The Sentinel and the Shooter
by Douglas W. Bonnot
This page mounted 24 October, 2010, updated 26 June, 2020
Secret societies have existed for millennia; their purposes myriad. Generally, they are exclusive and require members to take an oath to keep their organization and activities secret. They possess guarded means of identification and communication. Some exist in the open, their purposes known, their activities undisclosed, and their practitioners anonymous.
The US Army Security Agency was a separate organization within the Army having its own installations, training, academic, logistic, communications and scientific institutions and members took an oath to keep the organization and its activities secret, their identity and communications guarded. Until the advent of the Vietnam War, their purpose was intelligence gathering for national strategic objectives. As the US role expanded from advisory to active combat, intelligence support to combat units changed the structure and character of the Agency. Organizational secrecy, guarded communications, and member anonymity remained.
The 265th Radio Research Company (Airborne) sentinels operated in the shadows, yet stood beside their warrior counterpart providing intelligence to the 101st Airborne Division. 101st Airborne units involved in the war are etched in the stone of their memorial at Arlington Cemetery. The 265th RRC (ABN), the only unit etched on the back, remains in the shadows. Nearly forty years have passed since the last Sentinel departed Vietnam.
This is their story.
Praise for the Sentinel and the Shooter!
Compelling and revealing- a saga of Vietnam's silent warriors- true patriots all who provided the most actionable intelligence available to 101st Airborne Division forces.
—Lieutenant Colonel David K. Reading, US Army (Retired)
We spoke not of our duties for four decades. The Sentinel and the Shooter by Doug Bonnot now speaks for us all who served with pride in the 265th Army Security Agency (ABN). I found the book to be very well documented for my time period with the company. Given this fact, I can only conclude that the entire story's quality of detail is of the same caliber.
—Dan Johnson 265th RRC (ABN) Signal Maintenance
The time I spent as a Sentinel with the 265th and the men I served with, defined my career in the Army. This band of brothers served silently, with loyalty and dedication to their mission. Our deeds were in the shadows unknown to most but helped shaped the course of events for 5 years. After 40 years it is time for our story to be told. I love these guys.
—Ken Manley, 265th RRC (ABN) Morse Intercept Operator.
Been there, done that, long before that term became popular - that's what this printing is all about! Based on experience with one particular direct support tactical USASA unit, the author clearly describes the hardships and rewards of working directly with the Shooter. The hardships of field living and combat operations, many troops endured -- it was only the ASA Sentinel that endured the additional hardship of serving two bosses. In addition to a fascinating portrayal of the 265th operations and personnel, this printing equally addresses the two bosses ; issue and much of the work-around that ultimately provided fully integrated all source MI tactical units.
—N. Alderman, Jr., Colonel US Army (Retired)
WingSpan Press, Inc. Livermore, CA 94551
ISBN 978-1-59594-395-8 Hard-cover
ISBN 978-1-59594-418-4 Paper-back
For information on this publication, contact: John Mastro
Bonnot, June 1970, FSB Tomahawk
Douglas W. Bonnot, Born 14 November, 1940 in St Louis, MO; Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hawaii Pacific University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, passed away Sunday 25 November 2018.
While in the U.S. Army, he served with the DMZ Police Company, a provisional unit of the 1st Cavalry Division, Korea and the 1st Infantry Division, KS, as a Heavy Weapons Infantryman before attending training as a Cryptanalyst, Ft Devens, MA.
He served the remaining 18 of his 22 years assigned to the Army Security Agency in both tactical and strategic intelligence with multiple assignments to the National Security Agency, including the Defense Special Missile and Astronautics Center as well as overseas assignments in Turkey and Okinawa. On loan to U.S. State Department, he also taught intelligence related subjects in overseas NATO Signal Schools.
Tactical Intelligence assignments included overseas tours as Operations NCOIC, 265th Radio Research Company (ABN), 101st Airborne Division (AMBL) in Vietnam and the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii; Stateside tactical intelligence assignments included tours with 82nd Airborne Division and 400th ASA Special Operations Detachment, 5th Special Forces, Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he retired as First Sergeant, 358th Electronic Warfare Company, 313th Combat Electronic Warfare and Intelligence Battalion.
Individual Military Awards include: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Parachutist Badge, RECONDO Tab
Retiring from the Army at the close of 1979, he continued his service to the Intelligence Community while working in the Defense Industry for 27 years, 23 of which was as President and CEO of an Engineering and Manufacturing firm specializing in covert electronic surveillance devices.
He was a Life Member of the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, 82nd Airborne Division Association and the 10st Airborne Division Association where he has held positions as a member of the Board of Governors, and Sentinel Chapter President. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees, of the Screaming Eagle Foundation.