Special Operations News Update 20170925

Golden Knights jump from C-31A Troopship during 2017 Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show on September 22, 2017. (Photo by Lance Corporal Becky Calhoun, USMC)
Golden Knights jump from C-31A Troopship during 2017 Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show on September 22, 2017. (Photo by Lance Corporal Becky Calhoun, USMC)

SOF News Update for 20170925 – Overuse of SOF (NYTs), CNN’s ‘Legion of Brothers’, Marine’s SPMAGTF-CRA works with Spanish SOF, Marine’s first female infantry officer, Sep issue of CTC Sentinel, NSW officer assignment, suicides in the SOF force, training contract for Iraqi SOF, Marine Raiders and the 1942 Makin Raid, Iran’s Gray Zone strategy, training accident kills SFQC student, U.S. air strike against ISIS in Libya, GB Foundation Golf Classic, new GPS receivers for AFSOC, Green Beret to receive Medal of Honor, Kurdish independence referendum, Norway SOF and military assistance, French SOF casualty in ME, SOCSOUTH and hurricane relief, and more.

Overuse of SOF – NYTs. The Obama administration relied on special operations forces extensively throughout the world. The Trump administration is following the same path – some say to an even greater degree. While SOF is extremely effective in many situations there is a danger of wearing out the special operations force. Read more in “Special Ops Forces: How Elite Forces Became Military Muscle”, by Clyde Hamberman, September 25, 2017.

‘Legion of Brothers’ by CNN. A documentary that told the story of special forces units in the early days of the Afghan conflict aired on CNN Sunday, September 24th. The members of the ODAs that took part in the mission in the fall of 2001 provide insight on the operation to oust the Taliban regime.

Marine’s SPMAGTF-CRA Trains with Spanish SOF. U.S. Marines assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response Africa trained up with Spanish SOF in Spain. Most of the training, spanning more than 40 hours, was primarily in urban operations. Read “Shoot, Move, Communicate”DVIDS, September 11, 2017.

Marines First Female Infantry Officer. In September 2017 a female Marine officer completed the Infantry Officer Course and earned the infantry officer military occupational specialty. She is the first female officer to complete the course. The 13-week course started in July with 131 Marines and graduated 88 officers. Her follow-on assignment is to 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California.

CTC Sentinel for Sep 2017. The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has published its September edition of the CTC Sentinel. Articles on Hamza, AQ in Pakistan, youth radicalization, ISIS, and the Kurds provide some thoughtful reading!

NSW Officer Assignment. Navy Reserve Captain Richard Rodriguez has been selected for promotion to rear admiral (lower half) and will be assigned as deputy commander, Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego. He is currently serving as the chief of staff at Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti.

Two SOF Brothers – Two Deaths. The Wall Street Journal recently published a compelling story of twins who both joined the military and fought in the current Global War on Terrorism. One went with the U.S. Army Special Forces and the other with an elite unit of the Marines. Both died in the United States. Read “Brothers in Arms: The Tragedy in Small-Town America”WSJ, September 22, 2017.

Training Contract of Iraqi SOF. GovSource, Inc. of Reston, Virginia has been awarded a $7 million plus contract for training, material, and life support functions for Iraqi Special Operations Forces trainees at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center in Amman, Jordan.

Marine Raiders and 1942 Makin Raid. During World War II Marines set off at night from U.S. submarines to conduct a raid on a remote island base held by Japanese troops in the Pacific. A year later a movie was based on the unconventional military operation. The raid was judged a ‘success’ but . . . Read the story in The National Interest, September 16, 2017.

Iran Pushes Outward – Unconventionally. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are going through a years-long period of turmoil. Instability, regime collapse, civil wars, insurgencies, and /or terrorism can be found in almost every country. The are many sources of this turmoil but one bad apple in the region is doing its best to promote it – that would be Iran. The term gray zone has seen more and more use over the past few years. USSOCOM describes the Gray Zone as a place of competition between peace and war. The term applies to how Iran is conducting its strategy in the region. Read more in “Gray Zones in the Middle East”, by Nicholas Heras, Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Sepember 18, 2017.

Training Accident Kills Student in “Q” Course. A Soldier in the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) died during a training accident on Fort Bragg, NC on September 14th. SSG Alexander Dalida, of Dunstable, Massachusetts died during engineer training on the range. Several other people were injured; some severely. Read a news release by the U.S. Army – “Special Forces soldier dies during training”, September 14, 2017.

U.S. Hits ISIS in Libya. The U.S. military conducted six precision airstrikes against an ISIS desert camp located 150 miles southeast of Sirte, Libya on September 22nd (Friday). At least 17 militants were killed and three vehicles destroyed. The camp was used to move fighters in and out of Libya, stockpile weapons and equipment, and to plot and stage attacks. Read “U.S. Conducts Precision Strikes in Libya”U.S. Africom, September 24, 2017.

GB Foundation Golf Classic – Oct 1-2, 2017. The First Annual National Capital Region Green Beret Classic will be held on October 1-2, 2017 (Sun-Mon) at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia. The event will help fund the Green Beret Foundation’s mission to connect U.S. Army Special Forces Green Berets and their families with the resources needed for healing from injury, family support, and transition to life after service. Read more:

New GPS Receivers for AFSOC. The Air Force Special Operations Command has taken delivery of new anti-jam GPS receivers (DIGAR). (C4ISRNET, Sep 23, 2017).

GB Vietnam Vet to receive MoH. Gary Michael Rose served with U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam. He will soon be recognized with an award of the Medal of Honor for heroism during Operation Tailwind. See “47 years after Vietnam War secret mission, Green Beret to receive Medal of Honor”Stars and Stripes, September 20, 2017.

Kurdish Vote. The Kurds of Iraq are voting in a landmark referendum on independence from Iraq. Turkey, Iraq, Iran and the most of the international community (including the United States) are opposed to this move. The Iraqi parliament has urged the Prime Minister to move Iraq troops into ‘troubled areas’ to ‘protect citizens’. With the decline of ISIS in Iraq this was almost inevitable. More conflict ahead.

7th Group Soldier Killed in Auto Accident. SPC Roberg Gagnon was killed during a head on collision with another vehicle while traveling in Northwest Florida on September 17th (Sunday). Gagnon is from Exeter, New Hampshire and entered the Army in 2013. He was assigned to Group Support Battalion, 7th SFG(A). (Army.mil, Sep 21, 2017).

MA and Norway SOF. An article proposes new concepts in military assistance operations for future NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) through the eyes of Norwegian SOF. The article addresses how MA operations can enhance the strategic utility of NATO SOF while supporting specific Norwegian national strategic security objectives. Read the article posted in Small Wars Journal, September 25, 2017.

French SOF Casualty. A member of the French 13th Dragoons was killed on September 23, 2017 during a combat-related incident against the Islamic State. (CENTCOM, Sep 23, 2017).

SOCSOUTH and Hurricane Relief. A situational assessment team from SOCSOUTH is supporting Joint Task Force – Leeward Island’s aid response to areas hit by hurricanes in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The JTF-LI is an organization made up with members of all services from USSOUTHCOM. (Army.mil, Sep 20, 2017).

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