David Bortnem’s Special Mission Force (SMF) Distinguished Insignia (DI).
In 1971, David Bortnem served with Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MAC V SOG), Task Force 2 Advisory Element (TF2AE / CCC), Recon Company, Recon Team Nebraska.
In early 1972, Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MAC V SOG), OPS-35 (Ground Reconnaissance) element was deactivated and the bases were turned over to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). The newly created and expanded Strategic Technical Directorate Advisory Team – 158 (STDAT-158) had to have ground units to perform specific missions and created the Special Mission Force (SMF). The unit’s US and Indigenous personnel were recruited from the former Command and Control Central (CCC) / Task Force 2 Advisory Element (TF2AE), Recon Company. The unit operated in Platoon size elements and were involved in three major missions they were commended for: (1) The first was to locate and recover a MAC V SOG Blackbird that was shot down on June 5, 1972 in the Kontum Province. 2. Was to recover the remains of civilians that were on a Commercial Air Liner that had exploded over the Kontum Province (bomb aboard). 3. The third was to recover the body of John Paul Vann the Senior American Adviser in II Corp whose plane was lost in a storm.