Happy birthday, America.
What a month. Legitimate protests smeared by wanton violence. Attempts to whitewash American history for the sake of progress. A seemingly unbreachable political division, which malicious foreign actors and governments are taking advantage of to further their agendas.
And in the midst of all, we had the honor to break and cover a historic moment in Special Operations: the imminent graduation of the first female Special Forces operator from the modern Special Forces pipeline. I say modern because there was a female officer, Captain Katherine Wilder, who graduated from the SF pipeline in the early 1980s. Her case, however, has been mired in controversy ever since. In an attempt to put the case to rest once and for all, John Black is writing a detailed article based on some original documents that we have received.
In the wake of his great analysis of women in Special Operations and the politicization of intelligence, 14Charlie touches upon two important topics: risk aversion in Special Operations and domestic extremism. I won’t spoil them, but suffice to say that, keeping with 14C’s standard, they worth your time and attention.
In July, Jonathan continues his entertaining and informative coverage of Naval Special Warfare and of the Special Operations community.
This year marks the 44th anniversary of the daring hostage rescue in Entebbe. On July 4, 1976, Israeli commandos stormed a passenger airliner full of people that had been hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. In light of the anniversary, Steve Balestrieri sat down with Iddo Netanyahu, a former Special Operations soldier and the brother of both the current Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and of the commander of the Entebbe operation, Yoni Netanyahu, who was killed in the operation. The result is an authoritative two-part series on Operation Thunderbolt.
George “Geo” Hand IV is coming back strong after his book-writing break (he wrote his book and ghostwrote Greg “Gravy” Coker’s thrilling account of life in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment as an AH-6 Little Bird pilot) with a hilarious but informative article on the joys and woes of ghostwriting a book. How do you maintain the voice of the author? How do you politely ask your boss to shut up? How do you keep up with the pressure, real and self-imposed, of a deadline? Meanwhile, his News Roundups continue to give us a satirical respite.
As for myself, what began as a research of performance-enhancing drugs and substance abuse in the military in general and the Special Operations community in particular, has evolved into an investigation into mental health and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its effects on the lives and careers of warfighters.
As always, our communications channels are open. Editor-in-Chief Nick Coffman and I value your feedback, questions, and constructive criticism. Indeed, your passion for healthy discourse and desire to hold us accountable is what makes the SOFREP community special. Thank you.
Managing Editor, SOFREP