Special Operations News Update 20190710

USSF attached to SOTF-A sets fire to field of marijuana in Afghan drug lab. Sep 12, 2016. (photo by Sgt Connor Mendez, NSOCC-A).

SOF News Update 20190710 – Current news, analysis, and commentary on special operations, national security, and conflicts from around the world. GBs training NATO in W.V., Iran’s terror networks, Navy SEAL trial, Mark VI boat, SOFIC, Gray Zone, Russia, urban conflict, and more.

SOF News

Funeral for CW4(R) McCoy. A funeral for Christian McCoy was held on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. McCoy was a former U.S. Army Special Forces warrant officer (180A) who was recently killed in Afghanistan while working as a contractor in support of 10th Special Forces Group. Read more about the funeral services held for Christian McCoy.

SF Trains with NATO in W.V. Soldiers from Eastern Europe are working with the 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group to refine military skills. Read “Green Berets train Polish, Latvian resistance units in West Virginia”, Army Times, July 8, 2019.

Gallagher Acquitted – but There are Questions. The Navy’s prosecution team committed a series of errors that prevented a conviction of the Navy SEAL. (Stars and Stripes, July 8, 2019.

Navy’s Mark VI. The Mark VI patrol boat is a replacement for the Riverine Command Boat. Read more in “The US Navy’s Riverines are up-gunned, high tech and ready to lean into great power competition”, Defense News, July 8, 2019.

Ross Perot Died. The long-time supporter of Special Forces passed away at the age of 89 on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. He paid for statues honoring Bull Simons, Dick Meadows, and others. Many times he came to the aid of SF soldiers needing recovery from war wounds. Perot was a self-made billionaire and philanthropist who was a two-time independent presidential candidate. He died after a five-month battle with leukemia. (Dallas Morning News, July 9, 2019).

SF Family Deals with Moldy Quarters at McDill. A Special Forces major recently reassigned to Tampa is coping with sub-standard quarters. (Breitbart, July 9, 2019).

SF and Cardiac Signatures. U.S. Special Forces requested the ability to identify people by detecting their unique cardiac signature with an infrared laser. (MIT Technology Review, June 27, 2019).

7th SFGA at Red Flag. A 7th group team participated in Red Flag Rescue – one of the world’s biggest air combat training exercises. See “U.S. special forces rehearse air assault missions at Camp Navajo”, Williams News, July 9, 2019.

SOCOM and the Keto Diet. Some news outlets reported that USSOCOM was contemplating instituting the keto diet for combat divers. Gone would be meals of beer and pizza in an attempt to allow divers to stay longer underwater. However, a spokesman for the special operations command in Tampa say “Not so!”. Read more in “SOCOM does not envision mandatory keto diet for SEALs or others”, Stars and Stripes, July 9, 2019.

Peruvian Troops Receive Training. Members of the West Virginia Army National Guard (including 2/19th SFG) provided areomedical evacuation training for medical experts of the Peruvian Armed Forces in Lima, Peru. (DVIDS, July 9, 2019).

Reporting on SOFIC. The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC 2019) took place in Tampa, Florida recently and hundreds of exhibitors clamored for press attention. Read an amusing and enlightening article by Stew Magnuson about how defense industry conferences are highlighted in the news media. See “Why I Didn’t Stop by Your Conference Booth”, National Defense Magazine, July 8, 2019.

SOF History

A Return to Vietnam. A Special Forces veteran of the Vietnam War retraces his steps. See “After 45 years, Green Beret faces his past in Vietnam”, We Are the Mighty, July 9, 2019.

Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage. On July 12, 2019, the Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum will open a new exhibit entitled “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage”. It details the recovery of over 2,700 historic items relating to the Jewish community in Iraq by 16 U.S. Army soldiers in May 2003.

Wild Schemes of the OSS. The early days of the Office of Strategic Services were marked by colorful hires and wild schemes. Read up on some of the wild antics of the predecessor to the U.S. Army’s Special Forces in “The Bizarre Ways America’s First Spy Agency Tried to Overthrow Hitler”, The Atlantic, July 9, 2019.

