Special Operations News Update – August 8, 2023

Naval Special Warfare Conducts Training with Croatian Partners

Curated news, analysis, and commentary about special operations, national security, and conflicts around the world.

Photo / Image: A East-coast-based U.S. Naval Special Warfare Operator (SEALs) performs a high-altitude low-opening jump during bilateral training with Croatian special forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katie Cox, Zadar, Croatia, June 9, 2023)

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SOF News

Passing of Gen Lindsey. The first commander of U.S. Special Operations Command has passed away at age 90 – retired General James J. Lindsey served nearly four decades in the U.S. Army. He was a former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, 18th Airborne Corps, and the 82nd Airborne Division. He entered the Army in 1952 as a private. (The Fayetteville Observer, Aug 7, 2023). He was also one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM).

Combat Diver Competition. The Special Forces Underwater Operations (SFUWO) School, C/2/2 SWTG(A), will host the 2023 Combat Diver Competition at their facility in Key West, FL on 24-28 September 2023. The format will be a three-day combat diving and maritime-focused competition, followed by a day for MAROPS CAPEX/Mod Demo and SFUWO led discussion on ARSOF’s future role in the Maritime Domain. Competitors will be challenged both mentally and physically to determine the best combat buddy pair across USASOC, NSW, MARSOC, and AFSOC.

Big Changes for AFSOC. The Air Force Special Operations Command’s new network of ‘power projection wings’ are starting to form up. The Air Force’s special operations branch is reshaping how it is organized for overseas missions. “Here’s how Air Force special ops ‘power projection wings’ will work”, Air Force Times, August 3, 2023.

New Job for Chris Miller. A retired Special Forces officer and former acting secretary of defense is taking on a new role at a portfolio company of a private investment firm. “Christopher Mller Named Interim Chief Revenue Officer at DZYNE Techologies”, GovConWire, August 7, 2023.

SF CSM now SGM of the Army. Command Sergeant Major Michael Weimer is now the senior enlisted of the U.S. Army. He has spent his entire Army career in Special Forces – with much of that time in Delta Force. “Army’s New Enlisted Leader: The Bet a Green Beret Can Lead the Rank and File”, Military.com, August 4, 2023.

Becoming a SEAL – Easier for Officers? According to one former SEAL, the Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/S) training is more difficult to complete for enlisted personnel than for officers. The Navy is reporting a 39% attrition rate for officers and 79% for enlisted over a five-year period. Read more in “Why Do Officers Have a Higher Success Rate Than Enlisted Men at Becoming Navy SEALs?”, SANDBOXX, August 2, 2023.

New Navy Ship Named After Navy SEAL. Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Carlos Del Toro announced today that a future Navajo-class Towing, Salvage, and Rescue (T-ATS) ship will be named in honor of Solomon Atkinson, a pioneering Navy SEAL and an Alaskan Native of the Metlakatla Indian Community, Annette Islands Reserve. (DVIDS, Aug 7, 2023).

CA JCET and MEDCAP in Benin. Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) forces partnered with the Benin Armed Forces during a Civil Affairs Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) that concluded July 20, 2023, in Cotonou, Benin. The U.S. Army’s 91st Civil Affairs Battalion collaborated with their Beninese partners to conduct this JCET and a separate Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) engagement that immediately followed. “U.S. Special Operations Command Africa partners with Benin Forces in Civil Affairs Engagement”, DVIDS, August 4, 2023.

Australian SOF and Navy SEALs Train Together. U.S. Naval Special Warfare (NSW) forces deployed in support of U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific participated in Exercise Talisman Sabre from July 17 to August 3, 2023. NSW forces worked alongside Australian special operations forces (SOF) from the Army’s 2nd Commando Regiment. “U.S. Navy SEALs, Australian Special Forces Conclude Talisman Sabre 2023”, DVIDS, August 4, 2023.

SOF History Banner

SOF History

On August 6, 1756, General Howe authorized Robert Rogers to raise a battalion of Rangers for service with the British Army.

On August 6, 2011, a U.S. Chinook helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, was shot down by the Taliban resulting in 38 deaths (30 Americans and 8 Afghans). There were no survivors. Of the U.S. fatalities were Navy SEALs who were part of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU). Five U.S. Army helicopter crewmen also perished. One U.S. military working dog also died in the crash.

On August 10, 1944, Lt. John “Jack” Singlaub, a member of the Jedburgh teams, to work with the French Resistance fighters or Maquis groups.

Recon Team Kansas and a MoH. A Special Forces soldier who served with Military Assistance Command Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) inserted into enemy-held territory on the Laotian border. He died during that mission. “Medal of Honor Monday: Army Capt. Lorean D. Hagen”, DoD News, August 7, 2023.

Ukraine Russia Conflict

Ukraine Conflict

Slow Progress for Ukraine Counteroffensive. Russian defences have taken their toll on Ukrainian lives and equipment. After several weeks of hard fighting the Ukrainian forces have had limited success. Hopes that a counteroffensive would quickly put Ukrainian forces on the coast of the Sea of Azov are diminished. Thus far, the gains made have been done as a result of a grinding process that has taken a lot of time.

