afficionado.” —John Stryker Meyer, SOG Green Beret, One-Zero of RT Idaho, and author of Across the Fence
  • “Stephen L. Moore’s Uncommon Valor is a triumph — a masterfully researched narrative filled with tremendous characters and firefights that will send readers’ pulse rates soaring from the first page.” —James M. Scott, author of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist Target Tokyo and Rampage

STEPHEN L. MOORE, a sixth generation Texan, is the author of 18 previous books on World War II and Texas history and is a contributing writer for the Dallas Morning News. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he studied advertising, marketing, and journalism. Steve lives north of Dallas in Lantana, Texas, with his wife and three children.

More by this Author

Presumed Lost
When submarines failed to return to port from patrol, they were officially listed by the Navy as...Read More
Battle Surface!
Cmdr. Lawson Paterson “Red” Ramage was among an elite group of just seven U.S....Read More
Uncommon Valor
Uncommon Valor is a look into the formation and operation of an advanced Special Forces...Read More

Related Content

None found for this author.

Events and Conferences

Book Signing
USSVI 2009 Convention, Town & Country Resort & Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle N., San... Read More
Radio Interview
8:25am, with Fred Snyder, WGET-AM Gettysburg, PA Read More
Speaking Engagement & Signing
9:00am Read More
Meet the Author & Book Signing
"Author's Forum," Nat'l. Museum of the Pacific War, 340 East Main St.,... Read More
Guest Panelists & Book Signings
19-22 October, Naval Order of the U.S. "Congress 2011," Hotel Galvez-Wyndham, 2024... Read More
5 December - Book Discussion
6:00 PM | Pritzker Library & Museum | Chicago, IL | Register: HERE Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Reviews


Conferences and Events

View All

From the Press

23 February - Seminar

Sat, 2019-02-23

David F. Winkler

3 March - Lecture

Sun, 2019-03-03

Stephen A. Bourque

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 140 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership