The final training in Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) is the Unconventional Warfare (UW) exercise “Robin Sage”, which we went over in detail in an earlier post, that you can read here.

The prospective Green Berets put all their training together and infiltrate into the fictional country of Pineland via an airborne operation. The SF candidates must raise and train a guerrilla force that will fight the enemy government troops and attempt to restore the friendly Pineland government.

As we stated the fictional country of Pineland encompasses 15 counties in North Carolina including Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Davidson, Guilford, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly and Union counties.

This unconventional warfare, (UW), training environment has been in use by the Special Forces School for many years and what makes this operation and training so realistic has to do with the scope of interaction with the community. Not only have the citizens of the operational area given their support for the exercise, they’ve become deeply involved.

Many of the role players have been involved for decades and then their children follow on to take over the role of underground or auxiliary in the exercise. And they have proven time and again just how important having popular support in the UW area of operations is to mission success.

It was a point driven home by one of our UW instructors, a Vietnam vet with multiple combat tours who said this of popular support, “you can be the 12 baddest MFers on the planet, but if the people in your area aren’t even nominally behind you, you won’t last a minute out there.”

To the people of these counties, the SF students are “the good guys” and the OPFOR forces are most definitely “the bad guys.” Case in point, moving the entire guerrilla base camp was an undertaking and two major roads had to be crossed. Approaching one in the dark, the lead element woke a farmer’s dog from a house about 200 meters away. The dog was causing a racket.

A light came on and a few moments later, the farmer appeared with a shotgun in hand.
“Are you fellas the SF?” he asked with a heavy drawl. When he was assured that the group was, he smiled. “I told them other fellas, that they couldn’t use my property, they are trying to bushwhack ya.” He then proceeded to tell us where the OPFOR had set up blocking positions knowing we’d be crossing somewhere along the line.