(WASHINGTON) September 16, 2015 – Today, Montana Congressman and former Commander at Navy SEAL Team Six, Ryan Zinke, introduced a resolution to commemorate October as Special Operations Appreciation Month. The purpose of SOAM is to raise awareness and show appreciation for the sacrifice of Special Operations Forces (SOF) warriors and their families. A bipartisan coalition of twenty-six members signed on as original cosponsors to honor the men and women in the SOF community. During the month, members will deliver floor speeches, visit local SOF units and help raise awareness for the community.
“Too often our warriors do not get the recognition they deserve. From the mismanagement at the VA to the high rates of homelessness and unemployment, I know we can do more. I mentored young SEALs my entire career, and after retiring from the Navy, I wanted to continue serving them and their families,” said Rep. Zinke. “When I was in the SEALs, most of our time was spent training. The Teams today are at war more than they are at home. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as the National Guard, all have Special Operations Forces located across dozens of states. And each unit has a specialized team assisting them. From the person who puts the fuel in the helicopters to the intelligence analyst, each person adds a critical component to the mission’s success.”
Zinke continued, “The toll that multiple deployments – sometimes as many as a dozen in just a few years – take on the warrior and the family is incomprehensible. In my own experience, having served 23 years, my wife, Lola, was often times was the mom and the dad, helping the kids with sports and homework, reassuring our daughter not all boys are terrible, and promising our sons they will get taller. At one time during the War in Iraq, Lola was at home with our two young boys, while her husband, her daughter, and her son-in-law were all deployed. Special Operations Appreciation Month is just as much about the heroes at home as it is about the warriors on the field of battle.”
“As an active member in the veteran SOF community, I’m thankful for Commander Zinke’s leadership in recognizing the sacrifice of our warriors and their families,” said Brandon Webb, New York Times bestselling author, former Navy SEAL and CEO of Force12 Media. “Every day I work with men and women who defended our nation in darkness and who receive little thanks. With U.S. SOFs in more than 80 countries around the globe, probably ninety-nine percent of the missions they complete will never be known. Their value to our nation is indescribable and I stand with Rep. Zinke in honoring these men and women.”
The significance of October dates back to the First Special Services Forces, aka the “Devils Brigade,” which was based out of Fort William Henry Harrison in Helena, Montana. This unit, which was honored with Congressional Gold Medals earlier this year, was called to Italy in October 1943 and went on to complete some of the most daring and death-defying missions in modern military history, with little to no technical equipment. This elite unit, along with scouts, raiders and Naval demolition units, is where modern day Special Operations Forces draw their roots so it only makes sense to honor them during the month they first made their mark.