Sunday, September 6, 2015

SOF News

U.S. SOF Rushed to Helmand Province. The northern part of Helmand province is experiencing some significant security issues. The districts of Kajaki, Musa Qala, Sangin, and Bahgran have seen some Taliban advances - including the capture of a couple of district centers. To help counter this deteriorating situation the American military has deployed about 90 special operations troops to Helmand province. Two were recently killed during a green-on-blue incident. The SOF troops were rushed to Camp Bastion shortly after the fall of Musa Qala district last week and reportedly have taken part in the recapture of the district center this past weekend. Read more in "US deploys 90 Special Operations troops in Helmand province", Khaama Press, August 30, 2015.

Retired SF Officer Killed in Afghanistan. Richard McEvoy was killed by a suicide bomber on Friday, August 22, 2015. He was working as a Program Manager with defense contractor DynCorp International in Kabul, Afghanistan. He grew up in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, graduated from West Point, served in the infantry to include Special Forces. He retired in 2008 as a Colonel (O6). Read more in a news report by Community Advocate, September 2015.

Green Beret sold down River by FBI? An SF officer who helped Hamid Karzai enter Kandahar in the early stages of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 is getting the short end of the stick because of an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Army. Read more in "Investigation clears Army of retaliating against Green Beret whistleblower, but scrutiny remains", The Washington Post, September 3, 2015. Read also "Why is the FBI Trying to Bury a Special Forces War Hero?", Newsweek, September 2, 2015.

Diversity in SOF. The U.S. SOF forces are disproportionately white and some folks are wondering why. One simple reason is the mandatory "must pass" rigorous swim test. If you are a non-swimmer you don't get in. There are other reasons as well. Black Soldiers tent to choose support units such as logistics and administration. Other barriers included high test scores (GT, etc.) and clean disciplinary records. Read "Special ops diversity woes dog Pentagon", USA Today, September 3, 2015.

Heroic Day in Afghanistan Detailed. SFC Brendan O'Connor crawled through a 14-inch ditch under heavy fire from the Taliban to save his injured men in a big fight in June 2006 in an area southwest of Kandahar. Read an account of the action that earned him the Distinguished Service Cross. (Task and Purpose, September 3, 2015).

Nerkh District Killings Investigation. In 2013 a Special Forces detachment based in Nerkh district, Wardak province was accused of being complicit in the disappearance and killing of residents of the district. Some reports indicate that as many as 18 Afghan civilians are missing. The incident caused a considerable amount of angst for the Special Forces leadership in the country to the extent that President Karzai ordered all SF teams out of Wardak province (a order later rescinded). The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) recently (Aug 15) reopened the investigation. However, there is distrust among Afghan citizens as to what the final outcome will be of the investigation. Read more in "Afghan villagers skeptical as U.S. reopens probe into 2013 killings"The Washington Post, September 1, 2015.

SOF and Their Toys. SOF units have used All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) extensively in Afghanistan - not only for base operations but to move to target areas or conduct reconnaissance in remote areas (and also to stay off IED-laden roads). SOF units are now going to get a more advanced ATV. Read more in "US special ops clinches deal for cutting-edge ATVs", Fox News, September 3, 2015.

Indiana to get NG SF Company. A National Guard Special Forces unit now stationed in Chicago is moving to Indiana in 2016. A/2/20th will move to Camp Atterbury. Read more in "Indiana National Guard to house Special Forces unit", Army Times, September 3, 2015.

SOF Flight Data Revealed on It interesting article on how you can track SOF air mission on an unclassified website. Read "How the US Periodically Reveals the Locations of Special Operations Missions", VICE News, August 31, 2015.

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