End of the Year Newsletter
Welcome to the December and end of the year news
It has been another fantastic year for S.O.G. Prairie Fire. We released the 1.2 Update, had several amazing events with fantastic people from the Arma community and finally, team of devs and testers made it over to Fort Bragg and Las Vegas to meet our heroes, while at home the community fired up some awesome new content and events. These activities, bringing together the guys who were there with Arma’s community creators, fire up our collective imagination to make better missions and content, to set up exciting historical events, and to give the campaign another play-through to build team skills.
So let’s dive into this final bumper issue of S.O.G.Prairie Fire news of 2022…
Starting off with our charity event back in January 2022 where, along with, Military Veteran Gamers and Friday Night Fight we managed to surpass the donation goal of $10.000 and ended up raising over $15.000 !
We sincerely thank you all for this, everyone who live streamed, watched, shared and to all those who donated thank you so much for everything. And another special thank you to OpenGroup for the servers support ,Friday Night Fight and Dolly for their custom missions in this event
"Healing Through Gaming" For those who wish to continue support MVG even more you can join them in their Discord: https://discord.gg/3VMdKNjnm6
1.2 Update Release / Mike Force 1.0
On July 12th this year we released our massive 1.2 Update which included several new assets, fixes and even a new map.
new factions feature 400 new soldier classes, able to wear 20 new uniforms (with 65 variants), 14 vests, 5 packs (with 12 variants), 4 accessories and 11 new headgear items.
Other factions have been upgraded, with new faces, weapons, headgear and camouflage patterns. The 4 MACV SOG team advisers we worked with now have their faces recreated in the game, along with new Montagnard and Vietnamese faces.
Accompanying the 1.2 release of S.O.G. was Mike Force version 1.0!
Alongside our community players we organized several events this which brought together several different communities in a variety of different type of gameplay. From small Co-op missions to 120 Player PvP missions, we had it all this year and we hope next year won’t be any different.
- Battle of Long Tan - In a attempt to recreate the real Battle we put players in the rainy rubber plantations of Long Tan -
- Halloween Event - 3 Different teams were put up to the test to investigate the jungles of the Bra in which they encountered some unexpected enemies and situations. The Halloween event combined the tactical gameplay of S.O.G. Prairie Fire with the halloween spirit -
- Operation Bayonet I - Thanks to Digby from ZF we played a massive Co-op 100 Player battle of LZ Xray in which all players had to defend the landing zones whilst the Hueys brought in more troops and ammo.
Team trip to the US Part 3: Fort Bragg
Next on our team roadtrip was a visit to Fort Bragg, the spiritual home of US Special Forces. Joining us were MACV SOG veterans Maj. Gen. Ken Bowra, SSG John Stryker Meyer, SGT Frank Pulley and Lt. Col. Dick Thompson along with two aviators who flew many missions supporting SOG - Spc.5 Don Haase a 195th Huey crew chief (Ghostrider) and Col. Barry Pencek a US Marine cobra pilot (Scarface 20).
Don, Frank and Dick join us at the JFK Special Warfare Museum for a fascinating walkaround.
Barry, Don and Dick at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum discussing helicopter extractions and close air support, from both ends of the chain.
We started our day with a visit to the US Special Forces Memorial Plaza, where the guys paid their respects to their fallen brothers. Dick Thompson commented that there are 35 of his friends on the memorial wall, which really brings into focus the sacrifices made by the men of MACV SOG.
MACV SOG team visit to The Range Complex, with Excelitas Technologies.
Next on our schedule was a day at the range, where we spent about 12 hours firing various WW2 and Vietnam era weapons, along with some more exotic kit supplied by Excelitas, who supply Britains SAS and other special operations units with high-end weaponry. Excelitas’ Don Alexander and Ed Carter managed range safety, and these guys have a combined 85 years in service to the Army or Special Forces, we felt very safe!
You can see a few selected pictures below, or visit this link to see 97 pictures taken during the shoot.
Game team doing it for real - Ice and Ghostrider Don are inseparable in Mike Force games, and here Ice spots for Don on the M1A. Damn that thing was loud!
Recreating history. General Bowra spotting targets for Colonel Pencek. Back in the day there’s a good chance that Ken would have been calling close air support onto targets near his SOG recon team, from Barry or one of his team mates flying Scarface Cobras, supporting CCN.
USSF Master Sniper Don Alexander shows Dick Thompson and the team one of the state-of-the-art hybrid thermal/NVG sniper systems we are shooting at heated targets once the sun has set, while General Bowra looks on.
Every SOG Prairie Fire players secret dream is to have NOD’s to deal with life after dark in the Vietnamese or Laotian jungle. The same is true for Ghostrider Don here, as he tries on the latest NODs we used during the night-shoot. He was really impressed wit hthe clarity and range and wished he’d had these back in the day.
Ghostrider Don takes his turn on perimeter watch, engaging thermal targets in pitch black night out to 800m. The equipment supplied by Excelitas was really impressive to both SOG veterans and game developers alike. NVG/ Thermal optics upgrade coming to the DLC soon? (Probably not!)
We had a lot of safe fun at the range, and fired the Hi-Power, M1 Carbine, AK47, RPK, M1 Garand, M1A (like an M14) and a bunch of high-end AR15s. We are very grateful to Excelitas team mates Don Alexander and Ed Carter for their support, even donating the considerable ammo costs to the Special Operations Association Foundation.
