Sunday, November 8, 2015

SOF News

Green Beret Officer Retires After Cleared of Wrongdoing. A decorated Special Forces officer who was investigated by the Army for whistleblowing to Congress about the government's broke hostage-recovery process has retired from the U.S. Army. His retirement was held up by the Army while an ill-advised months-long investigation ensued. The investigation, a warrant-less and inane act of bureaucracy, finally cleared LTC Jason Armerine of wrongdoing. Armerine and his 12-man Special Forces team linked up with Hamid Karzai in the fall of 2001, defeated a number of Taliban formations in the field, and entered Kandahar as liberators. Three members of the operational detachment were killed during this timeframe. Karzai later became President of Afghanistan. Read more in "Green Beret investigated for whistleblowing retires", Army Times, November 2015.

50 SF Soldiers Heading to Syria as Advisors - but "It's not Combat"! Some U.S. special operations troops are going to be coordinating local fighter movements with U.S.-led coalition efforts against Islamic State militants. They will assist local Syrian forces (Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen fighters) in tactics, operational planning, and logistics. They probably will assist in controlling air support as well. But this is not "combat". Hmmm. Red more in "White House: No Combat Missions for US Troops in Syria", Voice of America, November 2, 2015.

Drones Continue Advisory Mission in Syria. US officials remain adamant that the increase of operations and air support in Syria do not indicate a change in US policy. White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest was emphatic when he said our ". . . drones are serving in a non-combat role". Read more in "Drones in Syria 'Serving Strictly in an Advisory Role'", Duffel Blog, November 2, 2015.

Failed SF Training Program for Syrian Moderates Cost $2 Million per Trainee. While the price tag may be an exaggeration certainly the program was not a success. Read more in "Pentagon's failed Syria program cost $2 million per trainee", USA Today,  November 5, 2015.

Retired SF LTC Comments on Syria Mission. In a guest commentary to The Denver Post, Mitch Utterback tells us the difference that 50 Green Berets on the ground in Syria can make. Read "Don't underestimate the power of U.S. special operations", November 2, 2015.

SF Working "Coffee Breath Close". An example of "advise and assist" going right can be found in the effort by SOCAfrica to reduce the threat from African warlord Joseph Kony. His force of 3,000 has been whittled down to about 200 hardcore fighters. Read more in "What the Syrian Train-and-Equip Effort Could Learn from US Ops in Africa"Defense One, November 2, 2015.

9th Commando Kandak Facility Under Construction. Versar, Inc. has received a $17 million construction contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support construction projects in Afghanistan. (UPI, Nov 3, 2015).

7th SFGA Memorial Wall. On Friday, Nov 6th 7th SFGA had a groundbreaking for the 7th SFGA Memorial Wall. (Stars & Stripes, Nov 6, 2015).

General Votel Interview. The commander of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in Tampa, Florida is interviewed. (, Nov 1, 2015.

JSOU Reading Lists. The Joint Special Operations University Library has posted their "Professional Military Reading Lists" for 2016; including the USSOCOM Cdr's favorites. Also, see AWN's reading lists for Afghanistan.

SOCOM Looks to Techno Future. The US Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida is always exploring new high tech ways of conducting special operations. Read more in "Socoms 'hackatohon' opens process of creating high-tech commando gear", The Tampa Tribune, November 4, 2015.

Cash Bonus for SOF NCOs. Special Forces Senior NCOs with a high DLPT score are now eligible for bonuses (CSRB) of up to $150K if they re-enlist from 24 to 73 months. Check out the pay graph with details at Military Times.

MSF Report on Hospital Attack. When SOF operators, supporting ANA SOF in the fight to retake Kunduz city, called in air support from an AC-130 on a hospital in Kunduz over 33 people were killed including many members of the medical staff of "Doctors Without Borders". MSF has published its Initial MSF Internal Review about the attack on the MSF Kunduz Trauma Center. Meanwhile, The Daily Beast has published an article on the incident - "Pentagon MIA on Afghan Doctors Without Borders Hospital Attack", November 3, 2015. Read also "U.S. Airstrikes in Kunduz destroyed more than a hospital", The Washington Post, November 4, 2015.

Book Review - The Lion of Sabray. An illiterate former Mujahedeen leader helped a survivor of a four-man SEAL reconnaissance element chased down by the Taliban. Lone Survivor is a book about Marcus Luttrell - a SEAL assisted by an Afghan villager. The Lion of Sabray is the story of the villager that helped Luttrell. Read a review of the book in a news story posted on Hampton, November 1, 2015.

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