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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:48 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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SAS to be deployed in Afghanistan
Last updated 18:26 10/08/2009

The Government has made the "difficult" decision to send Special Air Services (SAS) troops back to Afghanistan, Prime Minister John Key announced today.

The deployment will be the fourth of SAS troops, and a commitment has been made to maintain about 70 personnel for up to 18 months, in three rotations.

"It's a difficult decision. There's no getting away from the fact that Afghanistan is a dangerous place," Mr Key said.

He said the deployment would be in the "foreseeable future" but kept with convention in refusing to say when, or where, the elite troops would go.

Parallel to the SAS deployment would be the gradual withdrawal of the Defence Force's 140-strong provincial reconstruction team (PRT), which has been in Bamyan province since 2003.

The PRT would be withdrawn during the next three to five years and by the time it left, New Zealand would have had a presence in Afghanistan for 14 years.

Afghanistan remained an unstable place but Mr Key did not believe it was any more dangerous now than during previous SAS deployments.

"I don't think you can eliminate that there is a real risk to the people that we're deploying there, just as there actually is, I think, quite a significant risk to the 140 personnel that we have in Bamyan Province," he said.

"But I wouldn't call, on the advice that I have, the likelihood that this rotation could be more dangerous than previous rotations, not withstanding that Afghanistan is an increasingly dangerous place."

The United States had made repeated requests for the SAS to return to Afghanistan.

Mr Key met a senior US representative at last week's Pacific Islands Forum and "gave them an indication that it was likely this decision would be reached".

"I think that they are supportive, obviously, and grateful that New Zealand is playing its part."

The Green Party has raised concerns in Parliament about the controversial handing over in 2002 of Afghan prisoners by New Zealand troops to US forces who allegedly mistreated them.

Mr Key today said the SAS would be most likely to hand any detainees over to Afghan authorities.

"Like New Zealand, Afghanistan is a party to the Geneva Convention," he said.

"New Zealand has already received an assurance from the Afghan government that all transferred detainees will be treated humanely according to these conventions and international law."

Mr Key also announced today there would be greater New Zealand civilian involvement in Afghanistan, particularly in agriculture, health and education sectors.

An ambassador would be appointed to support that work, based in Kabul.

Labour leader Phil Goff said his party did not support the SAS deployment as it believed the way to win the conflict was by winning over the people "and we were doing that most competently and effectively through the PRT in Bamyan".

"The concerns that we have with the SAS don't relate to the competency of the SAS itself but rather what it requires to win this conflict at the present time," he said.

"We are not in the situation we were in earlier in the 21st century where this was a battle with al Qaeda. This has fast moved in the direction of being a civil war."

Green MP Kennedy Graham said the decision was an example of "strategic folly based on muddled thinking".

"The engagement of our SAS will compromise the legitimacy and the effectiveness of the work done by our (PRT)," Dr Graham said.

The way forward was through the PRT and increased civilian aid, not by sending "crack combat troops to engage in covert counter-terrorism activities there".

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"No one assails me without punishment"


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:40 am
  

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Knight

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Having recently returned from there working with the Aussies, I have to say that is good news. The Aussies have a fantastic Army and wherever I go, if there are Aussies there, I know that I am in good hands...

-STS

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A man's rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box - Frederick Douglass
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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:45 am
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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slade the sniper wrote:
Having recently returned from there working with the Aussies, I have to say that is good news. The Aussies have a fantastic Army and wherever I go, if there are Aussies there, I know that I am in good hands...

-STS


Yes, but the above article is on the NZ SAS. :D

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"There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon, only dangerous men"
"No one assails me without punishment"


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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:44 am
  

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Knight

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Dominique wrote:
slade the sniper wrote:
Having recently returned from there working with the Aussies, I have to say that is good news. The Aussies have a fantastic Army and wherever I go, if there are Aussies there, I know that I am in good hands...

-STS


Yes, but the above article is on the NZ SAS. :D


Yeah, I noticed after I read the article again in the Earlybird. I was wondering why it said Bamyian and not Uruzgan...doh. Not ever working with too many Kiwis...so no basis for them, but they are just like Oz-tralians, right, with more sheep and less koalas...

I suck again!

-STS

_________________
My skin is not a sin - Carlos Wallace
A man's rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box - Frederick Douglass
I am a firm believer that men with guns can solve any problem - Inscriptus
Any system in which the most populated areas have the most political power, creates an incentive for areas that want power to increase their population - Killer Cyborg


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:00 pm
  

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PSYOP Soldiers tryout for team to serve alongside Army Rangers

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Aug. 25, 2009) – Five Psychological Operations specialists assigned to the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) recently underwent a grueling five-day assessment to determine if they are fit to serve and fight with the 75th Ranger Regiment.

PSYOP roles are usually divided into two areas: strategic and tactical. Strategic roles may require a Soldier to wear a suit and work in an embassy, whereas tactical missions often see them out in the field, carrying a weighty man-packed loudspeaker system in addition to their normal combat gear.

The detachment of 16 PSYOPers supporting the Rangers is certainly described as tactical. After all, their name is Tactical PSYOP Detachment 9B40, part of Bravo Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion. Because of the tough missions and austere conditions that Rangers are notorious for, the Soldiers providing them PSYOP capabilities have to be the best available.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Mead, 9B40 detachment sergeant, had the job of running the events and helping evaluate the candidates.

“These guys might have to move out for 20 miles loaded down with equipment, keeping up with Rangers who are probably the fastest ruckers in the Army, and still know how to perform their PSYOP role, and how they’ll fit into a given mission once they reach their objective,” Mead said. “We need thinkers that can fit in with the Ranger Regiment.”

Capt. Bruce Hoffman, 9B40’s detachment commander, has been in the Army for over 19 years. First joining the Army as an infantryman, Hoffman has served with scout platoons, Long Range Reconnaissance and Surveillance teams, and as a Ranger instructor for four years. Members of his detachment recognize him as the standard bearer. During the five-day assessment, he used the skills he gained as an instructor for the Rangers to determine whether the Soldiers trying out have what it takes to be a member of his team.

The week-long assessment was designed to stress the Soldiers out and observe how they perform in that condition. The week kicked off like most in the Army, with physical training before the sun came up on Monday morning. The first event the group faced was the Ranger Physical Fitness Test , which is similar to the Army’s PT test, but it adds dead-hang pull-ups, and instead of a two-mile run, there’s a five-mile run that must be completed in no more than 40 minutes.

After a quick breakfast and the chance to change into their duty uniform, the Soldiers and their evaluators moved out to Mott Lake for the Combat Water Survival Test. Mead ran through a demonstration, then the five candidates were individually canoed out to the middle of the lake where they donned a blindfold, carried a weapon and a load-bearing vest that were tied to the boat, and jumped into the water. One Soldier didn’t consider himself a strong swimmer, so the evaluators watched him closely, making sure he didn’t drown. All five completed the water test successfully, after which the group was taught how to use their Army Combat Uniforms to make a personal floatation device.

The class ended abruptly when Sgt. Bradley Thuma, one of 9B40’s NCOs, yelled at the group to get back to the shore as fast as possible. It was time to recite the Ranger Creed, a favorite amongst the team’s NCOs. Before the assessment, each Soldier was given a little black Ranger Handbook and told to memorize the Ranger Creed. Messing up while quoting it resulted in an immediate increase in the volume of the assessor’s voice, and of course, remedial training for the entire team.

“Almost everything we quizzed them on was in the Ranger Handbook,” Mead said. “If a guy shows up to assessment and he’s not even willing to read the Handbook that kind of says something to us.”

One candidate was prompted to recite the Creed’s first stanza. He snapped to attention, ran out in front of his fellow Soldiers and shouted, “The first stanza of the Ranger Creed!” His veins bulged and sweat dripped off his forehead thanks to the hot, humid North Carolina air, not to mention the previous bouts of sprints, push-ups and flutter-kicks he’d endured.

“Repeat after me…” A few seconds of silence indicated the Soldier’s uncertainty. Given a bit more time he might have led the group in a resounding rendition of the Ranger Creed, but hesitation wasn’t the name of the game.

“Are you telling me that you came to this assessment without having memorized the Ranger Creed?” one of the team’s NCOs shouted. The group was then told to sprint to the lake, swim out to the middle and back as fast as they could. The Soldiers executed this command immediately, but on their faces they had a look that showed they hadn’t bargained for what lay ahead.

“They need to be physically fit for not just a PT test, but for a week-long endurance event,” Mead said. “They need to know the Ranger Handbook, and they need to know tactical PSYOP. If they do those things and come with the right attitude, they’re probably going to be successful. But if they blow off any of those three, they’re gonna have a hard time.”

For one of day two’s events, the group met in the August heat at one of the obstacle courses on Fort Bragg. After a run-through to show the Soldiers what to expect and to point out any hazards, they lined up at the beginning and were let loose one at a time. Climbing up walls, swinging on ropes, low-crawling through muddy water, jumping over obstacles, and rolling through sand left the candidates covered from head to toe in water, dirt and sweat.

One of the candidates, Sgt. Minkyu Rhi, said he volunteered for this because he was looking for a challenge.

“One of my cadre from when I went through the PSYOP course used to be a member of 9B40, and from how he described the team it sounded like the bar was higher over there than in the rest of the Group,” Rhi said. “That first day was kind of a rude awakening. I knew there was going to be a little bit of ’smoking‘ or whatever you want to call it, but I didn’t expect it to be at that level. But I can take a lot of punishment, so I got quickly in that mode.”

During days three and four, the group went out to a site near Camp Mackall to do small unit tactics, and land navigation.

“During the small unit tactics portion of the assessment, we were curious to see how they would react during a stressful situation,” Mead said. “Obviously you can’t replicate the stresses of actual combat, but we tried. We fired blanks and shouted at them and basically got them excited, got their hearts pounding to see what they would do.”
Rhi, who before trying out for 9B40, was assigned to Charlie Company, 8th PSYOP Battalion, summed up the assessment.

“I would tell anyone that’s interested in this, that it’s probably one of the most vigorous events, physically and mentally, that they’ll ever do,” he said. “But, it’s not just one big ’smoke-fest.’ I learned a lot about land nav, common infantry tactics and a lot of PSYOP capabilities. I’d have to say the last day was the most challenging part of the week. It was really hot, and at that point we were all pretty beat, and they told us that we had to road march all the way back to Bragg. But I think we stopped around the 12 or 13 mile mark, which was a relief.”

“They went and occupied a broadcast position; broadcast a message, recorded the reaction of the target audience, and then exfiltrated,” Mead said. “It’s similar to a prepared deliberate ambush, because you have to determine your fields of fire. But, in this case, instead of laying waste to the objective, they were broadcasting a message.”

Other PSYOP tasks included in the SUT lanes were face to face interactions with “locals”, consequence management, and loud speaker operations. Mead said determining how effectively the Soldiers performed their PSYOP roles was a big part of the assessment.

At the end of the week, three Soldiers were chosen as new members of TPD 9B40: Sgt. Minkyu Rhi, Spc. Christopher Darbyshire, and Spc. Matthew Thomas. Hoffman and Mead told the two Soldiers who weren’t selected that they were welcome to come back and try again in November, when the detachment will hold their next assessment. The only thing that will keep Soldiers from being invited back to try again is a legitimate medical problem, and any sort of integrity violation like cheating or lying during the week. Soldiers that complete the week receive a Certificate of Achievement worth five promotion points, even if they aren’t selected for the detachment.

Hoffman said that new members of the detachment prepare for two main options: joining a team and training with the Rangers for a roughly 90 day pre-mission training period and then deploying, or going to pre-Ranger course and Ranger school.

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"There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon, only dangerous men"
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 Post subject: UK SFSG to be Expanded
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:29 am
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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By JOHN KAY
Chief Reporter
Published: 20 Aug 2009

BRITAIN'S elite Special Forces Support Group is to be expanded by more than 100 men to take on Taliban chiefs.

Defence bosses ordered the move so the SBS and SAS can strike deeper at the heart of the warlords' command structures in Afghanistan.

It is thought up to 150 men from 2 and 3 Para will join 1 Para SFSG.

It will then have 600 troops, the same as a full Para regiment fighting battalion.

Last night a source close to UK Special Forces said: "Their role has been extended from one of backing us up to being let off the leash."

The source said their duties will include capturing enemy troops to help gather intelligence.

Top brass are changing strategy to cut the number of troops losing their lives on routine patrols to roadside bombs.

They have decided to take out Taliban sharp-shooters and bombers with more clandestine Special Forces ops.

Last night official Special Forces sources confirmed the boost in the size of the unit and gave The Sun permission to publish the revelation.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:15 pm
  

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Wanderer

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Comment: "Viva la Infidel!"
Hey Dom, do you have any info on SF Combatant In Extremis Forces "CIF"?
Thanks for the articles BTW.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:02 am
  

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Mercalocalypse wrote:
Hey Dom, do you have any info on SF Combatant In Extremis Forces "CIF"?
Thanks for the articles BTW.


Nothing official, just some stuff I've heard.

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"No one assails me without punishment"


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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:50 am
  

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SOCom directive announces major changes

By Sean D. Naylor - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Aug 27, 2009 17:27:27 EDT

U.S. Special Operations Command is changing the structure and organization of its task forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, while realigning the traditional regional orientation of most Special Forces groups.

The changes will mean longer deployments for Special Forces and some other special ops personnel, but overall should lead to more dwell time between deployments, SOCom deputy commander Army Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney said in a Wednesday interview with Army Times.

The new plan, announced in an Aug. 21 SOCom directive, is aimed at delivering “continuity of leadership” for the combined joint special operations task forces in Iraq and Afghanistan while developing depth in experience, culture and understanding of the mission, the country, and relationships with host nation leaders and people, Kearney said.

The plan, which SOCom intends to fully implement by Feb. 1, divides the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, which previously had been the sole preserve of 5th Special Forces Group, between 5th and 3rd Groups. Under the plan, 5th Group will focus on the western and southern half of the CentCom region, including Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. The eastern and northern parts of the CentCom region, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyszstan, will become 3rd Group’s responsibility.

With regard to Afghanistan and Iraq, the plan formalizes the reality that has developed on the ground since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, the leadership of the combined joint special operations task force, or CJSOTF (pronounced see-juh-so-tiff), in that country has swapped back and forth between two Special Forces groups on seven-month rotations.

In Iraq, 5th Group has shared responsibility for commanding Joint Special Operations Task Force – Arabian Peninsula with 10th Group, a unit traditionally focused on Europe. Fifth Group’s Iraq focus has meant 3rd Group, traditionally oriented on Africa, has been heavily committed to the fight in Afghanistan, where it has shared responsibility for running CJSOTF-Afghanistan with 7th Group, whose area of responsibility is Latin America.

Under the new plan, the 3rd and 7th Group headquarters will no longer have a role in running the two CJSOTFs, although they will continue to provide battalion-level special operations task forces to the CJSOTFs.

In Afghanistan, 3rd Group will become the “framework group” for CJSOTF-A, with 5th Group playing the same role in Iraq, according to an Aug. 25 SOCOM news release.

As “framework groups,” 3rd and 5th Groups will each provide about 40 percent of the staff to their respective CJSOTF. The other 60 percent of the staffs “will be manned by personnel from across the joint special operations community,” according to the news release.

As part of the plan, 10th Group will assume responsibility for Africa from 3rd Group, while also retaining responsibility for Europe. Asked whether U.S. Army Special Operations Command might move some 3rd Group personnel with deep experience and language skills tied to Africa to 10th Group in order to make the transition as smooth as possible, Kearney said he was not aware of any USASOC proposal to do so, but that it was “a suggestion with merit that Lt. Gen. Mulholland should consider.”

The new plan also directs 7th Group to support U.S. Northern Command “as required for matters related to Mexico while retaining [the group’s] regional orientation with U.S. Southern Command,” the SOCom news release said. Of the five active-duty SF groups, only 1st Group’s regional orientation — the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility — remains unchanged.

While the tours for the CJSOTF staff will lengthen from seven months to 12 months, the tours for the battalion-level task forces will increase from seven months to nine months.

The new rotation cycle should ease the operational tempo for Special Forces personnel, some of whom only spend three or four months at home between deployments. Lengthening the “dwell time” between rotations was a factor behind the new plan, Kearney said. When combined with the ongoing addition of a fourth battalion to each active SF group by 2013 (5th and 3rd Groups have already stood their fourth battalions up), Kearney said he expects the new plan to result in all SF troops spending longer periods between deployments.

Tours for the CJSOTF leaders and staff will lengthen from seven months to roughly 12 months. However, while the colonels who command 3rd and 5th Groups will likely spend one year of their two-year command tours at the head of a CJSOTF, it appears that the new plan will for the first time leave the door open for other special operations officers, not necessarily from Special Forces, to also command CJSOTFs.

SOCom still has to decide exactly how commanders will be selected for the CJSOTF, Kearney said. “Clearly the [SF] group commanders are perfectly positioned and command selected to command a CJSOTF, but as we are a joint command with components capable of 06-level joint command of a CJSOTF, we believe we need to keep this door open to select the right commander to lead these headquarters,” he said in an e-mail to Army Times.

The potential for non-Special Forces officers to command the CJSOTFs has spread ripples of unease among some SF soldiers. But Kearney dismissed as “conspiracy theories” speculation in the SF community that SOCom commander Adm. Eric Olson, a Navy SEAL, had set the system up to enable Navy SEALs to command CJSOTFs.

“I don’t think we’ve said that we’re going to put a SEAL in command,” Kearney said, but he added that limiting the field to just SF officers would amount to “narrowing” the options unnecessarily. “Ideally, don’t we want to find the best guy?” he said.

Up until now the CJSOTFs in Afghanistan and Iraq have always been led by SF group commanders, who are products of the Army’s command selection process. Kearney acknowledged that appointing non-SF group commanders to head up the CJSOTFs would require SOCom to establish “a command screening” system that would be viewed as fair across all the service special operations components.

While the “framework groups” will provide about 40 percent of the personnel for their respective CJSOTFs, no decisions have been made as to whether these personnel will be organized as a “cohort” and deployed together, or whether troops will be identified and deployed individually from the group headquarters. U.S. Army Special Operations Command head Lt. Gen. John Mulholland “will work this out with his staff and commanders and brief SOCom on their plan,” Kearney said.

The SOCom plan does not include any attempt to grow the size of the SF group headquarters, but SOCom is studying whether to change the structure and composition of the CJSOTF, he said.

Each CJSOTF will command at least three battalion-level special operations task forces, including one from the “framework group” and one from another SF group. (There are five active-duty and two reserve SF groups.) The third battalion will be provided by Marine special operations forces in Afghanistan and the Navy SEALs in Iraq.

The new plan will allow Marine Corps Forces – Special Operations Command (MarSOC) to focus its training on Afghanistan, Kearney said. “The key was to focus them,” he added, explaining that MarSOC and its commander Maj. Gen. Mastin Robeson have been working with SOCom “to determine areas to focus their language and cultural depth.”

The MarSOC deployment to Afghanistan next year will be the first battalion-level deployment to a combat theater for the Marines’ fledgling special operations component. There have been complaints within the Special Forces community that SF units are being forced to give up communications gear and training slots in order to help the Marines reach full readiness. Kearney’s response to this criticism was matter-of-fact.

“I assume everyone understands that when SOCom decides to send forces, in this case a MarSOC SOTF, into harm’s way, we are going to equip them to be successful and since they are a unit still reaching full operational capability, it was a requirement to outfit them for success,” he said. “This is not unusual, we have done this with any unit preparing to deploy. What commander would not do this?”

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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:44 am
  

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BOMB BUSTERS
Sunday September 6,2009
By Stuart Winter

BRITISH Special Forces have dealt a heavy blow to Taliban terrorists responsible for the cowardly roadside bombing campaign against our troops in Afghanistan.

Royal Marines from the Special Boat Service – motto By Strength and Guile – have destroyed 500 of the home-made devices and killed 21 insurgents in an attack on a Taliban bomb factory in an old hill fort.

Among the cache of weapons seized were more than 100 bombs already packed into plastic bags and buckets and primed for use against British soldiers in Helmand province.

The operation, carried out late last month, is being hailed as one of the most brilliantly executed combat offensives in the long war on terror. It has drawn praise from Nato commander General Stanley McChrystal, a former US special forces soldier, who has sent a personal message to the SBS congratulating them on their success.

The SBS has played a vital covert role in the war against Al Qaeda since the early days of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Alongside the more famous Special Air Service, it is believed to have led most of the dangerous operations in the heart of Taliban bandit country, including the plan to snare Osama Bin Laden in the Tora Bora cave complex.

SBS fighting skills are honed for coastal or ocean operations but their training in hand-to-hand combat and high-altitude parachuting has made them equally effective in the arid countryside of Helmand.

Dusty hill forts, some built by the British more than a century ago, still decorate the landscape and it was from one crumbling ruin that Taliban commanders have been directing terror strikes in recent months.

The remote fort, protected by natural rock formations and thought to be long deserted, was pinpointed as a Taliban stronghold from intelligence gleaned from prisoners.

Initially, SBS commanders felt they could be walking into a trap. But a 150-strong team made up of the SBS and British paratroopers from the Special Forces Support Group, along with elite Afghan troops, stormed the fort with deadly effect.

Landing in RAF Chinook helicopters, the combined force used the cover of the Helmand river to advance on their target before using diversionary tactics to confuse the Taliban defenders. By the time the vanguard of 60 SBS men had stormed the ramparts and seized the fort, 21 enemy lay dead. Apache helicopter gunships and RAF Harriers also played a part in the fighting.

A senior SBS source said the destruction of the arsenal was a major blow to the enemy, which would slow them down for weeks, if not months, and will mean the Taliban having to increase efforts to bring in more supplies from Pakistan.

He said: “Be under no illusion, this was a major find, the biggest across Afghanistan, but while we gave the bad guys a bloody nose and messed up their supply chain it will be only a matter of time before they get more resources.

“If we had more operators on the ground we would stand a better chance of crippling their operation, but someone needs to make a decision that we are here to win. At the moment we are doing what we can but we are a very small force.”

Taliban leaders know only too well the effectiveness of British covert troops, who have been conducting so-called “trigger operations” deep in their heartlands wearing native dress and speaking local dialects.

The success in eradicating Taliban commanders has made them the insurgents’ most feared enemy, with one captured fighter telling interrogators: “The only soldiers we fear are the men who look like Afghans and come in the night looking for our special people.”

_________________
"There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon, only dangerous men"
"No one assails me without punishment"


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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:16 am
  

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NYT reporter freed in raid; 1 Brit commando killed

KABUL – British commandos freed a New York Times reporter early Wednesday from Taliban captors who kidnapped him over the weekend in northern Afghanistan, but one of the troops and a Times translator were killed in the rescue.

Reporter Stephen Farrell was taken hostage along with his translator in the northern province of Kunduz on Saturday. German commanders had ordered U.S. jets to drop bombs on two hijacked fuel tankers, causing a number of civilian casualties, and reporters traveled to the area to cover the story.

Two military officials told The Associated Press that one British commando died during the early morning raid. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the death had not been officially announced.

The Times reported that Farrell's Afghan translator, Sultan Munadi, also was killed.

Afghan officials over the weekend said about 70 people died when U.S. jets dropped two bombs on the tankers, igniting them in a massive explosion. There were reports that villagers who had come to collect fuel from the tankers were among the dead, and Farrell wanted to interview villagers.

The Times kept the kidnappings quiet out of concern for the men's safety, and other media outlets, including The Associated Press, did not report the abductions following a request from the Times.

A story posted on the Times' Web site quoted Farrell saying he had been "extracted" by a commando raid carried out by "a lot of soldiers" in a firefight.

Mohammad Sami Yowar, a spokesman for the Kunduz governor, said British Special Forces dropped down from helicopters early Wednesday onto the house where the two were being kept, and a gunbattle ensued.

A Taliban commander who was in the house was killed, along with the owner of the house and a woman who was inside, Yowar said. He said Sultan was killed in the midst of the firefight.

Farrell, a dual Irish-British citizen, told the Times that he saw Munadi step forward shouting "Journalist! Journalist!" but he then fell in a volley of bullets. Farrell said he did not know if the shots came from militants or the rescuing forces.

Moments later, Farrell said he heard British voices and shouted, "British hostage!" The British voices told him to come over. As he did, Mr. Farrell said he saw Mr. Munadi.

Munadi, in his early 30s, was employed by The New York Times starting in 2002, according to his colleagues. He left the company a few years later to work for a local radio station.

He left Afghanistan last year to study for a master's degree in Germany. He came back to Kabul last month for a holiday and to see his family, and agreed to accompany Farrell to Kunduz on a freelance basis. He was married and had two young sons.

U.S. military spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker confirmed the operation by NATO and Afghan forces, but did not provide further details.

Farrell, 46, is a dual British-Irish national who joined the Times in 2007 in Baghdad. He has covered both the Afghan and Iraq conflicts for the paper. He told the paper that he was not hurt in the rescue operation.

Farrell was the second Times journalist to be kidnapped in Afghanistan in a year.

In June, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Rohde and his Afghan colleague Tahir Ludin escaped from their Taliban captors in northwestern Pakistan. They had been abducted Nov. 10 south of the Afghan capital of Kabul and were moved across the border.

