SOF News Update 20171113 – Language and culture training for the Army, medical care for 19th SFGA redeploying from Afghanistan is lacking, CANSOF and mental health challenges, Special Operations Policy Forum 2017, Drone Warriors, video on Afghan Special Service Forces, Americans in the French Foreign Legion, fighting wars one year at a time, History Channel’s “The Warfighters”, Green Beret to push a sled in Winter Olympics, more on death of SF NCO in Mali, CAIMAN course of Honduran Navy, and more.
DoD Identifies Army Casualty. The Department of Defense announced that Chief Warrant Officer 2, Lee M. Smith of the 101st Aviation Brigade died in a non-combat related incident at Camp Taji, Iraq on November 11, 2017. Read “DoD Identifies Army Casualty”, DoD, November 12, 2017.
RS HQs Video on ASSF. According to General Nicholson, the commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the upcoming fighting season (2018) will be a different. He cites the growth of the ANA Commandos, MoI’s Special Police Units, and the Afghan Air Force as ‘game changers’. Watch a 30-second long video published by Resolute Support Headquarters and posted on their YouTube.com account on November 11, 2017. www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIe1YDUYM_I
Language and Culture Training. Robert R. Greene Sands writes on the importance of conducting the right kind of training for Department of Defense personnel for language and culture knowledge. (Rosetta Stone Blog, Oct 19, 2017).
10th SFGA Soldier Will Push a Sled. An Olympic Bobsled hopeful is closed to achieving his Olympic dream. (Team USA, Nov 11, 2017).
CAIMAN Course – Honduras. A specialized course for elite military members is held at the Naval Training Center of the Puerto Castilla Naval Base in the bay of Trujillo, Honduras. The course was initially established in 2012 with assistance from U.S. Navy SEALs. The course graduates will then be utilized in high-risk missions against organized crime and drug trafficking. Read more in “Central American Naval Forces Receive Elite Antinarcotics Training”, Dialogo Military Magazine, November 8, 2017.
Possible Motive for Death of SF NCO in Mali? The story of the death of SSG Logan Melgar in Mali this past summer is intriguing as well as heart breaking. A recent news report suggests the SEALs currently under the microscope may have been pilfering funds and SSG Melgar found out. Read more in “Green Beret Discovered SEALs’ Illicit Cash. Then He Was Killed”, The Daily Beast, November 12, 2017.
History Channel’s “The Warfighters”. There are a lot of military dramas on TV this time of year – many of them about special operations units and missions. One of them is on the History Channel and rings true because of the advisors providing input. (TV OverMind, Nov 12, 2017).
Special Operations Policy Forum 2017. The New America organization is joining together with the University of Texas, Arizona State University, and the Global SOF Foundation to present the Special Operations Policy Forum 2017. The half-day seminar will focus on US Special Operations Forces (SOF) posture and policies – including security trends, impacts on modern warfare, and changing defense budgets. www.newamerica.org/conference/SpecialOps/
Drone Warriors. An interesting article about the men and women that control Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs) in that fly in combat zones from the safe garrisons of the U.S. Two writers take on the myth of RPA warriors engage in video game warfare rather than real warfare. One is a former AC-130U Gunship pilot and the other the widow of a Special Forces Soldier. Read “Avengers in Wrath: Moral Agency and Trauma Prevention for Remote Warriors“, Lawfare Blog, November 12, 2017.
Americans in the French Foreign Legion. For over 200 years the French Foreign Legion has been a way to escape a bad situation (divorce, debt, legal difficulties, etc.), gain a new identity, and to lead an adventurous life. In the past the Legion has seen many Americans in its ranks but the numbers have been declining lately. Today’s Legion in the 9,000 man unit undergo a rigorous background check prior to joining. Interested in joining? If you’re not over 40 this could be the life for you! Read “Americans struggle to meet the French Foreign Legion’s high bar”, Stars and Stripes, November 12, 2017.
Fighting Wars One Year at a Time. One constant was ever-present in Afghanistan and Iraq. When a new brigade or division moved in so didn’t its IT people who controlled the Network servers. Typically the unit returned to the states with its servers and the new unit set up its servers. If the servers did not get swapped out then it was not unusual for the servers to be ‘reformatted’ or ‘cleansed’ or ‘rearranged’. In this process, however form it took, historical records, reports, after action reports, lessons learned, and other important data and documents were lost. I was in Afghanistan 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 (as military and contractor). I saw this happen across the theater. Read more in “How the military is making it hard to remember our wars”, The Washington Post, November 10, 2017.
CANSOF and Mental Health Challenges. IEDs have taken their toll on Canadian special forces – causing TBI and PTSD injuries. Read more in “Out of the Shadows: Canada’s special forces face unique mental-health challenges”, The Province, November 9, 2017.
Post-Deployment Medical Care for 19th SFGA Lacking. Members of the 19th Special Forces Group are dissatisfied with the medical care they received at a demobilization station after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan. Read more “Back from combat, guardsmen feel slighted by Army medical care”, Army Times, November 9, 2017.