We also had a really nice team dinner, attended by 6 MACV SOG veterans and aviators (including RT Columbia’s Tilt, El Cid and ccsaviator), the RT Columbia game team (eggbeast, Ice, Peacemaker, Beachhead, Shannon and Oldcoolc), Excelitas’ Don Alexander and Ed Carter, and VIP guests - the USASOC command historian and JFK Special Warfare Museum director. New friends were made and a lot of cool stories and jokes were shared. It was a great bonding experience for everyone. We also recorded a bunch of interviews during the session.
Next Stop - Athens, Georgia
After the intensity of Fort Bragg we had a spot of R&R courtesy of MACV SOG Lt/ Col. Dick “Dynamite” Thompson at his home in Georgia. This was a special mission to get him set up with a gaming PC so he can learn Arma’s keys and join RT Columbia for future games. By the end of the visit he was practicing one of his favorite actions on contact - to dive to the floor and shoot 5 targets during the dive. This action saved members of his team in Laos on several occasions. Dick was really impressed with how realistic Arma 3 is, and should be joining us for streamed ops soon. We can’t wait to see what his Ranger mindset brings to our teamwork.
“Dynamite” demonstrates the difference between the SOG knife compared to the standard Kabar. He preferred the Kabar for close-quarters fighting and you can see why. His new book “Dead Man Walking” will be a SOG bestseller.
While there we couldn’t help but record a whole bunch of in-person podcasts. We were fortunate to have Col. Barry Pencek come over for a visit so we could talk about his new SOG memoir “Operation Tailwind” - the Hatchet Force operation where Gary Mike Rose was awarded his Medal of Honor.
Barry flew CAS on that operation and has some unique insights into it. Dick had a chance to ask him about CAS and talk about his own experiences being on the receiving end as a SOG 1-0 far below the jungle canopy. The podcasts will be out soon! You can buy the book from any good book store.
Team trip to the US Part 4: Special Operations Association Reunion (SOAR) - Las Vegas
Now for the main event. Assuming you made it this far, thank you for reading! We hope you are as excited as we are about the great bonds being forged between the Special Operations community, our game team and the Arma community. It really is unprecedented, and brings such a depth to our work, and hopefully, your enjoyment and increased understanding of Special Operations history.
On the final leg of the road-trip Team Savage members Noel, Des, Ice, Eggbeast and Bigma assembled in Las Vegas for a week of activities showcasing the SOG Prairie Fire DLC to hundreds of MACV SOG veterans and their family members at the Special Operations Assocition Reunion (SOAR) XLVI - their 46th annual reunion.
Team Savage at SOAR at the team table where we had 3 laptops running SOG Prairie Fire.
Rear: Straphanging Cobra pilot (who still flies!), Ghostrider Don, Eggbeast, Wild Carrot, Ice, Bigma and Des. Front: Tilt and Noel.
Ice demonstrates our game version of FOB4 to SOA President Doug Godshall, who was stationed there with SOG. The overall reaction to our base layouts was positive.
George “The Toll” Sternberg points out where he was based at Khe Sanh Combat Base on our version of it recreated for the DLC, as Des looks on.
Enjoying a few beers and tears at the team dinner. The speeches were great, the ceremony, and Bonnie’s TAPS video were very moving. It was a pleasure to meet with Kingbee crew and LLDB (Vietnamese special forces) soldiers.
Pictured: Des, Tilt, Ice, Eggbeast, Kingbee pilots Quynh and Nhu and Capt. Thuan, LLDB. Quyn was Nhu's Kingbee copilot and flew gunships after US forces withdrew.
Well boy did we get ambushed! Here SOA President Doug Godshall calls up Team Savage representative Rob to the stage to receive a certificate of appreciation for our teams work helping with the Hall of Heroes display. Earlier he had called out all our team names so we could stand and be recognised by the Association. It was a moment of pride for the team for all the hard work we have put in over 4 years creating the SOG Prairie Fire game, and supporting the preservation of MACV SOG history.
We left SOAR on a huge team high, having made so many new friends. Pictured here are: Colonel Brent Lindeman 5th Special Forces Group’s current CO and future Spec Op legend, along with 3 MACV SOG living legends - John “Plasticman” Plaster, Jimi “the Wild Carrot” Shorten and Nick “No codename!” Brokhausen. John and Nicks books are ESSENTIAL reading on SOG history.
ARSENAL - Arm Yourself Against the Negative Effects of Stress
Urgent Memo from Lt. Col. Dick Thompson:
The ARSENAL Assessment can help you manage stress, develop Stress Resilience and make better decisions. It is based on the ARSENAL model of seven best practices that are key to resisting the negative effects of stress. ARSENAL measures your overall level of stress as well as how well you are doing now in each of these seven areas.
Fully-funded support, takes 10 minutes to complete, builds your capabilities, useful to try and recommend to your buddies.
Free for veterans! You can get it here now - please try it and recommend it to your veteran friends - it may save their life:
Well as our roadtrip in the USA has drawn to a close we are looking back fondly on an outstanding journey lasting 6 weeks, meeting some extraordinary men, hearing and recording so much Special Ops history, and preparing for our next actions in the SOG gaming world.
We recorded something like 25 podcasts took hundreds of photos, and it will take much of the next year to process it and publish it to our channels. We hope you enjoy the fruits of this historic trip, and continue to support the SOG Prairie Fire community in its efforts to welcome new SOG veterans to the gaming world, while supporting their new books coming out.
Let’s raise another glass to the men of SOG and their brave opponents, and the indigenous soldiers who fought alongside SOG. From the whole Savage Game Design Team, we sincerely thank you for supporting us on this journey.
Break Contact! Continue Mission!