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"There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon, only dangerous men"
"No one assails me without punishment"


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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:48 pm
  

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US Commandos in Covert Ops Worldwide
September 16, 2009
Long War Journal|by Bill Roggio

The daring raid in southern Somalia that targeted and killed a senior al Qaeda leader wanted for several deadly attacks is the latest in a series of covert operations carried out by U.S. and allied special operations. At least four other high-profile raids by ground forces took place in Pakistan, Madagascar, and Syria over the past several years, while others have gone unreported, according to U.S. officials.

The successful Somali raid targeted Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a senior al Qaeda leader in East Africa as well as a senior leader in Shabaab, al Qaeda's surrogate in Somalia. Nabhan is thought to train terrorists in Somalia and has been at the forefront in cementing ties between Shabaab and al Qaeda. He has been wanted for his involvement in the 1998 suicide attacks against U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as leading the cell behind the 2002 terror attacks in Mombasa, Kenya, against a hotel and an airliner.

Reports of the operation are still unclear as the U.S. military has refused to comment. But various press accounts from eyewitnesses and unnamed intelligence sources provide a glimpse of the operation.

The operation, dubbed Celestial Balance, was approved 11 days ago after U.S. intelligence determined that Nabhan was shuttling back and forth between the Shabaab-controlled port cities of Merka and Kismayo. A car transporting Nabhan and five other foreign fighters was escorted by another car carrying three Shabaab escorts; the vehicles were hit as they stopped for breakfast as they traveled to Kismayo.

According to one witness, upwards of six helicopters were involved in the raid. At least two AH-6 Little Bird special operations attack helicopters strafed the two-car convoy. Other helicopters dismounted Navy SEALs, who seized the body of Nabhan and another, and purportedly took two other wounded fighters captive. An unconfirmed report indicated that Sheikh Hussein Ali Fidow, a senior Shabaab leader, was among those killed. All nine al Qaeda and Shabaab leaders and fighters were killed during the operation.

Somali raid similar to covert raids in Pakistan, Madagascar, and Syria

While yesterday's raid in Somalia is being hailed as a shift in the U.S. war to target al Qaeda's leadership, as opposed to the unmanned airstrikes against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas as well as attacks in Somalia and Yemen, in fact the U.S. has previously pulled the trigger on other direct action missions - operations involving troops entering enemy territory.

Four such direct action missions against wanted al Qaeda leaders have been carried out in the Middle East and in Africa over the past several years.

The largest such raid took place in March 2006 against a training camp in Danda Saidgai in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, Pakistan. U.S. special operation teams raided an al Qaeda camp run by the Black Guard, the elite Praetorian Guard for Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and other senior al Qaeda leaders.

The air assault resulted in the death of Imam Asad and several dozen members of the Black Guard. In addition to being the camp commander, Asad was a senior Chechen al Qaeda commander and an associate of Shamil Basayev, the Chechen al Qaeda leader killed by Russian security forces in July 2006. U.S. intelligence believed either Zawahiri or bin Laden were at the camp at the time of the raid.

The next high-profile raid took place in the least likely of places, on the island nation of Madagascar. In January 2007, U.S. commandos struck at Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, one of Osama bin Laden's brother-in-laws with deep roots in al Qaeda as a financier and facilitator, as he visited his home there.

U.S. intelligence had waited for Khalifa to leave the safety of Saudi Arabia and targeted him when he was most vulnerable, U.S. intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal. The raid was made to look like a robbery; Khalifa's computer and other documents were stolen.

The next U.S. commando raid again took place in Pakistan, when U.S. special operations forces assaulted the village of Musa Nikow in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan. The raid was controversial; Pakistani authorities claimed that civilians were killed during the raid. The target of the raid is unclear, and no senior al Qaeda or Taliban leader was reported killed or captured.

The last known direct action mission targeted and killed a senior al Qaeda leader based in eastern Syria. U.S. commandos assaulted a compound in the town of Sukkariya near Abu Kamal, across the border from Al Qaeda in Iraq, and killed Abu Ghadiya and several members of his staff.

Ghadiya was the leader of al Qaeda's extensive network that funnels suicide bombers, foreign fighters, weapons, and cash from Syria into Iraq along the entire length of the Syrian border.
Other such direct action missions have taken place but have avoided the scrutiny of the media, U.S. intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:48 pm
  

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Dominique,

hey, where are the news tid bits, dude? You on assignment again, or just taking R&R?

-STS

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:47 am
  

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slade the sniper wrote:
Dominique,

hey, where are the news tid bits, dude? You on assignment again, or just taking R&R?

-STS


Just been busy is all.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:47 am
  

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Anti-terrorist squad reborn as commandos

New Zealand's specialist anti-terrorist squad members are being redesignated as commandos.

The secret squad, established four years ago as the Counter Terrorist Tactical Assault Group, will be known from December 5 as the commando squadron.

The group was established four years ago to augment the SAS which, until then, was also a counter-terrorist force.

Army spokesman Kristian Dunne said the commando squadron was based with the SAS in Papakura, Auckland. It is a third element, alongside the explosive ordinance disposal unit, in what is now known as the New Zealand Special Operations Forces.

Major Dunne said the name change to "commando" better reflected the squadron's anti-terror role because members were trained to work on land, air and sea. They are drawn from the army, navy and air force. Their commander is the head of the SAS and SAS members will at times be assigned to the commando squadron.

Major Dunne would not say how many were in the squadron. It has a wide range of weaponry and other equipment at its disposal, including body armour, gas masks, night-vision equipment, sniper rifles, pistols and sub-machine guns.

Commandos must have a wide range of skills that might be required in a counter-terrorist operation. They have to be able to operate out of helicopters, clamber around and get into buildings and operate in all types of terrain, or at sea, where they could be needed to deal with a ship hijacking, Major Dunne said.

Unlike the SAS, they will not be involved in overseas operations or long-range patrolling – the sort of work now being done by SAS troops in Afghanistan.

Commando squadron troops have to be on call at short notice in the case of a terrorist threat, when their skills would supplement the police special tactics group.

Commandos are usually elite light infantry and/or special forces units which specialise in amphibious landings, parachuting, rappelling and similar techniques to assault key military targets.

In World War II, British commando units were formed as highly mobile raiding and reconnaissance forces. They spawned more specialised units, including the Special Air Service, the Special Boat Service and Parachute Regiment.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:15 pm
  

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Marine Special Operations Regiment Stands Up
Cpl. Richard Blumenstein
11 November, 2009 10:06:00

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, NC – U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command has been implementing changes to its force structure since January in order to unify its capabilities and improve its operability.

The changes highlight the forming of the Marine Special Operations Regiment, which acts as a headquarters element for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalions.

Prior to the changes, 1st and 2nd MSOB, and the Marine Special Operations Advisor Group fell directly under the MARSOC commander, while 3rd and 4th MSOB fell under the MSOAG.

Now, the MSOAG has been redesignated as the MSOR, which falls under the MARSOC commander. Additionally, 4th MSOB was disbanded and its personnel were used to help form the regiment.

"The changes have been made to create three battalions that will all have equal capabilities in direct action, special reconnaissance and foreign internal defense," said Lt. Col. J. D. Duke, the operations officer for the MSOR.

"Having three like battalions with the same organization, and structure, the same table of equipment, the same skill sets, the same mind set for mission focus will allow MARSOC to engage anywhere in the spectrum where SOCOM is involved," said Maj. Christopher K. Wales, the executive officer of 2nd MSOB. "It will enable us to succeed."

Currently, each MSOB is still focusing on their former role as the changes have not been fully implemented, but in the future, each MSOB will be responsible for a region of the world, Duke said.

"The change made to MARSOC was not based on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," Duke said. "It was based on the future of MARSOC as a whole."

The change in force structure also lines up with the new type of operators being produced by the MARSOC Individual Training Course, Duke said.

"By saying these three like battalions are going to have the same capabilities, it means that the school house only has to produce one basic qualified Marine Special operator," Duke said.

The new regiment also has improved the commands ability to manage assets between the three battalions, Wales said.

"What we've seen is an increase in efficiency in operational planning and logistics planning at our level," Wales said. "It's simply because there are so many ancillary tasks that the regiment is now responsible for."

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:16 pm
  

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Airmen Test Counterinsurgency Skills During Raven Claw
Airman 1st Class Joe McFadden
26 November, 2009 09:48:00

HURLBURT FIELD, FL — "Having Hurlburt Field on a set of orders does not make you an Air Commando; you have to earn it."

Those words are inscribed on a plaque above the doorway leading to the Combat Aviation Advisor Mission Qualification Course, where Airmen are trained in counterinsurgency doctrine and regional skills.

After seven weeks of training, 18 Airmen passed through this doorway Nov. 2-6 to earn the title of Air Commando in a simulated irregular warfare exercise known as Raven Claw on the Eglin range.

Vincent Milioti, director of the CAAMQC, worked with other instructors to create and evaluate the scenarios in the exercise, many drawn from their combined experiences dealing with counterinsurgency operations.

"The training has to be the way it is," Mr. Milioti said. "We didn't read about this in a book; we lived it. We're here to prepare these men for the missions that they will someday be asked to perform."

After landing at the Eglin range, the crew was escorted to a tent encampment in the woods by a security detail made up of volunteers posing as partner nation soldiers. From there, students assessed and advised their indigenous counterparts on tactical movements and individual medical treatment.

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Stanhope, 19th Special Operation Squadron, said trying to teach the partner-nation force about security and personnel recovery tactics was the most meaningful part of the exercise.

"We started here with a zero-percent understanding, and we ended with everyone getting savvy and getting their head in the game," Sergeant Stanhope said.

Throughout the exercise, students faced different scenarios such as providing casualty treatment for local civilians, handling potential human rights violations and reacting to improvised explosions during the middle of the night. They were also given surprise inspections by generals of the partner nation's air force played by real squadron commanders from Hurlburt Field.

Tech. Sgt. Brian Lilienthal, 6th SOS, went through the exercise in April 2008. Like many former students who volunteered time to pose as the partner nation's military personnel, he tried to instill to the new class what he learned while he was a student and while he was later deployed.

"Ultimately you want to them to succeed, because they may be working alongside you someday," he said.

Later in the week, students were treated to a banquet hosted by the local community where the main cuisine was an assortment of raw fish heads, tripe and insects. Airmen stomached the meal not just because they hadn't eaten in several hours, but also because they didn't want to offend their partners who considered the food a luxury.

"The experience of eating locusts was unforgettable," said Capt. Andrew Bruce, 19th SOS.

On the last day of the exercise, the students were presented a failed state scenario and readied for a 20-mile expedition across the Eglin range at night with no time for sleep.

After navigating through swamps and creeks to avoid enemy detection, they were airlifted to Hurlburt Field for a graduation ceremony at Freedom Hangar the next morning, where they were presented Air Commando uniform tabs.

"This was the best Air Force training I've ever done," Captain Bruce said.

Both Captain Bruce and Sergeant Stanhope said they hoped to be roleplayers for the next exercise.

"I already signed up," Sergeant Stanhope said. "It's a good chance for us to impart the knowledge that we learned to assist the next guys."

As he congratulated the Airmen for their completion of the Raven Claw exercise, Mr. Milioti said he knew what kind of world they would later be stepping into.

"Whether they will be in a five-star hotel, wearing a suit and tie, dealing with diplomats, heads-of-state or military agencies, or living and working out of a hut in a jungle camp somewhere in the world, they will be ready for the challenge. They are the Air Force Special Operations' premiere warrior diplomats," he said.

CAAMQC is a year-long course that was specifically designed to prepare unit members to perform duties as a combat aviation advisor in the mission areas of foreign internal defense, unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency and coalition support. The course has four separate but interrelated phases of training: mission development and operating environments; integrated skills training; language and cultural training; and specialty developmental training.

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 Post subject: The Dragon Hunters
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:29 pm
  

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Defence Today
The Dragon Hunters
September 5, 2009, by Adam Day

Out in the wilds of Kandahar province, the average Canadian infantryman looks at a bomb disposal expert the same way most people look at motorcycle racers or surfers who swim with sharks—it’s a narrow-eyed sideways glance, full of frank appraisal and containing one central question: is the guy crazy? Who in their right mind would want to creep up on live explosives and disarm them?

It’s a good question. But still, somebody has to do the job.

And while sneaking up on bombs is not a game for the faint-hearted, walking serenely into a cloud of chemical weapons, or towards a live nuke, is something else yet again. But somebody has to do that job, too. This story is a glimpse inside a secretive unit trained to do exactly that task.

Just how important a job they have sort of defies explanation. Imagine if that live nuke was found in downtown Toronto or if terrorists with a radiological dirty-bomb stormed the Parliament Buildings. It would be up to these guys to stop the attack.

At most, all the public would probably ever see are long-range images of operators dressed sort of like ninja spacemen darting across open ground.

They inhabit a very secret—and kind of scary—world, and so this is the first-ever in-depth story about the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU), a rarely heard from component of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command and a unit which is literally Canada’s last line of defence against attack by Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear weapons (CBRN).