Middle East

More SAS Troops for Syria. The United Kingdom is getting ready to send more troops from the Special Air Service to Syria – according to recent news reports. (Mirror, July 9, 2019).

Iranian Terror Network Expansion. A news report states that Iran is actively setting up terror and intelligence networks in Europe and Africa. Read “Iran’s New Global Terrorist Network”, Gatestone Institute, July 9, 2019.

UAE Reducing Presence in Yemen. The United Arab Emirates have pulled forces from Hodeidah – a port city in Yemen. It is also conducting a withdrawal of forces from other parts of the country.

NATO and “the Bear in the Backyard”

Russia, Energy, and Hybrid Warfare. A Special Forces NCO provides some insight on the past and future use of energy market manipulation by Russia to achieve ‘warlike’ goals. Read “The Impact of Russian Energy on Europe”, Small Wars Journal, July 9, 2019.

Russia’s Killer Drone Swarms. The use of small drones in large numbers that are fast and pack a lethal payload could overwhelm enemies in future conflicts. Read “The Russian Army is Developing Killer Drone Swarms“, Popular Mechanics, July 8, 2019.

Paper, Reports, and Books

Book – Secret Air War in Laos. A retired Special Forces colonel – Joe Celeski – has a new book out entitled Special Air Warfare and the Secret War in Laos. It is published by the U.S. Air University Press (July 9, 2019, 518 pages).

Blood and Concrete. The folks at Small Wars Journal have published a book available on Amazon.com entitled Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities, July 2019. This anthology documents over a decade of writings on urban conflict.

CSIS Gray Zone Report. A group of defense analysts have collaborated on a 51-page report entitled By Other Means: Part I: Campaigning in the Gray Zone, Center for Strategic & International Studies, July 8, 2019.

Book Review – The New Rules of War. Sean McFate’s new book The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder (2019) is reviewed by Ajai Shukla. Read Fighting in the Shadows, Business Standard (India), July 8, 2019.


Wars and Exit Strategy. Former Green Beret Kevin Flike provides his thoughts on a future war with Iran. Read “America facing a third war with no exit strategy”, The Boston Globe, July 8, 2019.

The Failure of COIN. Arthur Stein, a French researcher affiliated with the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies at the University of Montreal, says that dialogue among combatants is preferable to the failure of counterinsurgency. Read “Counter-insurgency: the failed conflict resolution strategy that the West won’t let die”, Open Democracy, July 8, 2019.

‘Gray Zone’ – and its place in the Conflict Spectrum. Andrew Taffer, a research analyst, looks at the term ‘Gray Zone’ and offers some clarification. Read “Persistent Problems with the Gray Zone and an Old Way Forward”, Foreign Policy Research Institute, July 8, 2019.

Videos and Podcasts

DTRA Video. A 4 minute long video that premiered on May 7, 2019 explains the role and mission of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).

AFSOC’s U-28A. The Air Force Special Operations Command operates a fleet of U-28A’s. The aircraft has now been officially called the “Draco”. Watch a 30 sec video clip entitled AFSOC names U-28A “Draco”, 1st SOW PA DVIDS, July 8, 2019.

AC-130U Retirement. The Spooky gunship will soon retire as it is being replaced by the AC-130J Ghostrider. Watch a short video (2 min) of the final AC-130U returning from its last scheduled combat deployment. (DVIDS, July 8, 2019).

Podcast – Battle for Mosul. Mike Giglio, a national security correspondent for The Atlantic, embedded with Iraqi special forces (a battalion with the Golden Division) when the Mosul offensive kicked off in late 2016. Mike is interviewed by Defense One Radio, July 5, 2019 in this 36 minute long podcast.


Photo: A U.S. Special Forces soldier attached to Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan (SOTF-A) sets fire to a field of marijuana found outside of a compound housing a drug lab. Action took place in Ghorak district, Helmand province. (photo by Sgt Connor Mendez, NSOCC-A, September 12, 2016).

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