The Special Forces Regiment lost a great link to its past when retired CSM Edgar Britt passed away on December 14. Several of the SF Facebook groups reported that he was in hospice care and was very ill and that he passed on Saturday. He will be missed. 

Britt was born in 1931 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He was 10 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. While his older brothers went off to serve and fight in World War II, Britt had to wait until 1949 to enlist. After basic combat training at Ft. Dix, he served in the air defense artillery (ADA) in the conventional military. 

During the Korean War, he served as an automatic weapons crewman in the ADA. He re-enlisted for Airborne training and graduated with his jump wings in August 1955. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division where he served for nearly five years in the 80th AAA (Anti-aircraft artillery). He re-enlisted for Special Forces in May 1960 and found his calling. 

He was on the field when President John F. Kennedy made his now-famous visit to Ft. Bragg on October 12, 1961, when he authorized the Green Beret to the troops and would later say it was “A symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.”

Britt would serve the next 13 years in Special Forces groups (1st, 5th, 6th, and 7th SFGs) and would become an O&I sergeant (Operations and Intelligence) before becoming a Team Sergeant of a Special Forces A-Team. He served two tours in Vietnam, as well as the Dominican Republic and four classified deployments with SF.

In 1970, Britt, then a Master Sergeant, was chosen to be a member of the Son Tay Raid, where Colonel Bull Simons would lead a raid to free American POWs from a North Vietnamese prison camp at Son Tay just outside of Hanoi. 

The men trained at Duke Field on Eglin AFB and built mockups of the prison camp using a very detailed model, built by the CIA, which was known as Barbara. Britt was an alternate for the assault team, known as “Blueboy Element.” 

The task force flew to Udorn, Thailand and then to a secret CIA compound for their jumping-off point into North Vietnam. It was only then that they were briefed on where their exact mission was to take place. “After the hundreds of hours, the hard training, hours of rehearsals, studying and planning, we knew where we were headed, and why,” he said in an interview a few years ago. To get the North Vietnamese attention off of the Son Tay area, they needed a diversion.