“At 1700 hours, a daring amphibious raid was launched from the border of Colombia deep into the heart of Caracas. Our men are continuing to fight right now.”
With these words, Jordan Goudreau, an ex-Green Beret and mastermind behind the Venezuelan debacle, would let the world know that his men were ready to arrest the Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.
But events ended up dictating otherwise.
Last Monday, May 4, Venezuelan authorities caught two ex-Green Berets while they were trying to infiltrate the country and arrest its president.
The two American mercenaries, Airan Berry and Luke Denman, were arrested alongside six other men as they were attempting a daylight infiltration by a fish boat. They were part of a second wave of mercenaries. The first wave had been compromised a few hours earlier, on Sunday, May 3, resulting in the deaths of six and the arrest of two men.
Dubbed Operation Gideon, the mission was organized and coordinated by Goudreau, CEO of Silvercorp USA, a private security firm based in Florida. The plan was reckless and cavalier, to say the least. On May 1, an Associated Press article had let the cat out of the bag. Despite this compromise, the operation continued. If that wasn’t enough, Goudreau even tweeted about the infiltration as it was taking off, making sure to list the number of personnel involved and also tagging President Trump. Operational security taken to the next level…
According to Goudreau and Denman, the mercenaries were to infiltrate Venezuela, arrest Maduro, and fly him off to the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice has a $15 million bounty on Maduro, who was labeled as a narcoterrorist a few weeks ago. Now, however, Berry and Denman are faced with an uncertain future in a Venezuelan dungeon as Goudreau has gone dark.
The U.S. Army has released some additional information about the three Americans known to have been involved in the whole affair.
Goudreau, Berry, and Denman appeared to know each other from their time together at the 10th Special Forces Group, in which they had all served in the Crisis Response Force (CRF) company. Green Berets are experts in Unconventional Warfare (UW), among other skillsets. In a nutshell, UW is used to topple foreign regimes. This is how the Taliban were defeated so quickly back in 2001. Green Beret teams infiltrated Afghanistan and worked with and through different indigenous groups hostile to defeat the much larger Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces.
CRFs, however, focus on Direct Action, Hostage Rescue, and Counterterrorism (CT), though they are still comprised of Special Forces operators. Each Special Forces Group has a CRF company. (You can read here about the Army Special Operations Command’s controversial decision to downsize the CRFs.) Operators serving on the CRFs, thus, don’t have such a good grasp of the principles and application of UW compared to their brethren in the other companies.
Here is what information the Army released:
Goudreau served in the Army from 2001 to 2016 as an Indirect Fire Infantryman (11C) and later as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant (18D), eventually reaching the rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7). He had two combat deployments to Iraq and two combat deployments to Afghanistan. During his service, he was awarded three Bronze Stars and also earned the Ranger Tab. SOFREP has learned that Goudreau tried out for and successfully passed Delta Force’s Assessment and Selection (A&S). He was, however, dropped during the follow-on Operator Training Course (OTC).
Berry served in the Army from 1996 to 2013 as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant (18C), getting out with the rank of Sergeant (E-5) — with 17 years in uniform, his rank indicates that he was busted down a few ranks for some misdemeanor(s). He took part in Operation Viking Hammer, in which the 10th SFG and Kurdish fighters attacked from the north and managed to pin down much larger Iraqi forces during the Invasion of Iraq in 2003. He completed three combat tours in Iraq. Berry had earned the Ranger Tab and was also a Combat Diver.
Denman served in the Army from 2006 to 2014 (the last three years in the Army Reserves) as a Special Forces Communications Sergeant (18E). He had one combat tour to Iraq and had also received the Army Commendation Medal.