Current news, analysis, and commentary on special operations, national security, and conflicts from around the world.
PC-12s Now Called ‘Dracos’. The U18As of United States Special Operations Command are not going away and are now being called ‘Dracos’. Read “The Air Force’s Special Operations PC-12s Finally Have an Official Nickname”, The Drive – The Warzone, June 20, 2019.
DSC Awarded to Larry Hawks. MSG (Ret) Hawks was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on June 21st for valorous actions in 2005 while a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group serving in Afghanistan. The presentation was made by LTG Francis Beaudette, USASOC commander. Hawks had previously been awarded the Silver Star but it has been upgraded. Read “U.S. Army Special Operations Command to Present Distinguished Service Cross”, Arm.mil, June 20, 2019.
Gallagher Trial Takes Unexpected Twist. On Thursday, June 20th a witness for the prosecution dropped a bombshell during the trial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher. A Navy SEAL medic admitted that he killed the teenage Iraqi militant for which Gallagher was on trial. Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott was granted immunity by a judge in exchange for testimony for the prosecution. Needless to say, the prosecution is not very happy with this turn of events. (The Hill Defense Blog, June 20, 2019).
Superman Was a SEAL? It appears that the story line of Clark Kent is being revised. The upcoming comic Superman: Year One has a young Kent going through BUD/S. Read “So, Superman is a Navy SEAL Now”, Task & Purpose, June 17, 2019.
Votel Now with Harvard. General (Ret) Joseph Votel is now a Non-resident Senior Fellow with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. (Belfer Center, June 18, 2019).
CV-22’s. AFSOC’s fleet of CV-22’s is tough to maintain and readiness numbers are low. Read “Improving CV-22 Readiness Becomes Top SOF Priority”, Air Force Magazine, June 20, 2019.
Female Commando Promoted to BG. Brenda Cartier is now serving as the director of operations for Air Force Special Operations Command after being promoted to BG. (Defense Media Network, June 18, 2019).
Ukrainian Jaeger Brigade. The Ukraine Special Operations Forces will soon have a new unit established. The Jaeger Brigade will be responsible for security in an area referred to as the ‘Red Forest’. Read “Special Operations: East of the Red Forest”, Strategy Page, June 18, 2019.
Drone Shootdown. The DoD has provided scant details on the shooting down of a U.S. drone by the Iranians. Iran contends the UAW violated Iran’s air space while the U.S. says ‘not so’ – that it was over the Strait of Hormuz and fell into international waters. The drone is one of the more expensive ones – running more than $123 million a copy. The RQ-4 Global Hawk was shot down on June 20th. A DoD spokesperson briefed Pentagon reporters on the incident on Thursday. Eli Lake says that “The U.S. Has Lots of Options With Iran”, Bloomberg.com, June 20, 2019.
The Rescue of Dave Goldfein. The current chief of staff of the Air Force was shot down in Serbia in 1999. Air Force rescue teams and an SF team flew into denied territory on three helicopters to rescue him. Read his fascinating story in “Start finding me, boys”, Air Force Times, June 19, 2019.
Russian Military Advisors. Superpowers have long employed military advisors around the world to extend that country’s power and influence and to achieve national security goals. The U.S. has a long history of advisory efforts . . . but so does Russia. Read “The Art of Foreign Influence: the Russian Military Advisor”, Lima Charlie News, June 3, 2019.
WMD Terms and Clarity. The terms WMD, CBRNE, and CBRN are used by some interchangeably; however, they all have some distinct meaning. Read more in The Interagency’s ‘WMD’ Terminology Problem, The Simons Center, June 19, 2019, PDF, 8 pages.
Navy IW and CT. The Congressional Research Center has updated its paper entitled Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress, CRS, June 19, 2019, 60 pages.
SOFWOLF. The seventh year of Warrior Outdoor Leadership for the Future (WOLF) will take place July 8-14, 2019 in the Teton Wilderness of Wyoming. WOLF teaches leadership as “situationally appropriate action that directs or guides your group to set and achieve goals.” In 2019, SOFWOLF has opened up to all Gold Star families. The program is also looking for corporations to support its efforts. Learn more at the link below.
Books and Videos
Alone at Dawn. A retired air force combat controller has wrote a book about air force combat controllers and Air Force Master Sergeant John Chapman. Read more in “The Deadliest Man on the Mountain”, NWF Daily News, June 17, 2019.
Video: Oil Tanker Attacks Explained. A U.S. Navy explosive ordnance expert informs us about the attacks on the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Watch “Explosive Ordnance Expert Discusses Oil Tanker Attacks”, Defense.gov, June 20, 2019, 3 minutes.
Video: Italian Jumpers. For your jump video fix of the day watch a couple of Italians paratroopers conduct a free fall over Sardinia, Italy. (DVIDS, May 20, 2019).
Photo: Snipers – Long Precision 2019. U.S. Marine Corps Snipers with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa 19.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, participated in exercise Long Precision 2019 with Snipers from Spain, Italy, France, and the U.S. Army’s 173 Airborne Brigade June 10-21, 2019, at training areas near Uceda, Spain.
(U.S. Marine Corps, Lance Cpl. Gumchol Cho)