Where Others Fear To Tread

Based at CFB Trenton, these soldiers have one of the least talked about but potentially most crucial jobs in the entire Canadian Forces. With the possibility of millions of lives hanging in the balance, they spend every second preparing not to blink in a crisis. “Once tasked with a mission, we will figure it out and solve it. We are a no-fail unit. I will expend any and all resources to solve the problem. That means all of us,” says the unit’s commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Nash. “If someone is going to launch a terrorist nuclear attack against Canada, most Canadians would expect that somewhere, someone is going to be this dedicated to preventing it. We are. We’re not going to stop, no matter what.

“I have the lawful authority to order all my people to their death,” he added, glancing down.

Back in a time before modern cartography, in a world where evil beasts still roamed the imagination, there were places where the map of the earth stopped and terra incognita began. These were places beyond understanding, foreboding and often fatally perilous, they were marked on the map with the Latin inscription Hic sunt dracones: Here be dragons.

Not incidentally, it is for exactly this reason that the dragon is CJIRU’s symbol—and the symbol of many, if not most, allied CBRN units, in fact—because they are tasked time and again with going into the unknown, where others fear to tread, to disarm, disable or render inert the most fiendish weapons it’s possible to devise. They don’t just go into terra incognita, they go hunting for dragons.

Inside The Unit

CJIRU’s role breaks down in three main ways: they, along with the RCMP, constitute Canada’s national Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and explosives (CBRNe) response team. The RCMP takes the lead, and the Public Health Agency plays a role as well.

Secondly, alongside other Canadian Special Operations Forces Command elements, such as Joint Task Force 2, they comprise the Immediate Response Task Force, which would be called out for domestic counter-terrorism situations like the live nuke or the attack on Parliament Hill.

Thirdly, they contribute to overseas operations along various lines but particularly to the Special Operations Task Force deployed in Afghanistan. CJIRU is also on the very front end of any deployment—Theatre Activations Teams, Roto 0s—checking out the new place to make sure it’s safe.

While the size of the unit is classified, it’s not super huge, and it’s filled with big-brained specialists of all stripe and types, more than 30 trades in all, from meteorologists to medics to hardened veterans of the special operations forces community.

CJIRU emerged directly from the Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Company that also once resided in Trenton. The unit was adopted by Canadian Special Operations Forces Command in 2006 and the name change and increased capabilities came along shortly after.

The unit, according to Nash, is like sitting down at an intergalactic bar on the set of Star Wars, it is a wildly diverse and sometimes boisterous menagerie. Nash himself, in many respects, leads the pack in that regard. A former infantry officer with a history degree, Nash is a soldier in the mode of former Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier; he is equal parts leader and joker, halfway between Jay Leno and Chuck Norris. For example, he likes to joke that the JTF2 commander introduces him at briefings by saying ‘if JTF2 needed to recruit from high schools, we’d go to the football team, but CJIRU goes to the chess club or Star Trek club.’

It may not be all that much of a joke, actually. Indeed, many if not most of the CJIRU operators are given college-level courses in the science behind CBRN and listening to Nash describe the unit’s operating environment makes it clear they face some pretty unique challenges. “We train to think through problems that have never occurred in the world before. But anything we’re thinking about is probably not where the threat will be. And even as we [watch for] something we think might occur, we may miss something else that’s actually occurring.”

Getting into the unit is not so easy, either. First there is a three-and-a-half day screening period for phobia testing and other testing meant to reveal various psychological traits. If the candidate gets past that, then they get loaded onto the Special Operations CBRN course. This four-month course gives them a full introduction to the unit and ends with live-agent training, wherein the candidates are required to do complex tasks in a real-life hot zone.

After all this, for every three who apply, only one gets in.

To understand why the unit is so selective, consider the terms Nash used during one fairly brief interview: Sarin gas. Polonium 210. Anthrax. Chlorine. Mustard. Ebola. Avian Flu. Swine Flu. SARS.

There’s an emotional response to these terms wholly beyond and outside their relative lethality. And that’s not surprising, really, because they are creeping, often invisible and they kill and injure in horrible, unmentionable ways.

To get a sense of their psychological effect, Nash points out that during the Second World War, gas attacks killed relatively few soldiers compared to machine-guns, and yet all soldiers now still carry gas masks religiously and meanwhile they still charge machine-guns, which was and is comparatively way more dangerous.

Into The Hot Zone

In order to counter the threat of these weapons, CJIRU is broken into three main troops, basically along operational lines. The SIBCRA (Sampling and Identification of Biological, Radiological and Chemical Agents) Troop are usually the first operators into a potential hot zone. They scope the situation and get samples to bring back so that, in the words of one of the operators, “the guys with big brains can identify it.”

The Surveillance Troop do all sorts of sneaking, spying and scoping tasks, but mainly they operate the remote control, sensor-laden vehicles that gather basic information about a potential hot zone.

Lastly, the Decontamination Troop is set up to get CJIRU personnel—and maybe a very few select others like RCMP and crucial VIPs—out of a hot zone safely using a multi-stage process of cleansing and inspection.

Master Corporal T., whose full name can’t be published for security reasons, is one of the guys you may glimpse on TV sprinting across open ground dressed like a ninja spaceman in the event of a terrorist CBRN event on Parliament Hill. He’s in the SIBCRA troop and he’s prepared to spend many, many hours behind that blackened mask, inside an intensely uncomfortable protective suit, under mortal threat and possibly in combat.

Life inside one of these suits is nasty, harsh and potentially short. It’s one gasp after another, never enough air, with bad visibility, poor hearing, and little chance to communicate well. It’s like waging chemical warfare with a fish tank on your head, wearing a portable sauna suit. That said, it is all very high-tech. “We stay linked in with science to keep ahead. In WW I you were peeing into a rag,” said the laconic and somewhat fierce squadron commander. “We’re ahead of that.”

In addition to their suits, the SIBRCA operators lug a massive range of heavy sensors and equipment into the hot zone. They carry hand-held chemical detectors that suck particles inside and then use open flame to break them down and give a rough identification. They also carry radiation probes. “Biological agents worry me the most because we have no detection capability until we start seeing symptoms,” said the operator, before adding, rather stoically, “But we just keep going until there’s no one left.”

In addition to sampling, the SIBRCA guys also do judicial-quality forensics like fingerprinting and photography, and they have to do it to a very high level because their evidence may be used in federal court cases.

Corporal S. is a Surveillance Troop member, a former infantryman who’s been in CJIRU for two years. “This turned out to be the best thing ever. I get to play with robots all day, which is something different than digging holes.”

The main tool of his trade is the remote-control multi-agent tactical sentry (MATS). It has a GPS, cameras and a radiological and chemical detector. It is essentially a fancy robotic golf cart and it is often the first thing that goes downrange. The surveillance operator got so skilled at using the device that he recently went to the United States for a remote control robot skills competition against similarly employed members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and, happily, he won.

He was the only Canadian there. They all played in combat uniforms; he played in his civilian clothes. “They knew enough to know I was not regular army, they knew enough to know not to ask,” he said.

Master Corporal M. is one of the decontamination specialists. Her boss introduces her as the first female operator in Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, but for this two-year veteran of the unit, labels of any kind aren’t really to her taste. “At the beginning of my career, I would have never thought that I’d get here,” she said. “But it’s been amazing.”

The female operator and the rest of her squad specialize in getting people out of the hot zone alive and clean of any contaminants that can possibly be removed from their bodies. The process is quite simple. The operators drop their kit, undress completely, get sprayed down and then shower wearing a gas mask. Only then are they inspected and possibly allowed past the cleanline. “If we don’t do this right, then all of our operators are single use,” said Nash. “This inglorious part here, of scrubbing naked humans down, is what allows us to keep going.”

And inglorious it is. There’s nothing to make a reporter re-evaluate career choices quite like standing mostly naked in front of several dozen soldiers, getting inspected by a serious man with a beta-gamma probe.

Furthermore, there are no separate facilities here. It’s all the same. “The first time was frustrating,” said the female operator, referring to the decontamination process which requires semi-public nudity, “but it’s not that bad. It’s professional, they respect your dignity,” she says, before adding with faint mischief in her eye: “also, there are more guys than there are women.”

The Decontamination Troop also has medical extraction teams to go in and stabilize the injured before putting them through the decontamination process. But the whole thing is wickedly difficult, because the wounded person has to be brought to a certain level of health so that, as one terse operator put it, “they aren’t currently dying.” If they aren’t decontaminated then they won’t make it in any case, as no hospital will accept a ‘dirty’ patient.”

“CBRN is like robbing a bank: getting in is easy, getting out is the hard part,” said Nash. “If someone gets shot, that’s bad. If someone gets shot and exposed to Sarin gas, that’s super bad.”

How They Roll

CJIRU is based just off the airfield at Trenton, inside a new building tucked away into a corner of the base and protected by multiple lines of security checkpoints. A large part of the building is given over to chain-link lockers, all stuffed full, which hold the operators’ ‘go-bags’ should they get the call to deploy on a moment’s notice. “Since it’s unlikely a terrorist attack will happen in this building,” said the squadron CO, “the very first problem we have to solve is a strategic time and space problem—we have to get there.”

The whole unit is largely air transportable, and they’ll ship out on pretty much any plane in the CF fleet, including the Challenger jet. The first step in any potential crisis is to send a liaison team; they head out carrying anything from just a jacket to pelican cases stuffed with equipment, depending on the situation. The liaison teams go out often, and they have to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. “I don’t have many majors to send out on these things,” said Nash. “I send junior ranks, but they have to be able to interact with general officers or directors of federal departments.”

The liaison teams investigate the situation and, if necessary, call out the heavy hitters—the response teams and command and control nodes. The response teams can be anywhere from a dozen guys to, well, pretty much the whole unit. “They are scalable, task tailored and include logistics elements,” added Nash. “They have to be able to deal with the full spectrum, from firefighters in a gunfight to cops in a fire.

“It’s difficult to prepare for the full spectrum because you rarely, if ever, stumble upon what is about to happen in the future. The thing we’re most worried about is the thing we’re not thinking about, so our group is designed to react and orient to a situation very quickly.”

The unit is busy, somewhat scarily busy. They’ve had around two dozen operational events since June 2008, and only three were ‘forecast’ in the sense that they were major national events—like U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit, it could be assumed—that were known about in advance.

These operational events relate to a wide range of situations; everything from open, transparent stuff to completely covert operations of the kind that remain secret for a very long time.

The only time the Department of National Defence has the lead role in Canada is for sovereign defence of the nation or an act of war. The rest of the time, the RCMP are the lead on pretty much everything and CJIRU is bolted onto them as a kind of high-tech, high capability assistance force. It’s for that reason that CJIRU is fully capable of rolling out to a mission almost completely without military markings.

The blue fleet, as they call it, has Ontario provincial licence plates, not military plates. It’s designed to blend in, not so much for security but more because in an actual CBRN event, the last thing anyone would want is to create panic by having a dozen mil-spec CF vehicles pull up in downtown Ottawa. “The blue suit is for working with the national team, so as not to draw attention,” said an operator.

“If you can just look like RCMP, there’s less stress for everybody,” added Nash. “You don’t want to inadvertently cause the wrong effect.”

While the RCMP, according to a CANSOFCOM officer, does indeed have some capabilities above and beyond CJIRU’s, there is another very particular, and kind of gruesome, reason that the organizations are partners. “We do things they [RCMP] can’t handle,” said Nash. “That’s why they call us in.”

Another senior member of CJIRU phrased it less delicately. “We have unlimited liability,” said an officer with the unit, referring to the concept that military soldiers can be ordered to their deaths. “They’re not going to send RCMP into some hot zone if they’re dropping like flies. Whereas us? That’s why we’re there. Our main support role is to keep the RCMP guys alive,” added the officer. “They have the most manpower to stop further attacks.”

Special Ops: The Invisible Hand

As for the other two roles, the Immediate Response Task Force and the overseas work, not a lot can be said about that without risking security. “We have to have the skills to be interoperable with other SOF,” said the squadron commander, mentioning fast-roping from helicopters, urban assaulting, etc. “But if we’re in a gunfight, something’s gone wrong.”

“There’s a select bunch of us qualified to do certain stuff with [JTF2], and that is a very surgical capability,” said the SIBRCA operator. “We are not gunfighters, gunslingers, but we do have that too if things go bad.”

As with any Special Operations Forces unit, the operators are at all times quite concerned with maintaining their personal security. It’s hard to say where the bad guys will strike and within the unit hushed stories abound of domestic terrorists, deranged lone wolves and others who would possibly want to target them. “In my neighbourhood they all think I drive armoured vehicles on and off airplanes,” said the SIBRCA operator, who came to the unit from a tank regiment. “And if anyone on my base asks, I just tell them I’m on the DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team).

