Showing posts with label special-forces. Show all posts
Showing posts with label special-forces. Show all posts

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Special Forces Soldiers KIA in Afghanistan Nov 3, 2016

Two Special Forces Soldiers KIA in Kunduz Battle. Two members of the 10th Special Forces Group died of wounds received during an engagement with the Taliban near the northern city of Kunduz, Afghanistan on November 3, 2016. CPT Andrew Byers and SFC Ryan Gloyer were based at Fort Carson, Colorado - the home base of the 10th SFGA.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

U.S. Special Forces Soldier KIA in Marjar, Helmand

Matthew McClintock
U.S. Army Photo
A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier was killed during fighting in Marja district of Helmand province on January 5, 2016. SSG Matthew Q. McClintock, age 30, of 1st Battalion 19th Special Forces Group was killed by small arms fire. His SFODA was accompanying an Afghan SOF unit in an advisory capacity when it encountered insurgents. Two other SF Soldiers were wounded in the engagement. One rescue helicopter was waved off due to enemy fire and another rescue helicopter was grounded with its crew in the vicinity of the attack due to fire received or a mechanical issue. Four Afghan Special Ops personnel were also wounded. News reports indicate it took several hours to evacuate the wounded special operators due to the intense fighting. McClintock was on his third combat tour. He had previously served with the 1st Cavalry Division and the 1st Special Forces Group. He leaves behind a wife and infant son.

News Reports on the incident:

"Casualty Report", USFOR-A News Release, January 5, 2016.

"Afghanistan conflict: US casualties on special forces mission"BBC News, January 5, 2016.

"DoD Identifies Army Casualty", DoD News Release, January 6, 2016.

"DoD identifies Special Forces soldier killed in Afghanistan", Army Times, January 6, 2016.

"Pentagon identifies Army Special Forces soldier killed in Afghanistan", The Washington Post, January 6, 2015.

Friday, April 24, 2015

COIN Strategy Doesn't Work?

James F. Jeffrey explains in the March/April 2015 issue of Foreign Policy "Why Counterinsurgency Doesn't Work". He says the problem is in the strategy, not the execution. Huh. I thought that the execution was faulty but the strategy was good. The author explores the counterinsurgency wars of the United States in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He says our military can get the "Clear, Hold" parts of "Clear, Hold, Build" counterinsurgency done; but that the civilian agencies (DoS, DoJ, DEA, USAID, etc.) of the United States government always seem to fall short in the 'nation building' arena of the conflict.

Jeffrey concludes the article with this:
"What, then, should U.S. policymakers do when faced with an insurgency? If possible, Washington should respond by backing friendly local forces. If not, it should accept the consequences of a victorious insurgency, contain its spread, and protect critical allies. But to embark on another U.S.-troop-centric counterinsurgency mission would do an injustice to the fine men and women who serve in the U.S. military".
Ah. So now I get it. COIN strategy can be broken into two different approaches.

One approach is the use of massive amounts of U.S. troops on the ground in a foreign nation attaining a sufficient force to population ratio conducting counterinsurgency (and doing the lion's share of the fighting - as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam). This type of COIN was endorsed in FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency,  2006. Some call this 'population-centric COIN."

A second approach is in the "By, With, and Through" methodology favored by U.S. Army Special Forces. This is where highly-trained Combat Foreign Internal Defense teams (C-FID) of twelve advisors are embedded with the indigenous host nation forces (at battalion and brigade level) to train, advise, and assist. In other words, let the host nation forces do the fighting (clear and hold) and the host nation (assisted by Civil Affairs teams and U.S. agencies) do the building. In a more hostile environment there may be the need for conventional FID teams (as in the SFAATs used in Afghanistan or the MiTTs in Iraq) to work in conjunction with SOF advisory teams.

