Special Operations News Update 20181113

Marine helicopter in Trident Juncture 2018 - November, 2018 Defense Media

SOF News Update 20181113 – Afghan Commandos take casualties, Afghan peace talks, 7th SFGA and Warfighter 19-02, drone warfare, “Yukon Journey”, Australia’s Victoria Cross and the SAS, forgetting COIN . . . again, SDF resumes operations against IS, and more.

“It is my duty as a pararescueman to save lives and to
aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform
my assigned duties quickly and efficiently,
placing these duties before personal
desires and comforts. These things I do, that
others may live.” (
The Pararescue Creed)

SOF News

7th SFGA and Warfighter 19-02. Members of the 7th Special Forces Group are participating in a multi-week training simulation exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas this month. The exercise incorporates units from several bases. 7th SFGA is key to ensuring conventional and SOF integration and interoperability in the exercise which involves over 1,000 military personnel. (7th SFGA DVIDS, Nov 8, 2018).

Death of 7th SFGA Soldier in Training. Specialist Nicholas Jividen of the 7th Special Forces Group died during a training accident on Tuesday, November 6th at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. Not much news has come out on the cause of the accident. Jividen was a Signal Intelligence Analyst. See “7th Group soldier dies in training accident”Panama City News Herald, November 11, 2018. See also a news release by 7th SFGA.

“Wounded by War”. A 1st SFGA soldier, Kevin Flike, was shot in Afghanistan and had a hard road to recovery. Now he has a documentary out to describe his ordeal. His film debuts on Tuesday in downtown Boston and proceeds will benefit the Green Beret Foundation. (Patriot Ledger, November 9, 2018).

“21 Years – A Folded Flag”. Richard Fitts, a Green Beret, went missing in action in Laos in 1968 during the Vietnam War. It took decades to find and recover his body. Fitts’ son has collaborated with a film maker to tell the story of his father’s service and the mission that killed him as well as the son’s own quest to learn his family’s legacy. See “Veteran documentary showing in Quincy highlights a family legacy”The Patriot Ledger, November 9, 2018.

Australia’s Victoria Cross and the SAS. There are only 100 men who have received the Australia’s highest honor over the past 100 years. Only four are living of which two are former SAS. Read “The four faces of Australian courage that inspire a nation”The Australian, November 10, 2018.

Pararescue Opns in Afghanistan. Read up on the specialized unit that provides personnel recovery in Afghanistan in “No one left behind: Airmen train as elite personnel recovery teams” 455th AEW DVIDS, November 10, 2018.

South Asia

Afghan Commandos Take Casualties. One of the ‘talking points’ of Resolute Support HQs is that the Afghan Commandos have never lost to the Taliban on the battlefield. Recent news coming out of Ghazni may put a damper on such claims. Read “Afghan Forces Suffer Scores of Casualties in Heavy Fighting”, Voice of America, November 12, 2018. See “Taliban routs commando company in one of Afghanistan’s most secure rural districts”Long War Journal, November 12, 2018.

Conflict in Farah Province. The Taliban have killed numerous members of the Afghan Local Police and captured a lot of equipment and weapons with which to conduct future operations.

Peace Talks in Russia. Several nations attended a peace conference hosted by the Russians. The Taliban said that they are ready to meet with US officials to discuss the removal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. They say that once that is accomplished (withdrawal of foreign troops) that they would be ready to talk with Afghan government officials on the way forward to establishing peace in Afghanistan.

Drone Warfare. Asfandyar Mir, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, argues that the drone campaign in Pakistan has proven highly effective at degrading al Qaeda and other insurgent groups. But he notes that good intelligence and a rapid-response in decision and execution is needed for an effective drone campaign. (Lawfare, Nov 11, 2018).

Middle East

Syria. The fight resumes . . . the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) is resuming its offensive against the Islamic State in eastern Syria. The SDF had halted operations after threats from Turkey against the Kurdish-held enclave. (Voice of America, Nov 11, 2018).

Operation “Yukon Journey”. The secret operation (okay, . . . maybe not so secret) to assist (refueling, intelligence, equipment, and a sprinkling of SOF) the Saudi regime’s war against the rebel factions in Yemen has a code name. And, apparently, so secret components to the operation. Read “Pentagon launched new classified operation to support Saudi coalition in Yemen”, Yahoo.com, November 10, 2018.

National Defense & Military News

CT Strategy Flawed. Jodi Brignola argues that the recent release of the new National Strategy for Counterterrorism (NSCT) in October, 2018 reveals some serious flaws in the Trump administrations CT strategy. See “The Fatal Flaws in the Trump Administration’s Counterterrorism Strategy”Georgetown Security Studies Review, November 10, 2018.

“The White House needs to reevaluate the terrorist threats our nation faces and how to both classify and prevent them. Failure to address the fundamental causes of radicalization will ensure that there are many more terrorists with sights set on attacking the homeland.”

Forgetting COIN Again. Steven Metz writes about how we are leaving counterinsurgency behind us in “The U.S. Is Again at Risk of Abandoning the Lessons of Counterinsurgency”World Politics Review, November 9, 2018.


1st Air Commandos – Interview. Retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole, now 103 years old, flew “the hump” – the Himalaya Mountains – supplying US troops in China during World War II. This air unit was called the 1st Air Commandos. Watch this 12-min long video entitled “Launching the 1st Air Commandos: An Interview with 103-Year-Old Dick Cole”, Air Force Magazine, November 8, 2018.

Cadets Get a Lesson in Being Original, 10th SFGA DVIDS, November 1, 2018. Air Force Academy cadets visited 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson, Colorado. (2 mins).

Cooking for the Warfighter, 7th SFGA DVIDS, November 7, 2018. In this 30-second video clip Private Allen Rabb, a culinary specialist talks about his job while support troops on an exercise.

First on the Ground: Meet America’s Gray Berets, KIDY10 TV, November 11, 2018. This one minute long video features the training of the special operations weather technicians.

Trident Juncture 2018: NATO’s Biggest Exercise in Decades, NATO, November 9, 2018. The largest exercise held in years – Trident Juncture – has concluded in Norway. Watch a 1-min long video about the event.


Photo: Marine helicopter in Trident Juncture 2018 – November, 2018 Defense Media

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