“When I leave, no one knows. The pager goes off, and off we go,” said the SIBRCA operator. “We’re only going to get called if things have gone to hell, so we keep our **** wired tight.”

Imagine going off to hunt dragons and not being able to tell anyone you went. “Yeah, I can’t tell anyone about it,” he says with a wry smile, “but maybe it’s something I can tell my grandkids about.”

The Quotable Commander

Related thoughts and musings from Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Nash, who, by the time you read this, will likely be on his way to becoming a high school history teacher.

“When the government pulls that string attached to my leg, I can never say ‘I’m not ready.’”

“You can’t fail or you’re about to become unglued as a nation. The real cost to us is maintaining folks who, when you push the button, are willing to run in and do dangerous things.”

“Just staying the same will mean that the bad guys are getting ahead. Most organizations change after they’ve had a failure. We can’t allow that.”

“Biological weapons are alive. They mutate. They want to live. And they could extinguish all life on the planet.”

“What’s the needle in the haystack that we have to pay attention to? Bad guys only have to be lucky once, we have to be lucky all the time.”

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but there’s a good chance that whatever it is will be a surprise. If it isn’t a surprise, we probably would have prevented it.”

“We might hide some things, but I have to be able to defend everything in a court of law, to my boss, or on national TV.”

Email the writer at: aday@legion.ca
Email a letter to the editor at: letters@legionmagazine.com

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:26 pm
  

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Elite U.S. forces expanding operations in Afghanistan
By Eric Schmitt
New York Times
Posted: 12/26/2009 05:37:23 PM PST
Updated: 12/26/2009 09:10:48 PM PST


BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan — Secretive branches of the military's special operations forces have increased counterterrorism missions against some of the most lethal groups in Afghanistan and, because of their success, plan an even bigger expansion next year, according to U.S. commanders.

The commandos, from the Army's Delta Force and the Navy's classified SEALS units, have had success weakening the network of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the strongest Taliban warrior in eastern Afghanistan, the officers said. Haqqani's group has used its bases in neighboring Pakistan to carry out deadly strikes in and around Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Guided by intercepted cell phone communications, the U.S. commandos have also killed some important Taliban operatives in Marja, the most fearsome Taliban stronghold in Helmand province in the south, the officers said. Marine commanders say they believe some 1,000 fighters are entrenched there.

Although President Barack Obama and his top aides have not publicly discussed these highly classified missions as part of the administration's revamped strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the counterterrorism operations are expected to increase, along with the deployment of 30,000 more U.S. troops in the next year.

The increased counterterrorism operations over the past several months reflect growth in every part of the Afghanistan campaign, including conventional forces securing the population, other
troops training and partnering with Afghan security forces, and more civilians to complement and capitalize on security gains.

U.S. commanders in Afghanistan rely on the commando units to conduct some of the most complicated operations against militant leaders, and the missions are never publicly acknowledged. The commandos are the same elite forces that have been pursuing Osama bin Laden. They captured Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003 and led the hunt that ended in 2006 in the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader in Iraq of the insurgent group al-Qaida in Iraq.

In recent interviews, commanders explained that the special-mission units from the Joint Special Operations Command were playing a pivotal role in degrading some of the toughest militant groups and buying some time before U.S. reinforcements arrived and more Afghan security forces could be trained.

"They are extremely effective in the areas where we are focused," said one U.S. general in Afghanistan about the commandos, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the classified status of the missions.

Senior military officials say it is not surprising that the commandos are playing such an important role in the fight, particularly because Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the senior U.S. and NATO officer in Afghanistan, led the Joint Special Operations Command for five years.

In addition to the classified U.S. commando missions, military officials say that other NATO special operations forces have teamed up with Afghan counterparts to attack Taliban bomb-making networks and other militant cells.

"We've been hitting them hard, but I want to be careful not to overstate our progress," said the NATO official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the operations in detail. "It has not yet been decisive."

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:00 am
  

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Special Forces Command Reorganizes
By Sean D. Naylor
snaylor@militarytimes.com

Special Forces Command is drastically changing its plan to add a fourth battalion of A-teams to each of the five active Special Forces groups and will now con¬vert all five of those battalions to “special troops battalions” by 2015.

The creation of the special troops battalions will provide an organizational home for SF sol¬diers who have acquired “high¬end, niche skills,” Maj. Gen. Michael Repass, head of SF Com¬mand, said in a Jan. 16 interview. In 2001, the Army’s five active¬duty Special Forces groups each had three line battalions, each comprising three line companies of six 12-man operational detach¬ment alphas, or A-teams. But the extraordinary demand for Special Forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines in the wake the Sept. 11 attacks and the 2003 invasion of Iraq persuaded the Defense Department to add a fourth line battalion to each active-duty group.

Under SF Command’s new plan, the additional battalions — two of which have stood up — will still be created, with the last one complet¬ed by the end of 2012. But in 2014, the new battalions will be “realigned.” The three companies of A-teams will be redistributed across the other three battalions, one company per line battalion.

Meanwhile, the fourth battalion will convert to a special troops battalion. This will include ele¬ments previously in the group support company, such as the Spe¬cial Forces advanced skills compa¬ny, the signals detachment and the regional support detachment. New organizations will be added, including a military intelligence company, an unmanned aerial systems platoon, two human intelligence sections, a signals intelligence section and other ele¬ments, according to a slide brief¬ing Repass provided to Army Times.

Repass said he decided to con¬vert the fourth battalions into special troops battalions in order to capture and retain the skills gained by those SF soldiers who attend highly specialized schools, such as the special operations tar¬get interdiction course (essential¬ly a sniper school) and the Special Forces advanced reconnaissance target analysis and exploitation course.

“You send a guy to a school and he uses it for a period of time and then he walks away from it, because he’s changed his job or he’s changed the focus of what he’s doing, and so you only have a short period of time where there’s that expertise in the organiza¬tion,” Repass said.

As Repass envisions it, in the future an SF sergeant attends one of the schools and would return to his A-team after graduation, but his next assignment might move him to the special troops battal¬ion, where he would join a unit filled with others who share his “niche” skill set. That unit would then be used to augment the A¬teams and B-teams (SF compa¬nies) for specific missions, and to train soldiers in the line units.

“We’ve got to take the best of the best and put them in these cadre formations that are in the redesig-nated fourth battalion because that’s our high-end skill set,” Repass said. “That’s how we grow these guys long term and turn them into the masters of their trade.” The special troops battalions will have the added advantage of providing a way for SF soldiers who have been worn down physi¬cally by multiple combat tours to remain productive, Repass said.

“This is a place for veteran oper¬ators to go and still contribute,” he said. “We’ve got lots of guys that want to be on teams, but they’re physically not able anymore. What do we do? We can’t just cast these guys away, they’re at the height — potentially — of their professional contribution in some skill level. And this is a place to put those guys ... [where] they don’t have to operate at the same op tempo as a regular ODA guy would.” Grouping most of the specially trained soldiers in one battalion will not lower the experience level in the line battalions, Repass said. “We haven’t altered the rank structure at all down at the detachments [i.e. the A- and B-teams],” he said. “It’s not like I’m taking an E-7 off of a team and taking that slot for that E-7 and moving it to the fourth battal¬ion. There’s still an E-7 slot on that team.” But that statement is “disingen¬uous at best,” said a field grade SF officer. “Clearly that doesn’t jive. The experience or the training that you desire in the special troops battalion is not due to rank, it’s due to the additional schooling and the additional training. … Rank has nothing to do with this. You have guys that are E-6s that have these skills. … Yeah, there will be experienced people at the ODA level and in the line battal¬ions, but you are going to have either none or at least far fewer of these soldiers who have received this extra specialized training.

“Each ODA has one or two of these guys who have been special¬ly trained,” the field grade officer said. “But if you pull them all together, yeah, you’ve got a really high-end group of guys who can do that stuff, but … to isolate it is going to reduce the capability of the ODAs.” The prospect of creating elite organizations within a communi¬ty that already regards itself as elite was also causing unrest, he said. “What you’re doing is you’re creating special units within SF and that is pissing off a lot of peo¬ple,” he said.

Doing away with the fourth line battalion will also reduce the abil¬ity of a Special Forces group to provide battalion-level special operations task forces (SOTFs) to combat theaters, the field grade SF officer said.

“The whole point of doing this fourth battalion is you give the group some flexibility,” he said. “If you had a two SOTF requirement [in a combat theater], then you can have two in and two out. Now if you go to three [battalions], you’re losing an entire deployable SOTF headquarters.” But Repass said it is at the A- and B-team level that Special Forces is experiencing a deploy¬ment strain. “We’re not having that issue at the SOTF level,” he said. “We don’t count noses at the battalion level, we count them at the ODA level.” The redesigned SF group would still contain almost a battalion’s worth of A¬and B-teams more available for deployment than it had prior to the expansion, he said. (As part of the redesign, each group will lose one A-team as “a manpower bill.”)

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:00 pm
  

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Is this same arrangement of special troops battalion as the Ranger Regiment?

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:10 pm
  

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Mercalocalypse wrote:
Is this same arrangement of special troops battalion as the Ranger Regiment?


The Ranger Special Troops Battalion (RSTB) contains the Military Intel Co. (MIC), Ranger Signal Co. (RSC), Regimental Recon Co. (RRC), a HQ Co. and other assorted troops.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:54 pm
  

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Thanks Dom thats what I was looking for.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:37 am
  

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SAS Men & Navy SEAL Teams take out 50 Taliban

Quote:
SAS Men & Navy SEAL Teams take out 50 Taliban

BRITISH SAS heroes have killed up to 50 Taliban commanders in daring raids behind enemy lines.

The joint attacks with US special forces over the past two weeks have helped prepare the ground for the biggest battle in Afghanistan yet - when 4,000 British troops will go into action.

Special forces dealt the deadly blow to the Taliban by taking out scores of their top field commanders in the build-up to the massive offensive.

SAS men and US Navy SEAL teams killed the 50 insurgent leaders in a series of dramatic covert operations deep inside southern Afghanistan's Helmand badlands.

Their objective was to destroy the Taliban command structure - and military sources labelled the daring raids "a great success".

Precise details remain a secret but it is known that the elite forces spearheaded a "shaping operation" to soften-up the enemy before the biggest offensive since the conflict began in 2001 is launched.

Other British units have also been heavily engaged in the operations to disrupt the Taliban.

Scots Guards uncovered a bomb-making factory and destroyed more than 20 deadly devices.

Grenadier Guards pushed south, hunting for insurgents.

But the Taliban fled rather than fight, leaving booby traps behind.

The Grenadiers left the way clear for dozens of local Afghan National Army and police to flood in and begin the process of bringing security to the district.

Lethal

Major Jim Green, one of the Grenadier officers who planned the shaping operation, told The Sun: "This phase was all about putting the insurgents on the back foot.

"The lads down there have done some incredible things. This has been a great success. It was an operation to free the local people from the Taliban's grip."

Meticulous planning stretching back weeks would have gone into the SAS raids which struck the first blow against the Taliban - and put fear in their hearts.

Patrols of around four men would have used the tried and tested "find, fix, strike" method to locate and destroy their prey.

Their tactics are veiled in secrecy. But they would have moved by night, covering their tracks as they went. Then they would strike with lethal force before vanishing to seek new targets.

The full allied assault, labelled Operation Moshtarak, will involve up to 15,000 troops - at least 4,000 of them British.

Fighting in the Taliban- controlled Nad e-Ali area of Helmand is expected to be ferocious.

Insurgents have even hung from trees blood-stained uniforms discarded by British troops as a taunting warning.

Major Green said the presence of British troops alongside Afghan National Army soldiers in operations so far was welcomed by people living in the insurgent stronghold.

And when the big assault gets under way, a similar tactic will be used, with Our Boys and Afghan forces going in side by side.

This is the first time Afghan troops have been engaged with the international force on such a scale.

Commanders hope it will help reassure locals in Taliban hotspots that their ordeal is almost over.

The build-up to Operation Moshtarak continued at Britain's Camp Bastion HQ yesterday.

Surge

So many helicopters and transport planes are now using the air base there that it is officially busier than Essex's Stansted Airport, an RAF officer revealed.

Squadron Leader John Parfitt is Senior Air Traffic Control Officer at the base.

And when the generals give the order for the big push to start, he and his colleagues will co-ordinate helicopter movements in and out of Camp Bastion.

He said: "We currently have more than 550 movements a day.

"And during the op we will see a surge in movements. It will be the busiest day of our careers."

He described the mood as "businesslike but confident".

THE Taliban's leader in Pakistan did die of wounds received in a US missile attack on his stronghold in Waziristan last month, Interior Minister Rehman Mali said yesterday.