So, in my view, it isn't the counterinsurgency strategy that is wrong - it is the approach and execution of that strategy.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

New Directive - Women in Army SOF

A new personnel directive, DA Directive 2015-08, signed by the U.S. Army directs more than 4,100 'enabler' positions to be open to women in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). Some of the open positions include Special Forces battalions and tactical psychological teams. There are more than 1,000 women currently assigned to USASOC. The directive does not open up positions closed to women in the Army in general; rather, it opens up positions in USASOC that are otherwise open to women across the Army as a whole. This directive does not put women into the Special Forces units as operators; but as staff, support, and 'enablers' at battalion level. They are not going to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). If assigned to a Special Forces unit they will wear the SF patch with the Airborne tab; but not the SF tab. Women have been serving in Civil Affairs and MISO units for nearly 20 years. Read more in "Directive opens 4,100 special ops positions to women", March 13, 2015.

Friday, March 6, 2015

U.S. Spec Ops Needs 5,000 Troops

A recent news article says that the United States special operations forces needs another 5,000 troops. There is a need for 3,000 Special Forces candidates this year alone. In addition, candidates are needed for Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs. There is a great need for both enlisted and officers. With the downsizing of the U.S. Army there is more reliance on special operations forces. There are some benefits in going Special Forces. Promotion rates are higher. Specialists and corporals who successfully complete the Special Forces Qualification Course will be automatically promoted to sergeant - based on the 1 1/2 year long course and leadership skills learned during the course. Soldiers must pass through the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) course prior to entering the Special Force Qualification Course (SFQC). Read more in "Spec ops needs 5,000 soldiers", Army Times, February 23, 2015.

Friday, January 9, 2015

LTG Mulholland to CIA

Lieutenant General John F. Mulholland Jr. has been selected to be the new Associate Director for Military Affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). LTG Mulholland has had a distinguished career in Special Forces. His unit, the 5th Special Forces Group, spear-headed the initial invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 weeks after the terrorist attack on 9/11. Over 300 of his SF operators along with 100 CIA operators linked up with the Northern Alliance and toppled the Taliban regime. Read more about his new job in a press release by the CIA dated January 7, 2015.

Monday, January 5, 2015

SF Combat Dive School Changes Unit Motto

The U.S. Army Special Forces Combat Dive School located at Key West, Florida has quietly changed its school motto. The motto - "I Can't Breath" - is now a phrase that is politically incorrect since the civil rights movement has adopted the phrase. Students who undergo training at the physically demanding course often find themselves in circumstances where they are short of breath - thus the origin of the phrase. Of course, the dive school used to be a hard school when students had to do "cross-overs" and "bobbing"; but that was before the school got easy. Reportedly, the Special Forces community is somewhat dismayed that one of their best school slogans has been hijacked. Special Forces training is one of the most rigorous in the world and the Green Berets are reluctant to have to change any aspect of their Special Forces culture. Read more about the change of the dive school motto in "Army Dive School Quietly Changes 'I Can't Breath' Unit Motto", Duffel Blog, January 4, 2015.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Special Forces Leaders Talk about Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan has lasted a long time and for members of the Special Forces community the country holds a special place in their lives. Many Special Forces Soldiers have completed six or more tours in the country. In a recent news article some Special Forces leaders chat about their commitment to Afghanistan. Read more in "Special Forces leaders say building friendships key in Afghanistan", Fayetteville Observer, December 15, 2014.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Green Berets Center Stage in Afghanistan

A reporter for the Fayetteville Observer, Drew Brooks, provides insight to the U.S. Army Special Forces mission over the past 13 years in Afghanistan. Read "Green Berets took center stage in war to rebuild Afghanistan" (December 14, 2014). In a related article special forces commanders comment on the sacrifice made by Special Forces in Afghanistan and answer the question "Was it worth it?"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Weapons of SOF

A detailed online posting describes the weapons issued and weapons of choice for the U.S. special operations community. The SOF of the U.S. receives extensive training and utilize a variety of weapons based on the mission at hand. Read more about the M4, SOPMOD 2, M3X, LA-5, EOTech 553, PEQ-2, M249, M240B, M2 .40 cal, Mossberg 500, M110 Sniper System, M67 grenade, flash bang, MP-5 SD3, and more in "The Weapons of Army Special Operations", Business Insider, December 4, 2014.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Interview - Author "Warrior Diplomat"

