U.S. Elite Forces - Vietnam, Squadron/Signal
The below information is extracted from the book titled U.S. Elite Forces - Vietnam, Squadron/Signal publications, Combat Troops Number 7 written by Leroy Thompson. The information regarding Safe Side begins on Page 46:
Special thanks to Andy Anderson, 822CSPS for allowing the use of his book to obtain this information.
Air Force Combat Control Teams and Combat Security Police
COMBAT SECURITY POLICE
The Air Force had two units serving in Vietnam which should be classified as "special forces" - the Combat Control Teams (CCTs) and the Combat Security Police (CSPs). And while the elite PJs of the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service were as much an elite unit as the CCTs or CSPs, the PJs mission was to rescue downed airmen and while this task often included missions behind enemy lines, it was not a special forces' mission within the parameters of this book.
The Air Force's other special operations unit came into existence as a result of VC attacks against US air bases. The Combat Security Police (CSP) were trained as Air Force "Rangers" and were equipped to function as a quick reaction force should an air base come under attack, or as a seek and destroy unit which could set ambushes to destroy enemy infiltrators outside or on the perimeter of a base.
The forerunner of the Combat Security Police was the 1041st Security Police Squadron which received sixteen weeks of Ranger type training from Army Ranger instructors at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii as part of 'OPERATION SAFESIDE'.
As a result of the success of the 1041st Security Police Squadron during its tour in Vietnam, Combat Security Police Squadrons were formed and trained as an elite light infantry, combining the skills of the Army's Rangers and the British RAF Regiment. Each CSP squadron had an authorized strength of twenty-one officers and 538 enlisted men. The squadron was broken into three flights, each with six officers and 161 enlisted men. Each of these flights consisted of three field sections of one officer and thirty-two enlisted men and one support section of one officer and sixty-three enlisted men. These sections were broken into ten man fire teams. Between April of 1968 and February of 1971, three Combat Security Police Squadrons - the 821st, 822nd, and 823rd - served in Vietnam. Although each squadron was nominally assigned to Phan Rang Air Base during its tour in Vietnam, flights or even sections of the Combat Security Police Squadron were often sent elsewhere on special assignment.