This SOF news update contains news snippets on the special operations world from the last week of June, 2016. The following links include some history, current events, SOF news, and videos not reported elsewhere by the SOFREP team. There’s so much out there to cover!
Former Navy SEAL heads up effort to defeat ISIS online
The State Department’s Global Engagement Center is headed up by retired Navy SEAL Commander Michael Lumpkin. The former SEAL says that the goal is to effectively counter the terrorists’ messaging by involving many government agencies in the online fight. Read more in “How the U.S. is working to defeat ISIS online,” The Hill Defense Blog, June 25, 2016.
“SOF for life” – Or how to transition
The Global SOF Foundation has published an article that reveals a program to assist SOF veterans in their transition from military service to civilian life and work. This article, written by Stu Bradin—who provides some good SOF news occasionally—could be worth reading if you are making that big step out the door into the real world.
Transition – SF networking techniques
Another article by the Global SOF Foundation is “Mastering the Transition Through Special Forces Networking Techniques” (June 20, 2016). This one is written by Juan Perez.
Video: Difference between SEALs and Green Berets?
Retired LTC Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret, describes how the Navy SEALs and U.S. Army Special Forces are different in this short two-minute-long video posted by Business Insider, June 30, 2016.
Operation Entebbe – 40 years ago
In June 1976, Israeli commandos launched a hostage rescue after two Palestinian and two German terrorists hijacked a commercial airliner with 248 passengers on board. The plane flew on to Libya where additional terrorists were taken on. The hijacked plane then landed in Uganda, where the Israelis were kept captive and the remaining passengers released. Israel launched a rescue mission. The task force was comprised of the elite special operations unit Sayeret Matkal, as well as Air Force pilots, paratroopers, and support personnel. The mission was a success. Other nations took note and soon developed plans for establishing similar counterterrorist forces. Read more in “Operation Entebbe as told by the commandos: Planning the mission,” ynetnews.com, June 27, 2016.
General John Campbell (Ret.) now on defense firm’s board
John Campbell, a newly retired four-star general who had commanded Resolute Support headquarters in Afghanistan, is now on the board of the J.F. Lehman & Company, a middle-market private equity firm focused on the defense, aerospace, and maritime sectors. Campbell was also a former member of U.S. Army Special Forces. Read his biography written when he was a major general.
3rd SFGA and Swift Response 16
The 3rd Special Forces Group and the German 31st Airborne Regiment recently worked together in an exercise at the Hohenfels Training Area in June 2016. Read more in “Special operation forces build relationships at Swift Response 16”, Army.mil, June 23, 2016.
6th MISB Exercise in W.V.
A small National Guard training facility in the hills of West Virginia is the site that was used for a mission readiness exercise by the 6th Military Information Support Battalion (MISB). The 6th MISB is part of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Military Information Support Operations (MISO) is the new name for psychological operations (PSYOP). I guess MISO is more politically correct! Read more about the exercise in “6th Military Information Support Battalion validates deployers”, Army.mil, June 23, 2016.
3/3rd SFGA CoC
LTC Kent G. Solheim assumed command of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group in a ceremony on June 24, 2016 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Brit special forces in Syria
According to a report by The Times, the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) are assisting the New Syrian Army (NSA) in the fight against ISIS in Syria. It would appear that the Brits are now working alongside rebel forces that they had trained in Jordan. Read “UK special forces take frontline role in Syria”, The Times, June 6, 2016.
2018 Green Beret Conference
Every year, the Special Forces Association hosts a national convention. It is usually in a different location each year. In June 2018, it will be held in El Paso, Texas. Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 attendees are expected. These national conventions are quite the event, and lots of old timers (former SF guys) will link up with their buddies, drink lots of beer, and tell war stories (some of them true). A few years back, in 2000, Chapter 54 of the Special Forces Association, based in Boston, Massachusetts, hosted the annual convention. As a member of Chapter 54, I had the distinct privilege (assigned, not volunteer) of running the “beer suite” at the SFA National Convention in 2000. This room was open 24/7 for four entire days. My job was to keep the beer keg taps running! Every morning my wife and I would kick the old beer-drinking, story-telling ex-Green Berets out so we could vacuum the carpet, wipe down the tables, and clean up the room. They would head out for breakfast and come back at 7:00 a.m. Amazing! Read more about the 2018 meeting in “El Paso selected to host the 2018 Green Beret Conference”, KVIA.com, June 22, 2016.
SFA comes out against popular generals
The Special Forces Association has penned a letter expressing their discontent for the stand that Generals Petraeus and McCrystal have taken on gun control. Read more in “Special Forces Association Rips Petraeus, McCrystal for Gun Control Betrayal”, Bearing Arms, June 27, 2016.
Ex-Navy SEAL seeking public office selling ‘ISIS hunting permits’
A Missouri Republican running for governor, Eric Greitens, is raising money by providing mock hunting tags. Read more in a news report in the New York Post (June 29, 2016).
How Do Navy SEALs prepare for the cold?
A recent article published online describes one method of staying alive in very cold weather. Read “How The Navy SEALs Prepare for Extreme Cold Weather Survival, And How You Can Too”, Gizmodo.com.au, June 25, 2016.
Air Force RAS team from Special Tactics Training Squadron
The recruitment, assessment, and selection (RAS) team from Hurlburt Field, Florida, runs a selection course for those Air Force personnel looking to join the special tactics career field. Learn more about the selection process in “Small team ensures special tactics career field grow with the best,” Air Force News, June 30, 2016.
Video on LTC Kenneth Dwyer
A Special Forces LTC from 3rd SFGA is profiled by Major League Baseball (MLB) on his recovery from severe wounds received in Afghanistan. Check out this six-minute long video posted on June 30, 2016.
Famed TV chef trains with U.K.’s elite Marines
Television cook Gordon Ramsay trains up with the United Kingdom’s Royal Marines and teaches them a little about cooking. View a seven-minute-long video of the training he undergoes in “Watch Gordon Ramsay Train With the U.K.’s Royal Marines”, eater.com, June 27, 2016. Lots of “Ramsay, get a move on” are heard!
A little humor
This video by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has nothing to do with special operations, but lots to do about intelligence gathering, personal security, and travel awareness. I wish I had videos like this when I was teaching personal security classes overseas a few decades ago! This is a solid seven minutes of entertainment (where Americans are a bit on the naïve side, foreign female intelligence agents are always pretty, and the ‘bad people’ always have eyes on you). We try to provide some SOF news that encourages you to relax and have some fun! Watch “Know the Risk—Raise Your Shield: Travel Awareness,” YouTube.com, June 29, 2016.
And my favorite, SF music!
A group of SF dudes from North Carolina have gotten together and formed up a southern rock and blues band. They have released their first album and I listened to the title track, “Goat Tree.” The song sounds very Three Doors Down-ish. I can see this being played on headsets prior to leaving the base camp in the M-ATV! Visit their website and listen to the title track on YouTube.com.