Mike Waltz, Green Beret, Afghan policy guy, and book author, is interviewed by Peter Bergen of New America on his book, Afghanistan, and how to move forward in the conflict. See the interview of the author of "Warrior Diplomat: A Green Beret's Battles from Washington to Afghanistan" that took place on December 4, 2014 and is now available for viewing on YouTube (1 hour 20 minutes - time well spent).

Friday, December 5, 2014

Special Forces Soldier Dies in Zabul Province

A Special Forces Soldier of 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group died of small arms fire on December 3, 2014 in Zabul province, southern Afghanistan. He was with his unit conducting a clearing operation at the time. SSG Ammerman enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2004. He served with the 509th Infantry Battalion (Alaska) and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq with that unit. He later served with the 69th Armor Regiment (Georgia). He volunteered for Special Forces in 2012. Details were released by ISAF, Army Times, and stateside newspapers. See a press release from United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Interview w/ Author of "Warrior Diplomat"

Peter Bergen, the director of the International Security Program of New America, will be interviewing Michael G. Waltz - the author of a recent book about Afghanistan. Waltz is a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army Special Forces (Reserve Component) and the author of Warrior Diplomat: A Green Beret's Battles from Washington to Afghanistan. Waltz deployed to Afghanistan three times with the Special Forces, worked as a policy advisor on counter-terrorism for Vice President Richard Chaney, and helped shape policy for Afghanistan at the Pentagon. The interview will take place on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm. If you click on "RSVP" at the link provided below you should be able to watch the video online.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UK SAS to Remain in Afghanistan

News reports indicate that the Brits are not leaving entirely! While they have (along with the U.S. Marines) vacated Helmand province they will still be engaged elsewhere. Certainly they will be found in the staff at ISAF and the regional TAACs as well as at "Sandhurst in the Sand". In addition, the Special Air Service (SAS) will continue to work along side U.S. special operations forces to conduct counter-terrorism operations. It is anticipated that about 100 SAS troops and military intel types will remain. See "SAS to remain in Afghanistan to target al-Qaeda", The Telegraph, November 14, 2014.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Special Warfare - Greater Emphasis Needed

According to Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 3-05, Special Operations, 31 August 2012, special warfare (page Glossary-7) is defined as:
"The execution of activities that involve a combination of lethal and nonlethal actions taken by a specially trained and educated force that has a deep understanding of cultures and foreign language, proficiency in small-unit tactics, and the ability to build and fight alongside indigenous combat formations in a permissive, uncertain, or hostile environment."
A recent online article on special warfare explores the need for the United States to refine and strengthen this capability. Some of the authors of the article include Dan Madden, Dick Hoffman, Michael Johnson, Fred Krawchuk, John Peters, Linda Robinson, and Abby Doll. Read "Special Warfare: The Missing Middle in U.S. Coercive Options", War on the Rocks, November 20, 2014. View other Irregular Warfare Publications.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Green Beret Dies in Kunduz Province

ISAF is reporting that a servicemember died as a result of an enemy forces attack in northern Afghanistan on Friday, November 14, 2014. According to a DoD news release and news accounts SFC Michael A. Cathcart, age 31, died from small arms fire during a dismounted combat operation in Kunduz province. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In addition to five tours in Afghanistan with Special Forces he had served two tours of duty in Iraq (2003 and 2005) with the 101st Airborne Division. He was the tenth Soldier from Special Forces to lose his life in Afghanistan in 2014.

