Tag Archives: special forces

The Shok Valley sounds like a nice place to never go

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Matthew Williams was presented with the Medal of Honor at the White House on Wednesday. Williams earned the award for his actions in Shok Valley, Afghanistan, on April 6, 2008, while a weapons guy on an SF A-team, Operational Detachment Alpha 3336.

“It was kind of quiet, then all of a sudden everything exploded all at once – machine gun fire, some RPGs started going off. [The insurgents] had some pretty good shooters and a lot of people up there waiting for us.”

Originally recognized with the Silver Star, which was ugraded in September, he is still on active duty.

Green Beret dive teams before they were actually Green Berets

This Big Picture film on Special Forces Amphibious Training in 1956 Okinawa is insightful.

Of note is the fact that the “fighting frogman” detachment receives instruction in conducting water insertion and demolition training off the coast of White Beach aboard a U.S. Naval ship while wearing their floppy Lovat Scouts-style green berets– which was not officially approved for wear by the Army until 25 September 1961 in an evolved, more close-fitting, format.

The tactics covered are classic late WWII/Korean War-era UDT team and Marine recon evolutions. Good stuff regardless.

Those triple tank rigs, tho…

Thanks, Jeff!

If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training

Also translated as “If it’s not snowing, we ain’t going.”

1-10th Special Forces Group Soldiers maneuver through shooting range at Panzer Range Complex, Boeblingen, Germany, Nov. 08, 2016., Photo: U.S. Army Special Operations Command

1-10th Special Forces Group Soldiers maneuver through shooting range at Panzer Range Complex, Boeblingen, Germany, Nov. 08, 2016., Photo: U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Click to big up.

“Through rain, sleet, snow or storm our Special Forces Soldiers will deliver to your front door…or back door, window, roof, basement crawl space. You know…wherever they see fit.”

The SF carrying buoy tenders

Recently two tactically loaded Zodiac rigid-hulled inflatable boats containing nine Army Green Berets and three communications specialists made a beach landing and stormed Camp Rilea, an Oregon Army National Guard Training Center in Warrenton, Oregon.

How the ribs got to the area from over-the-horizon was via the USCG buoy tender Fir.

Soldiers from the U.S. Army 10th Special Forces Group, out of Army Base Fort Carson, Colo., prepare their Zodiac rigid-hulled inflatable boats for deployment while aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Fir, a 225-foot Sea-going Buoy Tender during transit off the northern coast of Oregon, June 22, 2016. The cutter supplied equipment storage and deployment during a joint-agency operation. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Class Levi Read.

Soldiers from the U.S. Army 10th Special Forces Group, out of Army Base Fort Carson, Colo., prepare their Zodiac rigid-hulled inflatable boats for deployment while aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Fir, a 225-foot Sea-going Buoy Tender during transit off the northern coast of Oregon, June 22, 2016. The cutter supplied equipment storage and deployment during a joint-agency operation. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Class Levi Read.

Sure, it’s a training exercise involving National Guard SF guys, but it shows how such assets could be used if needed in an asymmetric maritime environment such as seizing oil rigs, conducting raids or recon on offshore islands and coastal zones, etc.

It should be noted that the Coast Guard uses the 225-foot Juniper-class seagoing buoy tenders such as Fir in conducting sovereignty and fishery patrols of outlying Pacific territories with allied shipriders and along the Alaskan Arctic coast.

If things go squirrely, say with non-nation actors, pirates or other rogues in those areas that a small group of pipehitters could fix and naval assets are not available, it’s clear that some may see NG SF ODAs or the Coast Guard’s own MSST units carried from buoy tenders as a low-tech option.

Then there is always the Persian Gulf as well…

John Gresham has passed

john Gresham

In the small world of top-notch military commentary, there were a handful of legitimate experts. That pool has grown smaller with the untimely passing of John D. Gresham.

If you ever thumbed through Tom Clancy’s his best-selling series of non-fiction “guided tour” books about military units published in the 1990s:  Submarine, Armored Cav, Fighter Wing, Marine, Airborne, Carrier, and Special Forces, it was Clancy’s name that sold the book– but the insides were all made possible by the hard work of Gresham.

gresham
In all, he had some 15 books of his own in circulation as well as the annual The Year in Special Operations and a lot of the best open-source defense analysis in circulation. I corresponded with Mr. Gresham on a number of occasions.

He will be missed.

Stuttgart from 1500 feet

(U.S. Army photo by Adam Sanders)

(U.S. Army photo by Adam Sanders)

Great image of Soldiers from 1-10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conducting airborne operations at Malsheim Drop Zone outside of Stuttgart, Germany. Of course its a day drop with round chutes which means its just for proficiency, but its still beautiful. Active duty SFGs are assigned a regional specialty in as much as languages, intel and customs go and the 10th, the nation’s oldest Group, specializes in Europe.

ANA SF Selection Course

Pretty respectable candidate sourse. About 200 Afghan soldiers participate for 3 days in a grueling selection process for the ANA Special Forces. This includes log carrying marches and wading three kilometers through a cold, muddy river at a camp on the outskirts of Kabul. Video by Melissa Preen, NATO.

You have to admit, you love seeing the old woodland camo and ALICE packs again.

Obamas Secret Army (and Navy)

An article from the Daily Beast looks at the Obama Administration’s use of the Special Operations Command whose budget had doubled and mission has quadrupled in the past few years.

From the article :
http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/271557391
 

SEAL snipers on the fantail of the USS Bainbridge were in position to shoot the pirates. But with the covered lifeboat bobbing on the water, it was still difficult to get clean shots. They attached night-vision scopes to their rifles and waited. At one point, two of the pirates came into plain sight. The sharpshooters could see a third pirate through a window pointing his gun at Captain Phillips. Each sniper fired a single round, and it was over. Three shots, three dead pirates. A SEAL assault team boarded the lifeboat and took Phillips to safety…..