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Speaker: Douglas Hubbard

Topic: Service in Vietnam as a NIS Special Agent

Douglass Hubbard began his professional life as a Special Agent, NIS the Federal agency today known as NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service). Hired at Washington Navy Yard in March 1968, he completed basic agent training at the agency Arlington headquarters during which he was mentored by an agent recently returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam. Hubbard volunteered to serve at the DaNang Vietnam office, was reassigned to nearby Marine Corps Base Quantico to complete his probationary service and just a year after coming aboard, arrived in DaNang to join a group of eight other civilian Special Agents. He was 23 years old – the youngest agent to serve in Vietnam.

The Office of Naval Intelligence, precursor to the Naval Investigative Service, had been deploying civilian special agents for several decades before the Vietnam War. In 1970, all were classified as Civil Service GS1811, in-line with other Federal agencies such as FBI and US Secret Service. Most agents worked in counterintelligence roles, but the war in Vietnam steeply ramped up the incidence of criminal activity.

NIS was the only Federal law enforcement agency represented in Vietnam. When Hubbard arrived, there were perhaps 20 agents in-country, eight of whom were assigned to DaNang where agents shared a dilapidated French hotel with their Navy enlisted support staff headed by a reserve Navy Lieutenant, typically an intelligence officer. We worked investigative leads sent to us by the FBI, IRS, Customs and US Postal Inspectors, but the majority of the work related to serious violent crime: murder (especially fraggings), alleged war crimes, sabotage, espionage and larceny.

Hubbard was assigned to man the single-agent post at Quang Tri Combat Base in later 1969 in support of the 3rd Marine Division on the DMZ. He was frequently forwarded deployed with Marine rifle battalions. He was later assigned to Cam Ranh Bay, Saigon and the Mekong Delta – serving a total of 36 months in Vietnam.
Doug Hubbard is today a Chico-based consultant to the minerals industry in Africa. He has authored two books, Special Agent, Vietnam (Potomac Press, 2006) and Bound for Africa, Cold War Fight Along the Zambezi (Naval Institute Press, 2008) – which recounts his experience as a Training Officer in the British South Africa Police.