Special Operations Command
The war in Ukraine has been underway for a little over three months now, and the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has been paying close attention. So what is USSOCOM (sometimes simply referred to as SOCOM)? It is the unified combatant command responsible for overseeing the special operations components of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Created in 1987, it provides command, control, and training for all special operations forces (SOF) in the United States.
As I’ve said, they’ve been paying close attention to the war and have learned at least two important lessons. The first lesson being that the military relationships the US has been cultivating over the past several years are paying off for us and our allies. For years, Ukrainian troops have been trained at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center (CTC) near Lviv. The most recent US soldiers providing the training were part of Task Force Gator. With a name like “TF Gator,” you should not be surprised to find out it was comprised of the Florida Army National Guard’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The 45th BCT trainer shown above was part of an international coalition dedicated to improving the combat training center’s capabilities and helping to build professionalism within the Ukrainian Army. Not even a year ago, about 6,000 multinational troops from 15 different nations came together at the Ukrainian training complex under the banner of “Partnership for Peace,” a cooperative program for NATO and Euro-Atlantic partner countries. The exercises ran from September 20th to October 1st, 2021.
One might wonder why the US would send National Guard Units to train Ukraine’s army instead of regular army units and the answer is kind of interesting. While National Guard units were once comprised mostly of people who had no prior active duty military service and were called “Weekend Warriors,” the modern unit of the Guard of the last 20 years have deployed repeatedly to combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are chock full of men and women with combat experience.