U.S. Tanks Going to Ukraine. The 31 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks the U.S. promised to Ukraine have been refurbished and are now ready for delivery. “M1A1 Abrams Tanks Approved for Shipment”, The Drive War Zone, August 7, 2023.

Former UK SAS Conducts Training in Ukraine. Details of United Kingdom training of Ukrainian special operations forces are described in “Former British Special Forces Instructor Now Training Ex-Soldiers How to Fight in Ukraine”, Kyiv Post, August 6, 2023.

Two Americans Died in Ukraine in July. Last month two U.S. military veterans, one Army and one Marine, died in fighting while serving with Ukrainian military forces. This brings the total of Americans who have died in Ukraine since February 2022 to at least 16. “2 US military veterans killed in Ukraine during intense fighting”, Task and Purpose, August 3, 2023.

Banner National Security

National Security

IW and MAVNI Recruitment. The importance of language skills used in developing rapport and effective advising of partner forces cannot be overstated. The U.S. military is missing the boat in not leveraging the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) that was established in 2008 but that ended several years later. “For More Effective Irregular Warfare, Bring Back the MAVNI Recruitment Program”, by Hope Hodge Seck, Irregular Warfare Initiative, August 4, 2023.

Border Crisis. The movement of migrants from South America, transiting Central America, and crossing the U.S. southern border has increased dramatically the last few years. One of the most dangerous spots along this travel route is the Darien Gap (Wikipedia) – the border area between Colombia and Panama. The United Nations is projecting a significant increase in migrants crossing the Darien Gap in 2023. There is an anticipated increase of registered transits (source Panana National Migration Service) from less than 50,000 in 2019 to over 400,000 in 2023. The increased movement of people attempting to enter the United States is resulting in businesses and criminal groups turning big profits. Read more in “The Predatory Economy Thriving in Panama’s Darien Gap”, by Will Freeman, America’s Quarterly, July 27, 2023. See also a Congressional Research Service publication on Border Enforcement, IN12216, August 7, 2023, PDF, 4 pages.

Help Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel with spine injuries receive the healthcare options, education, and care they need.

26th MEU (SOC). The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) have arrived in the Middle East Area of Responsibility.  They got there August 6th, and this is part of a preannounced DOD deployment. Iran has been stepping up their naval activities – harassing and seizing maritime vessels. The 26th may be engaged in some countermeasures to confront the Iranian activities.

Taliban Interference in UN Aid Progreams. The Taliban is increasing its influence over aid organizations working in Afghanistan, including programs managed by the United Nations, a U.S. government report warned. “Taliban Increasingly Influencing UN-Managed Aid Programs”, RFERL, August 8, 2023.

Niger Update. The military junta that took power in Niger (SOF News, Aug 2, 2023) has ignored an ultimatum by other West African nations to free the ousted president and restore the democratic government. A bloc of African nations known as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened military action. Some nations, Nigeria being one of them, have moved troops to Niger’s border. The U.S. has 1,100 troops on two bases in Niger. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met with several of the coup leaders in Niger (DoS, Aug 7, 2023); but with no apparent resolution of the situation – the talks described as frank and difficult. The ‘new’ Niger government has requested more than 1,000 French troops to depart their country.

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Upcoming Events

August 12, 2023
11th Special Forces Group Reunion
Fort Meade, MD

September 18-23, 2023
5th Special Forces Group Reunion

September 24-28, 2023
Combat Diver Competition
Special Forces Underwater Operations School

October 3, 2023
2023 Virtual MOG Mile
Three Rangers Foundation

October 16-20, 2023
Special Operations Association

Books about Special Forces Training

Books, Pubs, and Reports

Sentinel. The August 2023 issue of the Sentinel is now posted online. Some great reading about past and current Special Forces events. Two authors write AARs on the Special Forces Association Annual Convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana in May 2023. There are articles about Wounded Heroes of America, the first Afro-Native American who was a MAC-V Reconda advisor (Vietnam), two book reviews, and an account of the attack on FOB 4 (Vietnam) where large number of Green Berets were killed. (PDF, 20 pages). https://www.specialforces78.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/0823-Sentinel-News.pdf

Book – Jon Robert Cavaiani: A Wolf Remembered. A new book about a Special Forces NCO who spent years as a POW during the Vietnam War is a powerful memoir that pays tribute to the extraordinary life of soldier Jon Cavaini. Written by Michael B. Evers and John Siegfried, this book takes readers on a captivating journey through Jon’s remarkable experiences as a warrior, highlighting his unwavering courage, dedication, and sacrifice. Available on Amazon.com.


SOFCAST. United States Special Operations Command

The Pinelander. Blacksmith Publishing

The Indigenous Approach. 1st Special Forces Command

Irregular Warfare Initiative

Irregular Warfare Podcast. Modern War Institute at West Point

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SOF News provides news, analysis, commentary, and information about special operations forces (SOF) from around the world.