SFA Conference 2017 After Action Report (AAR)
The 2017 Annual Special Forces Association (SFA) Conference was held June 12-17, 2017 in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC. The North Carolina Special Forces Association (SFA) Chapters 1-18, 62, and 100 joined forces to host the 2017 SFA Conference.
The purpose of the conference was to provide an environment for fellowship as well as a forum for the exchange of ideas, information, and presentation of briefings for the Active, Reserve, National Guard, and retired Special Forces membership.
Every year the SFA Conference has a distinct theme. The 2017 theme was Unconventional Warriors: The Mission Continues. There were many events scheduled – some that are mentioned below:
Monday, June 12th. Registration at the Doubletree Inn, Vendor Room, Hospitality Room, and tour signup.
Tuesday, June 13th. Old timers may remember their time at Camp Mackall, North Carolina spent in tents and old tar paper shacks. Times have changed. Those who participated in the tour of Camp Mackall were introduced to very modern facilities and robust training environment now present at the Rowe Training Facility (RTF). At the hotel, the Vendor Room was open for viewing and a reception held at 1800.
Wednesday, June 14th. Some members enjoyed time at The Range Complex in Autryville, North Carolina including a fun shoot, slow-fire competition, and other firing range activities. The Mike Force picnic was held at the SFA National Headquarters site located on Doc Bennet Road, Fayetteville. In addition, some were fortunate to listen to a presentation by Wade Ishimoto on Operation Eagle Claw – the failed attempt to rescue hostages held in the American embassy in Tehran, Iran conducted April 1980.
Thursday, June 15th. The SFA Conference Golf Tournament was held at the Stryker Golf Course on Fort Bragg, NC. This event was sponsored by The Fayetteville Observer. In addition, there was a tour of the SOMTC.
Friday, June 16th. The SFA annual picnic was held on Friday in the afternoon at Paradise Acres in Hope Mills, NC and featured military exhibitions and precision parachute jumps.
Saturday, June 17th. A General Membership meeting was held at the Doubletree Inn. Many guest speakers were present. The banquet dinner was held on Saturday evening attended by some distinguished participants including MOH recipients, WW II 1st Special Service Force veterans, and a WW II Jedburgh veteran.
Hospitality Room. As always, no SFA Conference is complete without the “Hospitality Room” functioning for many hours each day. This convention was no exception with the Doubletree Inn Hospitality Room open every day and evening. (At one past SFA convention I was responsible for the ‘hospitality room’. Beer flowed from kegs 24 x 7. My wife kicked out all occupants every morning at 0500 to vacuum and clean the tables.).
Conference Vendors. The Vendor Room was located at the Doubletree Inn and open Monday through Saturday all day. Some of the booths included various SFA chapters, the Green Beret Foundation, O.A.S.I.S. Group, JFK Museum, SFA Memorial Building Fund, and other SF related commercial enterprises.
Conference Sponsors. The major conference sponsors included Budweiser, Military Benefit Association, USAA, The Fayetteville Observer, Special Forces Charitable Trust, Mercedes-Benz of Fayetteville, TigerSwan, and many others.
It’s Not All “Fun”; Some “Business” is Conducted! The annual conference is a time that is used to pass information about the past, current, and future activities of the SFA – as well as covering some administration and financial details.
Membership. Currently there are over 10,000 members. Over 100 members passed away in 2016. Some other former members have been dropped from the rolls due to non-payment of dues. The goal is to increase membership in 2017 by a thousand members or more.
Damage to SFA Headquarters. Hurricane Matthew of 2016 caused significant damage to the property at SFA HQs. The buildings, computers, and records were damaged and efforts are underway for restoring and repairing the damage.
The Drop remains the biggest expense for the Special Forces Association. Members wish to continue the print version and attempts will be made to reign in the costs of publication and mailing.
Scholarships will once again be provided by the Special Forces Association. The Special Forces Scholarship Fund (SFSF) awards merit-based post-secondary educational scholarships to the daughters and sons of current and veteran Special Forces Soldiers. You can learn more at www.specialforcesassociation.org/donations/scholarship-fund/
2018 Special Forces Association Convention. This next annual conference will be held in El Paso, Texas. It will be hosted by Chapter IX in El Paso in June.
For more information about the Special Forces Association, visit their website.
Michael Fuenfer, the Vice President of Special Forces Association Chapter 54 (Boston area), attended the 2017 Special Forces Association Conference. He provided an After Action Report (AAR) of the event to the Chapter 54 membership. In addition, he contributed much of the information contained in this article.