Ruthless Hakimullah Mehsud, 28, was behind bomb attacks that have killed more than 600 people.


http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ne ... aders.html

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:12 pm
  

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Combat controllers recognized for heroic actions
by Buffy Galbraith
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

2/11/2010 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- A combat controller assigned to Hurlburt Field proved his combat skills during a recent deployment to Afghanistan.

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Grove embodied the combat controller motto "First There," demonstrating the combat controller's commitment to undertaking the most dangerous missions behind enemy lines by leading the way for other forces to follow.

According to a Bronze Star citation, Sergeant Grove directed overhead aircraft to engage the enemy as close as 120 meters from his position, with six 500-pound bombs during a recent deployment to Afghanistan. With 15 insurgents closing in on his position, he called for strikes without regard for his own personal safety at danger close range, executing his duties with professionalism and calm.

Sergeant Grove was presented two Bronze Stars, one with Valor for distinguishing himself by heroic or meritorious service performed in ground combat.

Lt. Gen. Donald Wurster, the commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command, was on hand to make the presentation Feb.5, to Sergeant Grove and eight other combat controllers who distinguished themselves while in combat.

"Today is a day to recognize the heroes among us, and I am here to tell you that you are making a difference," said General Wurster. "I am proud of each of you and respect what you do for our country."

Captain Terrero, Chief Travis and Sergeant Stevens were also awarded Air Force Combat Action Medals for their active participation in combat under direct and hostile fire while operating in unsecured space or physically engaging hostile forces with direct and lethal fire.

Colonel Brad Thompson, the 720th Special Tactics Group commander, spoke briefly about the men and their commitment to serve.

"You do it for your brothers and you do it for your nation," he said. "We're thankful and grateful to you."

Other Bronze Star recipients were Lt. Col. Brett Nelson, the commander of 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Maj. Gregory Mallon, Capt. Julio Terrero, Chief Master Sgt. Antonio Travis, Senior Master Sgt. Carlos Neris, Master Sgt. Donald Stevens, Tech Sgt. Joseph Hepler and Staff Sgt. Ryan Carter.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:13 pm
  

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France to Form Special Force to Fight Terrorists
Tuesday, December 01, 2009

PARIS — France's Interior Ministry says it is grouping its elite police intervention units into a single force to better fight potential terrorist attacks.

Three existing units, comprising a total of 500 people, will be united under a single command. The anti-terrorism group will be called the Intervention Force of the National Police, known by its French initials, FIPN.

The FIPN will share the high-tech equipment currently used by the three existing units and will be able to intervene throughout the country.

Though its specialty is anti-terror operations, the force will also intervene in hostage-takings and provide security at major political or sporting events. The change was announced Tuesday by Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:24 am
  

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Dominique,

Thanks for the updates :) Glad to be back.

-STS

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Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:19 am
  

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Army Ranger Wing - Ireland's Special Forces Unit Turns 30

The formation of the ARW came about as a result of a dramatic increase in International Terrorism during the 1970s. The kidnapping of politicians and businessmen as well embassy sieges and the hijacking of air and seagoing craft were a cause of considerable concern to democratic governments worldwide. Conventional military and police tactics were deemed unsuitable for dealing with the escalating threat, and many countries moved to establish special units to deal with so-called
'special situations.' Ireland was not immune to such threats, and hence the ARW was formally established on the 16th of March 1980.

Much of the unit's initial training focused specifically on developing the capability to act directly against terrorist threats and to respond to hijackings and siege situations.Specialist skills and techniques were developed, including rapid insertion methods, building assault and advanced weapon skills.The unit has evolved considerably since its inception 30 years ago however.The ARW's capabilities now include the full spectrum of Special Forces functions on land, at sea and in the air. The roles of the unit are divided into a Conventional Warfare role (Green role) and a Specialist 'Aid to the Civil Power' role (Black role).

In the 'Green Role,' the ARW trains for conventional tasks such as Long Range Patrolling, manning Covert Observation Posts, Special Reconnaissance, Ambush patrols and ‘Direct Action’ missions. A ‘Direct Action’ normally involves a deliberate, well-planned attack on a predesignated target, such as a military or terrorist base, an individual, a vital installation such as a communications facility, or equipment of significant military value. The skills needed to carry out these tasks include specialised high altitude parachuting, combat diving, boat handling, specialist reconnaissance, explosives, sniping and advanced communications skills.

The 'Black Role' or anti-terrorist function of the ARW is primarily concerned with the skills required to resolve siege and hijack situations.These includes techniques to rapidly gain access into vital installations, buildings, aircraft, etc. to neutralise threats, secure hostages and evacuate casualties. In order to prepare for this role, ARW teams undergo rigorous training in advanced urban combat, demolitions, specialist combat shooting, sniping, VIP protection, surveillance and advanced medical skills.The ARW has served with distinction overseas, both as an Initial Entry Force (IEF) tasked with preparing the way for larger Defence Forces deployments, and as a Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) charged with conducting Special Operations in the mission area. Such deployments have taken the unit from the Jungles of East Timor in 1999 to the plantations of Liberia in 2003, and more recently the deserts of Chad in 2008.

Although the capabilities and equipment of the ARW have evolved during their 30-year existence, one aspect of the unit has remained constant; that is the maintenance of the exceptionally high standards which the original Rangers established. Only the most determined, physically able and mentally robust candidates will successfully complete the grueling three-week selection course in order to be accepted for further training with the Special Forces.The course is designed to test the individual’s physical ability, determination and capacity to think and perform decisively under pressure. A mere 15% of each cohort will pass selection, at the end of which a further probationary period of 6 months awaits. Only on successful completion of probation will a Ranger be awarded the coveted Green Beret, which sets the unit apart from the wider Defence Forces.

Information on the numerical strength of the Army Ranger Wing and the identity of its personnel is restricted. Members are obliged to reside within a defined radius of the Curragh Camp, where the unit remains at a high state of readiness for deployment within the State or overseas, in response to a crisis.

Members of the ARW undertake extensive training abroad with other Special Forces in order to ensure that the unit maintains the highest possible international standards. Such cross training, in addition to their performance on operational deployments overseas, have earned the unit the respect and admiration of the wider international Special Forces community.

During their 30-year existence, the ARW has made a substantial contribution to the Defence Forces and to the State. Their ethos of relentless determination and pursuit of excellence provides the Defence Forces with a very potent, niche Special Forces capacity which is at the very forefront of Ireland's military capability.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:34 am
  

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Gen Stanley McChrystal pays tribute to courage of British special forces

General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has paid tribute to the extraordinary courage of British special forces.
By Toby Harnden in Kabul
Published: 9:00PM GMT 23 Mar 2010

He said the SAS and SBS were at the heart of the fight against the Taliban and carrying out surgical attacks against its leaders.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said they played an "essential" role in defeating the Iraq insurgency and now "show courage every day" in Afghanistan.

Gen McChrystal, who led the highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq, revealed he personally took part in SAS missions to kill those controlling suicide bomb networks in Iraq.

The SAS and SBS are now operating mainly in southern Afghanistan "but they are a very flexible force and have ranged pretty effectively" throughout the country.

Since June last year, Gen McChrystal has been conducting a new counter-insurgency strategy designed to designed to win over the Afghan people, improve governance and woo insurgents into the political process.

But this is coupled with a joint US Special Forces and SAS drive to kill as many senior Taliban as possible "to attrit down the leadership", he said.

This is designed to give the Taliban hierarchy the choice of cutting a deal or dying. "We're already seeing indications that there's a lot of thinking among Taliban leaders and Taliban sub-commanders and Taliban fighters, an awful lot of recalculation of the future."

The SAS is at the forefront of what Gen McChrystal described as "taking some network commanders out of the network by precision operations" as part of a planned Nato offensive to regain control of Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban, this summer.

"They have built on all the things they learned about – intelligence-driven operations, very precise targeting, the ability to show a tremendous amount of energy so that you can hit the network as many times as the intelligence will support.

"Many of these are the same guys who for years here and in Iraq have been at it. And these aren't young kids. These are men with kids in high school and college, they don't think they're bullet proof any more – many of them have proven they're not. They show courage every day and that's pretty extraordinary."

The effectiveness of the SAS in Afghanistan, he said, had been honed in Iraq alongside American special forces within JSOC.

"The squadrons that were part of that [JSOC] were part of one team that was all linked together with intelligence, ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance], execution.

"But they focused more in Baghdad than anyone else and it was when the history is finally understood it was the day after day, night after night, constant focus against networks in Baghdad that were slaughtering an incredible number of Iraqis that led to success." From 2006 to 2009, SAS squadrons of about 60 men, commanded by a major, would spend six months in Baghdad as JSOC's "Task Force Black" and later "Task Force Knight".

Asked about their contribution to defeating the Sunni-led insurgency in Iraq, Gen McChrystal responded: "Essential. Could not have done it without them." He singled out the SAS's A Squadron in 2007. "I know one squadron that in a six-month rotation of 180 days I think they did 175 operations.

"That's going out every night into combat. I got to go with them several times. These were not just drive around patrols, these were combat assaults.

"Sometimes right in on the objective by air, more often land away and walk in several kilometres so that you could achieve some surprise and sometimes driving." During an operation at Salman Pak on the outskirts of Baghdad in November 2007, Sergeant John Battersby and Trooper Lee Fitzsimmons of A Squadron were killed when their Puma crashed and rolled over, trapping them underneath the fuselage.

After battling in vain to save their comrades, the survivors continued on to assault the house that was their objective.

"Unless you have been close to a situation like that it is hard to appreciate what that means," said Gen McChrystal.

"In a force like that where people spend years and years together, linkages and loyalty builds up to the point where every loss is particularly painful.

And so to watch them pick themselves up and continue on with the mission both that night and then every subsequent night is pretty humbling." In October 2009, Gen McChrystal attended a service at Hereford Cathedral to mark the end of the SAS's campaign in Iraq and spoke at a dinner in the SAS sergeants' mess afterwards.

In his Telegraph interview, Gen McChrystal also paid tribute to the contributions of the British to his new counter-insurgency strategy, which that will soon see a doubling of Americans forces to 100,000 in Afghanistan, including more than 20,000 in Helmand alongside about 10,000 British troops.

"If you sit down with British officers or British senior NCOs they understand the sweep of history. They know the history of British forces not just in Afghanistan but the history of British successful counter-insurgencies – Northern Ireland, Malaysia.

"There's a particularly strong understanding of things beyond tactics. If you talk to a British officer or NCO about the strategic objectives of the end state, you'll often get a spirited discussion that's very well informed.

"And to me that brings a maturity to the effort that's invaluable."

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:57 pm
  

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Comment: NEVER QUIT..... I got lucky
Dominique you reminded me of the R.P.G( not rocket propelled grenade) that will come i don't when WARPATH man keep up the great job

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:22 pm
  

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Didn't the UK disband their 2nd Para to be reformed as a Ranger like unit?


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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:14 am
  

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ICHIBAN11 wrote:
Didn't the UK disband their 2nd Para to be reformed as a Ranger like unit?


Nope, 1 Para (along with a platoon from the RAF Regiment's II Filed Squadron and a company from the Fleet Protection Group, Royal Marines [FRGRM]), as the basis of the new Special Forces Support Group.

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Unread postPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 11:46 pm
  

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SEALs in bin Laden raid drawn from Red Squadron
By Sean D. Naylor - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday May 5, 2011 22:37:30 EDT

The SEALs who assaulted Osama bin Laden’s compound were drawn from Naval Special Warfare Development Group’s Red Squadron, according to several sources in the special operations community.

DevGru, as the Development Group is usually known, is the Naval Special Warfare Command’s “Tier 1” special mission unit, the Navy equivalent of the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment — Delta, or Delta Force. It includes four line squadrons: Blue, Gold, Red and the recently-formed Silver Squadrons, a recently retired SEAL officer said. In addition, DevGru, sometimes known by its original name of SEAL Team 6, has a strategic reconnaissance element named Black Squadron, which is “a whole different animal,” he said.

Red Squadron was picked for the mission because it was ready at DevGru’s Dam Neck, Va., headquarters and available for tasking. “It was Red Squadron,” the recently retired SEAL officer said. “They were not on alert and they weren’t deployed.”

Like the other line squadrons, Red Squadron has about 50 operators, “of which they picked about half of them for this thing,” he added.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:50 pm
  

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Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel G DSM
Special Operations Task Group
Speech
Media Roundtable, 8 July 2011


Introduction by Special Operations Commander Australia, Major General Peter (Gus) Gilmore, DSC, AM

Thank you for coming today. It is great to have the opportunity to tell Special Operations Task Group’s (SOTG) story and today we do so with operational security limitations I’m sure you’ll all understand.