Monday, November 3, 2014

19th SFGA NCO "Retired" Over Bikini Video

An NCO of the 19th Special Forces Group is being "retired" because he provided support to a United Kingdom firm that produces a "Wounded Warrior Calendar" that raises money for wounded U.S. and British solders. The NCO, who was also wounded during a deployment (receiving a Purple Heart), assisted in the photo shoots for the 2015 "Hot Shots Calendar" by providing access to a National Guard military installation and some equipment (vehicles). Most of the video and calendar photos were actually produced on the property of a private gun club utilizing the facilities, equipment, and weapons of the private shooting range. The company that produces the calendar donates proceeds toward wounded British and American veterans. In an older (not so politically correct) Army this sort of patriotic behavior was encouraged (and enjoyed by the male members of the military). But the times have changed (unfortunately for us older Soldiers who remember the good times) and our military leaders are much more politically correct now. It would have been great to see the NG leadership in Utah to stand up to the Utah politicians and state that the NCO was just doing his part in the overall fight but it seems they caved very quickly on this issue. Seems to me he was just putting his Special Forces training to good use! Read more in "Utah National Guard disciplines four servicemen over bikini-model video", Yahoo! News, November 2, 2014.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

SF Team Leader Criticize ANA Performance

Here is some earth shattering news. It appears that the performance of the Afghan National Army (ANA) is not up to par. At least that is what a Special Forces team leader is reportedly saying according to some news reports. The report is tied to an unfortunate "friendly fire" incident by a B1 bomber that killed five U.S. servicemen. An after action review found several procedural problems that contributed to the incident. Read "Army Green Berets reportedly criticize performance of Afghan army troops", Fox News, October 27, 2014.

19th SFGA Punished for Helping UK Wounded Warriors

It appears that members of the 19th Special Forces Group of the Utah Army National Guard are under investigation for their participation in a project to aid wounded warriors from the United Kingdom military services. The project sells calendars online to raise money for the benefit of wounded UK service members. Some of the Utah state politicians don't see that as a noble cause; instead focusing on some rules and regulations that may have been broken. The head of the Utah Army National Guard says that an investigation is in progress. Let's hope they focus in on the big picture; that the Guardsmen were supporting a worthy cause. The fact that the calendar's are featuring some very attractive women from the UK has some of the female legislators in Utah miffed. Read more in "Police, Guard members face penalties in risque bikini film shoot", Stars and Stripes, October 24, 2014.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

19th Special Forces Group Doing Its Part

The U.S. Army Special Forces has a unique set of missions that set it off from the rest of the Army in general. This mission set is very arduous and complicated requiring intense Special Forces training to ensure that the SF Soldiers meet the highest standards and are ready to tackle almost any mission it is confronted with. Special Forces tend to be very unconventional; of course, Unconventional Warfare (UW) is one of their primary missions. As a result of their extensive training and the ability to think and operate "outside the box" they tend to break some of the rules just a little bit from time to time. This is true while deployed in a war zone, operating overseas on training exercise, or while at home station cooling their heels between war zone deployments (of which there are many). SF Soldiers also like to take care of their own and others - especially the wounded from the long-running wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

The 19th Special Forces Group, a unit that probably has deployed each of their members to Afghanistan or Iraq at least four or five times in the past 13 years, has probably gotten itself into "hot water" in assisting a very worthy cause - called "Help for Heroes" - which is an organization dedicated to helping wounded veterans from the United Kingdom. Some young women from the United Kingdom were looking for a location to shoot some photos that will appear in a calendar that will raise money for needy wounded war veterans. The 19th Special Forces Group heroically stepped up to the plate to assist. However, it appears that some "naysayers" are casting doubts on the wisdom of providing this assistance to fellow wounded veterans from across the pond (the same ones that have their SAS chaps in Afghanistan and Iraq (in the fight against ISIS) working alongside us at the moment). Seems there are some pouty pusses out there that have their panties in a wad who not happy with 19th SFGA and they are pushing for an investigation. You can watch a video on YouTube that provides some behind-the-scenes "scenery" on the photo shoot for the Hot Shots 2015 calendar, If your interested in the calendar you can learn more here at Myself? I give a tip of the hat to 19th Special Forces Group!