I’d like to introduce Lieutenant Colonel G - who was the Commanding Officer of the SOTG from December 2010 to June 2011, this was his third tour in Afghanistan, having first deployed as a junior officer in 2001 and again in 2006. Our Special Forces give us much cause for great pride. Lieutenant Colonel G is best placed to speak for them and tell SOTG’s story of the past six months.


http://www.defence.gov.au/media/Departm ... ntId=12101

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:56 pm
  

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82nd CAB Pathfinders train for Personnel Recovery missions
05.17.2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Three vehicles left without roofs or doors, and the Paratroopers of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade’s Pathfinder Company know their morning spent training at the salvage yard was worthwhile.

While practicing to hone their skills with the “Jaws of Life” and a sawzall does not qualify as typical training for most infantry soldiers, neither does the sling load training or aircraft familiarity training also conducted by the Pathfinders of Company F, 2nd Aviation Assault Battalion, 82nd CAB.

For these troops, who are currently training for their deployment to Afghanistan with the aviators of 2-82 AASLT and Task Force Corsair during High Altitude Mountain Environmental Training at Fort Carson, Colo., their standard infantry training must coincide with specialized training to conduct downed aircraft recovery and personnel recovery missions.

“Being at HAMET has been a good opportunity for us to conduct focused training,” said 1st Sgt. Patrick Smittle, the Pathfinder Company first sergeant.

To ensure the soldiers are physically able to do their jobs at a higher altitude, each day begins with a five-mile run followed by routine physical training.

“We’ve been conducting our normal PT at an altitude more similar to what we’re going to see during our deployment,” said Capt. Ric Jones, the Pathfinder Company commander.

Following their physical fitness training at their barracks, the Pathfinders are taking the opportunity in and around Fort Carson and Butts Army Airfield to conduct infantry training and sharpen their aircraft and personnel recovery skills.

With the 82nd CAB CH-47 Chinook helicopters on hand for HAMET, the Pathfinders have been able to practice the sling-load operations they will need to know to help with the removal of a downed aircraft or to help resupply soldiers throughout eastern Afghanistan.

Pvt. Chase McKissick, of Venus, Penn., serves as a sawgunner with the Pathfinders.

“I’ve been able to learn more about the aircraft and practice hooking up a sling-load to the Chinook helicopters,” McKissick said.

In addition to the Chinooks, the soldiers also have access to the UH-60M Black Hawks, the OH-58D Kiowa Warriors and the AH-64 Apaches.

“We’ve conducted familiarization on all the aircraft frames focused on how to get inside an aircraft if the passengers or pilots are unconscious,” Jones added. “The training also gives us the opportunity to learn about the sensitive items in the aircraft that may need to be destroyed.”

In order to actually use their tools and practice getting into a vehicle where the doors are jammed shut, the soldiers went to a local salvage yard in Colorado Springs, Colo., to practice on real cars.

“We’re continuing to refine our skills in understanding where to breach and where to cut,” Jones said.

While the leadership had been able to use the equipment before in the Fort Bragg area, this time, every soldier had the opportunity to use the “Jaws of Life”, a cutter and spreader tool, and sawzalls, small open-faced steel saws that vibrate up and down.

“Out here was the time for the non-commissioned officers to train the soldiers,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Hagberg, a platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, Company F.

That training for the soldiers, who had been given classroom instruction on the tools at Fort Bragg, enabled the leadership to highlight the importance of rescuing the person who could be trapped inside a vehicle or helicopter.

“Our NCOs focused on using the equipment in a way that doesn’t further injure passengers,” said Spc. Chandler Staggs, a grenadier and rifleman with the Pathfinder Company.

To better simulate the crash scenario, the soldiers also practiced with a vehicle on its side.

“I had to learn the different techniques of holding the equipment when the vehicle wasn’t upright,” added Staggs, of Marion, Ind.

Once each of the soldiers had the opportunity to use the equipment at least once, they were split into teams of two and timed on how quickly they could remove a car door.

“We were able to practice communicating and working together to remove the doors,” McKissick said. “We had to make the most of the abilities each of us brought to the table and use the right guy for the right thing.”

As the Pathfinders continue training during TF Corsair’s rotation at HAMET, the unit plans to follow-up their salvage-yard training by bringing one of the cars to Fort Carson training grounds to conduct an on order personnel recovery mission where the troops air assault into the training area and extract a simulated dummy-patient from the vehicle.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:38 pm
  

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SBS Carry Out Somalia Surveillance Ops
11.07.2011

According to the Sun newspaper, the Special Boat Service (SBS) has carried out a series of covert surveillance operations along the Somalia coastline. Over an 8-week period, the SBS reportedly gathered intelligence at a number of ports where pirate activity has been suspected. The operation was said to have concluded 'a few weeks ago'.

The growing threat from piracy emanating from Somalia has led to an increased naval presence in the Gulf of Aden. A multi-national task force, including Royal Navy vessels, patrols the waters where the pirates operate and Royal Marines boarding parties regularly intercept suspected pirate vessels in the region. This, however, is the first report of British special forces operating against the pirate bases.

The last reported SBS operation in the region was an aborted attempt to rescue a British couple who had been kidnapped from their yacht by Somali pirates. Logistical delays meant that the SBS team arrived when it was too late to launch a rescue, much to the chagrin of the team of Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines who were on-site and in a position to intervene but were ordered to wait for the SBS

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:56 am
  

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HSC 84 Red Wolves Recognized With Four Awards

By Lt. Bradley Conroy, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 84 Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Navy Reserve Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HSC) 84 capped off a year of distinguished service when the squadron received the Citizen Patriot Unit award for 2010 at a ceremony March 22 at Fort Myer, Va.

The Citizen Patriot award recognizes individuals and units or organizations whose performance exceeds the normal scope of service in support of the nation's defense.

The three other awards for the squadron were the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service in action against enemy forces in support of Iraqi Freedom for the period of March 2004 through January 2010; the 2010 Commander, Naval Air Forces Reserve Noel Davis Battle Efficiency Award; and was selected as the Commander Naval Air Forces Reserve squadron of the year. The squadron of the year recognizes HSC 84 as the most battle ready squadron in the Naval Air Reserve.

2010 was a year of challenges and successes for the Red Wolves of HSC 84 who distinguished themselves as a battle-tested squadron in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Rear Adm. Chris Sadler, commander, Naval Air Force Reserve, said the Red Wolves "were the clear stand outs among this august group [of Navy Reserve Squadrons]."

The four awards HSC 84 received followed historical combat operations conducted by the squadron. HSC 84 conducted the longest sustained combat deployment of U. S. Navy helicopters in history. HSC 84 was also recognized for its dedicated support to joint and coalition special operations forces (SOF) operating in Iraq.

In 2010, HSC 84 flew more than 619 combat sorties. During the hundreds of sorties HSC 84 provided armed escort for ground assault forces, completed psychological warfare missions, intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance, sniper over-watch, close air support, casualty evacuation, and continued logistical troop movements of SOF personnel. In September 2010 the Red Wolves surpassed a 12,000 hours combat flight-time milestone without loss of life or injury due to enemy action.

Between deployments to the desert, the HSC 84 pilot and aircrew instructors sustained a high flight training tempo. Between deployments they to guard qualified full-time support, selected Reserve, and active-duty crew members in tactical flight operations. The home guard component of the squadron also sent detachments around the country in 2010 supporting multiple units. HSC 84 conducted training at the U. S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada; the 24th Special Tactics Squadron at Fort Bragg, N.C.; and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment in Savannah Ga.

The Sailors of HSC-84 continue the tradition of excellence in Naval Special Warfare in 2011. The squadron departs in April for Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas to participate in joint exercises. The Red Wolves will also conduct joint CSAR training with the airmen of the U. S. Air Force Weapons School. The forward deployed members of Red Wolves Detachment One continue to provide support in the Central Command area of responsibiliy.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:04 pm
  

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Mission helo was secret stealth Black Hawk
By Sean D. Naylor - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday May 4, 2011 18:08:39 EDT

The helicopters that flew the Navy SEALs on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden were a radar-evading variant of the special operations MH-60 Black Hawk, according to a retired special operations aviator.

The helicopter’s low-observable technology is similar to that of the F-117 Stealth Fighter the retired special operations aviator said. “It really didn’t look like a traditional Black Hawk,” he said. It had “hard edges, sort of like an … F-117, you know how they have those distinctive edges and angles — that’s what they had on this one.”

In addition, “in order to keep the radar cross-section down, you have to do something to treat the windshield,” he said. If a special coating was applied to the windshield it is “very plausible” that would make the helicopter more difficult to fly for pilots wearing night-vision goggles, he said. The helicopters carrying the SEALs arrived over the bin Laden compound at about 1 a.m. Monday local time. One crash-landed in the courtyard and was so badly damaged it was unable to take off again.

That crash landing might have been caused by a phenomenon known as “settling with power,” which occurs when a helicopter descends too quickly because its rotors cannot get the lift required from the turbulent air of their own downwash. “It’s hard to settle with power in a Black Hawk, but then again, if they were using one of these [low-observable helicopters], working at max gross weight, it’s certainly plausible that they could have because they would have been flying so heavy,” the retired special operations aviator said, noting that low-observable modifications added “several hundred pounds” to the weight of the MH-60, which already weighs about 500 to 1000 pounds more than a regular UH-60 Black Hawk.

The special operations troops on the bin Laden mission destroyed the stricken aircraft — most likely using thermite grenades — but the resultant fire left the helicopter’s tail boom, tail rotor assembly and horizontal stabilizers intact in the compound’s courtyard.

Photographs of the wreckage taken the next day raced around the Internet, creating a firestorm of speculation among military aviation enthusiasts because the tail of the helicopter did not resemble any officially acknowledged U.S. military airframe.

This was to be expected, the retired special operations aviator said. “Certain parts of the fuselage, the nose and the tail had these various almost like snap-on parts to them that gave it the very unique appearance,” he said. He and another source referred to the disc-shaped device that is seen covering the tail rotor in the photographs as a “hubcap.”

If the radar-evading technology worked, it “would be a true statement” to say that the use of the low-observable Black Hawks was evidence that the United States gave Pakistani authorities no advance warning of the mission, the retired special operations aviator added.

The low-observable program started with AH-6 Little Bird special operations attack helicopters in the 1980s, said the aviator. During the 1990s U.S. Special Operations Command worked with the Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works division, which also designed the F-117, to refine the radar-evading technology and apply it to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment’s MH-60s, he said. USSOCOM awarded a contract to Boeing to modify several MH-60s to the low-observable design “in the ’99 to 2000 timeframe,” he said.

Initial plans called for the low-observable Black Hawks to be formed into a new unit commanded by a lieutenant colonel and located at a military facility in Nevada, the retired special operations aviator said. “The intent was always to move it out west where it could be kept in a covered capability,” he said.

USSOCOM planned to assign about 35 to 50 personnel to the unit, the retired special operations aviator said. “There were going to be four [low-observable] aircraft, they were going to have a couple of ‘slick’ unmodified Black Hawks, and that was going to be their job was to fly the low-observables.”

SOCOM canceled those plans “within the last two years,” but not before at least some of the low-observable helicopters had been delivered to the Nevada facility, the retired aviator said. “I don’t know if it was for money or if it was because the technology was not achieving the reduction in the radar cross-section that they were hoping for,” he said. In the meantime, MH-60 Black Hawk crews from the 160th’s 1st Battalion, headquartered at Fort Campbell, Ky., would rotate to Nevada to train on the stealthy aircraft, he said.

The low-observable MH-60s were armed with the same sort of door mini-guns as standard MH-60s, he said. “There was not a DAP conversion,” he added, referring to the MH-60 variant known as the Direct Action Penetrator, which is equipped with stub wings upon which can be fitted a variety of armaments.

The early versions of the low-observable Black Hawks were not fitted with air-to-air refueling probes, the retired special operations aviator said. “The probe would disrupt the ability to reduce the radar cross-section,” he added. “There was no way to put some kind of a hub or cowling over the probe that would make it stealthy.” However, he said he did not know whether the models that flew the bin Laden mission had been equipped with such probes.

USSOCOM spokesman Army Col. Tim Nye said his command had no comment for this story.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:06 am
  

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Inside story of the UK's secret mission to beat Gaddafi
By Mark Urban Diplomatic and defence editor, Newsnight

British efforts to help topple Colonel Gaddafi were not limited to air strikes. On the ground - and on the quiet - special forces soldiers were blending in with rebel fighters. This is the previously untold account of the crucial part they played.

The British campaign to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi's regime had its public face - with aircraft dropping bombs, or Royal Navy ships appearing in Libyan waters, but it also had a secret aspect.

My investigations into that covert effort reveal a story of practically minded people trying to get on with the job, while all the time facing political and legal constraints imposed from London.

In the end, though, British special forces were deployed on the ground in order to help the UK's allies - the Libyan revolutionaries often called the National Transitional Council or NTC. Those with a knowledge of the programme insist "they did a tremendous job" and contributed to the final collapse of the Gaddafi regime.


Continued Here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16573516

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:44 pm
  

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MARSOC Marines shift focus beyond Afghanistan

By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Apr 24, 2012 18:04:32 EDT

The boomerang rotations to Afghanistan that most Marine special operators have been on for years will soon shift as operations there shrink and the special operations community turns its attention to the rest of the globe.

For Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, the other-than-Afghanistan deployments have long been the purview of 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalion out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., whose critical skills operators quietly have gone about building foreign relationships and gaining military and cultural experience.

Except for sporadic support for the Afghanistan mission, 3rd MSOB’s operators have deployed in small teams to remote locations, without benefit of the established military logistics supply chains and mobility resources in Afghanistan.

Marines going to the war zone “are husbanded all the way to a point in Kabul, or wherever they’re going,” said 3rd MSOB commander Lt. Col. Darren Duke, whose battalion consists of about 350 troops. “Our guys are on a team level — a captain and 11 or 13 Marines and sailors, and that captain will take his small band of merry men and make his way to a small Pacific island or small base in the middle of the rainforest in Brazil.”

The teams’ deployments are training evolutions that fall under the Joint Combined Exchange Training program, or JCET, a U.S. Special Operations Command program in which special operations forces from each service component work and train overseas with foreign military forces, a traditional SOF mission.

It is more than likely that as things wind down in Afghanistan, greater numbers of operators from 2nd MSOB at Lejeune and 1st MSOB based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., will deploy in support of the JCET mission.

What that means for MARSOC is the growth of a deeper bench of operators and support personnel who understand the ways of the world’s military forces and the particularities of the way their countries do business.

“As our cultural immersion capacity increases, so will our reach,” said MARSOC spokesman Maj. Jeff Landis.

Operators assigned to 3rd MSOB have spent up to two months at a time in Brazil, the Philippines, Malaysia, the Dominican Republic, Thailand and Indonesia. Marines are teaching and learning.

The Philippines, for example, “is a wonderful opportunity for us to get out as amphibious creatures and practice our amphibious capabilities in terms of boats and working in and around the water,” Duke said.

Operators may deploy to an austere base in Africa, where the nearest military support facility is 3,000 miles away, or to a remote Pacific island with no airfield, forcing the team to move equipment and personnel via barges or boats.

The mission, Duke said, “matures our operators and our Marines who provide support.”

“It makes them more cosmopolitan in a military sense,” he added. “Somebody who’s traveled the world makes better decisions.”

Training for JCET deployments, Duke said, takes place in locations all over the country, and in some overseas locations, such as the Arctic Circle. Marine operators were there in 2010 to train with British and Norwegian forces.

To get them ready for that event, the Marines conducted survival training in Alaska.

“We wanted them to show up capable of integrating into combined forces, like the Brits and Norwegians who operate routinely in those locations,” Duke said.

Language and cultural understanding also is learned up front, with native role players who work with the Marines in the U.S. in anticipation of JCET deployments.

MARSOC recently sought to contract Tagalog speakers to act as role players in scenarios intended to simulate the Philippines. The training was to take place at Camp McCrady in Eastover, S.C.

“We give them training on the region and culture before they go,” Duke said, “When they get there, they are not starting from scratch

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:34 pm
  

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MarSOC officially adopts Marine Raider name

A lineage continues as present-day special operations forces permanently bind themselves to their World War II counterparts.

Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command held a re-designation ceremony Friday aboard Stone Bay, Camp Lejeune to officially adopt the name of Marine Raider. The moniker reflects the rich history of the first modern special operations units who fought during World War II. Four Marine Raider Battalions and two Raider Regiments were formed to conduct amphibious raids and guerrilla operations behind enemy lines from 1942 to 1944. Three of the original Raiders were among those in attendance to watch the historic moment.

Kenneth “Mud Hole” Merrill traveled from the state of Washington to witness the legacy of his service being carried forward by today’s Marines. The 90-year old spent three days in the area sharing stories with current serving Marine Special Operations Command (MarSOC) Marines.

“Today’s our day. I’ve been hoping something like this would happen because our legacy will carry on now,” Merrill said. “I’ve talked to a lot of (MarSOC Marines) since I’ve been here … and I’ve had conversations with them and of what they’ve done, they’ve added to what we did. It’s absolutely astounding what they’ve done now. I’m so proud of every one of them.”

Eighty-nine year old Harold Berg enlisted in the Marine Corps on his 17th birthday. He said he was so proud to fight on behalf of the country. The Illinois resident said he is proud to know that the best of the best are continuing on the Raider name.

“I’m proud of the Marine Corps, very proud because now MarSOC took the best of the Marines and when it came down the scuttlebutt that these Marines wanted to be named after us, it made us feel good as Raiders,” Berg said.

From the establishment of MarSOC Detachment One in 2003, Special Operations Marines have used the Raider insignia in their unit emblems making it both a linkage to Marine Corps identity and a source of unit pride.

A MarSOC critical skills operator, who has been with the unit since its inception, said the original Raiders paved the way for a special operations unit in the Marine Corps. His identity remains confidential at the request of the unit due to the sensitive nature of his work.

“I think that the World War II Raiders essentially established who we are today. MarSOC exists solely because of the actions of those men and their ability to prove that the concept that the Marine Corps was capable of doing such operations. And they did it well,” he said. “They did so much with so little for so many so often.”

The re-naming process was “years in the works,” according to Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman, MarSOC commander. He said this re-designation is about much more than just a name change.

“The importance to all of the Marines here is the fact that we have a legacy associated with the Marines who were Raiders of World War II. There’s that legacy that they really respect about what was done in the past in terms of special operations,” Osterman said. “Marines always reach back to the history and who they want to emulate for the future in terms of who they are; the professionalism, the tactical acumen, the persona that the Raiders had is something they’d like to have an identity with and obviously the Raiders from World War II would love to have us continue their legacy.

“It fits nicely together – Marines are who they are, special ops is what they do and the Raider name really ties those two things together very well,” he added.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:07 pm
  

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This one is pretty big, so instead of trying to repost the article, I'm just posting a link to the original.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... rd-targets

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:23 pm
  

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AFSOC Uses ‘Dagger’ Teams as its Pointy Tip of the Spear
4/17/2020
By Scott R. Gourley

In its recently released “Strategic Guidance” document, Air Force Special Operations Command leadership articulates the principle that “AFSOC’s human capital is our competitive advantage.”

One set of tactical organizations where that human capital stands in the spotlight are AFSOC’s deployed aircraft ground response element, or DAGRE — small teams within the Air Force’s security forces that receive specialized training to support the command’s assets and personnel in austere locations around the globe.

The DAGRE program was implemented in 2008, and reflected the realization that security for AFSOC assets was not being properly protected under the previous force protection plan set forth by anti-terrorism officers.

Prior to the implementation of DAGRE — pronounced “dagger” — most of the command’s platforms were expected to be protected by users, who were generally the same personnel operating and maintaining the asset. However, planners assessed that security could not be just an extra duty for pilots and maintainers. A dedicated, highly trained team of security specialists was needed so that aircrew members and other personnel could give the utmost attention to their critical primary duties.

The implementation and expansion of the DAGRE program over the last decade has reflected the need to maintain security as a high priority for transitioning AFSOC aircraft and personnel.

DAGRE operations currently fall under AFSOC headquarters. Units in the Continental United States belong to a security forces squadron while at home station but continue to meet the requirements of headquarters and supported overseas units while deployed.

Although unable to discuss units’ specific “deployed structure” due to operational security issues, members of one DAGRE team associated with the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, recently explained to National Defense that the structure of DAGRE teams generally includes a non-commissioned officer in charge, serving as team leader, along with an assistant team leader and “remaining team members.”

According to a team leader, Technical Sgt. Cory Irvin, DAGRE is a specialty within Air Force security forces, or military police.

The program is open to all security forces airmen within the ranks of senior airman to master sergeant who meet the AFSOC physical and professional standards. Once qualified, team members have the ability to stay within the DAGRE sections for an extended period of time. Alternately, they can also go back to the broader security forces community.

The “DAGRE pipeline” is located at Hurlburt Field, Florida, under the 371st Special Operations Combat Training Squadron. While at Hurlburt, members learn different skill trades, including tactical casualty combat care, defensive driving, tactical communications, tactical security details, land navigation and a wide variety of firing courses.

Additional training courses and qualifications that DAGRE personnel are able to obtain range from air assault to certain leadership courses like Ranger school.

“As a DAGRE team leader, I look for individuals that are highly competent, critical thinkers who have great communication skills and have the flexibility/adaptability to execute any task that may be required in a multitude of environments,” Irvin said. “They must be skilled shooters who always increase their abilities and strive for perfection. They must be physically fit, since all DAGREs must maintain above a 90 percent [Air Force physical fitness test] score to be considered deployment eligible.”

Physical fitness not only enables DAGREs to endure the strains and pressures of the job, but a physically fit team presents a psychological security deterrent, he added.

“Ultimately, a security forces member who wants to be DAGRE needs to do so for the right reasons. With the high tempo and strenuous training, the member must be selfless and a great team player who is always looking out for the men and women they work with and protect,” he said.

Irvin reiterated that the DAGRE core mission is security, elaborating, “That equates to protecting AFSOC aircraft or personnel on the ground safely by ensuring proper force protection measures are met when aircraft are transiting through austere locations.”

DAGRE teams can be tasked to perform fly-away security, which involves protecting aircraft on the ground. While there, they also can perform “site security and conduct airfield threat assessments for future planning.”

Asked to elaborate on some past scenarios, one team member said some recent fly-away security missions have involved “protecting high profile individuals” in multiple countries as these members traversed from different airfields. Additionally, in austere locations, they noted that DAGRE teams have previously provided security for detainee transfers and have taken part in voting ballet transfers during critical elections within some countries.

Acknowledging the broad skill sets required for such diverse operational profiles, Irvin said that team proficiency is maintained by the fact that DAGREs are in a state of constant training.

“One of the biggest differences between DAGRE and conventional security forces is the required need of ever-revolving training cycles that enable us to keep our core skill set that consists of mandatory evaluated tasks current,” he said. “Through communication with [AFSOC headquarters], a basic framework is developed of what future operations may exist and training is constantly tailored to meet the needs of the area of operations that we will be in.”

The training also includes participation in a wide range of exercises, including multiple Special Operations Command humanitarian assistance/disaster relief events, combat search-and-rescue scenarios, and joint services recovery operations.

Recent exercise involvement has included the Jaded Thunder joint service exercise, Exercise Flintlock in Africa, and the annual Emerald Warrior — a Defense Department event focusing on irregular warfare and designed to hone special operations forces air and ground combat skills.

Describing team activities and host nation interaction in “the deployed environment,” Irvin said, “It is essential for the DAGRE team leader to develop priorities of work and work-rest cycles for his/her team,” adding that “assessing the level of host nation security available as well as building rapport with the host nation’s forces enables a more tailored security posture.”

A host nation’s security forces might have the capability of providing physical barriers — such as fencing, jersey barriers, ropes or cones — or lighting to the team, which could enhance and extend the DAGRE’s security posture, he said.

In terms of their own equipment, DAGRE teams use a variety of materiel solutions not necessarily found in broader Air Force inventories.

“DAGREs are outfitted to be more of a lighter, leaner and lethal asset,” said one team member. “The main goal is to continuously improve DAGRE’s equipment based off evolving technology and modernized mission changes. Communications equipment will include multiband handheld radios. We also use night vision equipment. As for mobility platforms, DAGREs have been known to operate off-road vehicles and light armored vehicles.”

Irvin highlighted the teams’ impact as potential force multipliers.

“DAGREs are experts at their trade and are able to adapt to any situation that might arise,” he said. “Being flexible has always been a key mindset within DAGRE operations.

With security always being a necessity, DAGREs bring a unique perspective and have the ability to work with all special operations forces.”

Meanwhile, recent incidents around the world, like the January 2020 Islamist extremist attack on a small military base in Africa used by U.S. and Kenyan troops, is likely to prompt a greater appreciation in some circles for the teams and their capabilities.

DAGREs are responsible for conducting defensive operations, enhancing force movement, providing operational force protection, providing security for operational forces, sustaining deployed forces and protecting the force, Irvin said.

“They are ‘tip of the spear’ security forces subject matter experts that bring anti-terrorism/force protection advisement to deployed mission commanders,” he said. “Their ability to tailor security to any environment and mission set is second to none and would be of great benefit to any SOF command across the Department of Defense.”

Asked how he envisions the DAGRE program might evolve over the next five years, Irvin said, “I see the program focusing their training to near-peer adversaries. As the demand for DAGREs grow, I also see the selection and training process becoming more metrics based and selective in nature to ensure that quality DAGREs continue to be developed in line with the SOF truths that ‘quality is better than quantity’ and that ‘SOF can’t be mass produced.’”

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